Washington (CNN) – When President Barack Obama hosted the nation's governors at the White House on Sunday night, he made a sly nod to those in the crowd eyeing his job.
"Tonight we want to make sure all of you make yourselves at home," Obama said. "To which some of you are thinking, 'That's been the plan all along.' "
Among the potential 2016 hopefuls in the State Dining Room on Sunday were Rick Perry of Texas, who failed to nab the 2012 GOP presidential nomination; Indiana Republican Mike Pence, who said earlier on CNN he hadn't yet thought about running; and Maryland's Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who says he's considering a run.
Vice President Joe Biden, himself considering a run for the top job, also attended the black tie affair. On one side of the Vice President sat Wisconsin's GOP governor, Scott Walker, another potential candidate. On Biden's other side was Democrat Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who told Politico on Sunday he was also open to an Oval Office bid.
Biden's wife Jill and first lady Michelle Obama were both in attendance. The governors and administration officials were treated to a four-course meal of tuna tartare, arugula salad, steak filets with crab ravioli, and lemon custard.
One of the top GOP hopefuls, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, wasn't in Washington for the dinner, opting to return to the Garden State for his daughter's birthday.
During his toast, Obama used a quote to illustrate the importance of the nation's governors.
"Keep in mind, a wise man once wrote, 'I'm more than contented to be governor and shall not care if I never hold another office,' " Obama said.
The author: the nation's 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt.