POLITICS: PennAve

Obama-Clinton lunch about ‘friendship,’ not politics, White House says

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Political junkies — and reporters — were clamoring for details about the much-advertised lunch between President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House on Monday.

But if the one-time political foes talked about the future occupant of the Oval Office, they’re keeping it quiet: 2016 wasn’t on the menu — or so the White House claims.

“It’s largely friendship that is on the agenda for lunch today,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday as Obama and Clinton broke bread in the president’s private dining room.

Pressed further on whether the public should interpret the gathering as a subtle endorsement, Earnest replied, “2016 is still quite a ways away” and that the meal was “chiefly social.”

The former first lady and secretary of state is widely considered the Democratic frontrunner in 2016 if she chooses to make a bid for the nation’s highest office.

However, Vice President Joe Biden has also stoked talks of a possible White House run, potentially putting Obama in the awkward position of having to choose between senior members of his administration. Some doubt that Biden or any other major Democratic player would pursue the presidency if Clinton does.

The actual menu was among the few details the White House disclosed. Obama and Clinton dined on grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad, Earnest said.

Secretary of State John Kerry was also scheduled to meet with Obama Monday afternoon ahead of new, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington, but the White House wouldn’t say whether the former Massachusetts senator crossed paths with his predecessor at the State Department.

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