Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama dined together at the White House on Thursday afternoon, attempting to heal campaign wounds over a lunch of white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.
Sources are reporting that Romney is interested in seeking a position in the Obama administration.
The two were together about 70 minutes, and both sides tried to keep low any expectations of news. Romney entered a side door, with photographers using long lenses to capture him in the brief seconds he was visible.
Several minutes later, White House press secretary Jay Carney began a briefing at which he was asked whether there would be a joint appearance by the two men.
“Ahhhh,” Carney said. “No.”
The White House rejected several appeals to open up a portion of the meeting to the news media, and the two men dined alone, with no aides present.
“Each man wanted to have a private conversation,” Carney said. “They did not want to turn it into a press event.”
After the lunch, Obama and Romney went into the nearby Oval Office, a space that Romney had once hoped to occupy. In a photo later released by the White House, the two are shaking hands. Romney is smiling tightly, Obama appears to be in mid-sentence, and nothing – except a black binder – is visible on Obama’s large wooden desk.