News / USA

Obama, Romney Meet for Lunch

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at the White House, Nov. 29, 2012, for his luncheon with President Barack Obama.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at the White House, Nov. 29, 2012, for his luncheon with President Barack Obama.
Kent Klein
Less than a month after the end of one of the most contentious election campaigns in U.S. history, one-time opponents, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, have met for lunch.  They are continuing a post-election American tradition aimed at fostering unity.

President Obama issued the lunch invitation shortly after Governor Romney made his concession speech on election night.

A few days later, the president told reporters he was interested in hearing his Republican former challenger’s ideas.

“There may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle-class families, that I want to hear," Obama said.  "So I am not either pre-judging what he is interested in doing, nor am I suggesting I have got some specific assignment.  But what I want to do is to get ideas from him and see if there are some ways we can potentially work together.”

The lunch meeting took place Thursday, behind closed doors.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has said there was no specific agenda for the meeting, and Obama was not planning any particular requests.  The president had said that he wanted to hear Romney’s ideas on boosting the economy and making the government more efficient.  

But Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, said before the meeting he did not expect any concrete policy decisions as a result.

“You can be sure that Mitt Romney will take the occasion to encourage the president to go in one or two particular directions, but I do not think this is really going to be a detailed discussion of public policy,” he said.

Carney said Wednesday the lunch invitation symbolizes the continuity of American democracy.

“It is one of the often-overlooked, but remarkable things about this democracy, this oldest democracy - that we consistently have elections, and without the kind of anguish and disruptions that you see in so many other countries around the world and that you have seen without history," he said.  "And I think that it is entirely appropriate, and I know the president feels this way, to continue that tradition.”

Rothenberg agrees, saying the election was close enough that a show of unity would be helpful.

“I think this is one of the beauties of American politics and American government.  This is the winner trying to be gracious, reaching out to the loser, understanding that in this case the loser got over 47 percent of the vote and it is time for the country to come together and heal and move on,” he said.

Over the past half-century many U.S. presidents have invited their defeated election opponents to meet at the White House.  Very few of the meetings have resulted in a change in policy or a specific assignment for the election loser.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid