D.C.'s Most Exclusive Lunch Date: Romney and Obama to Dine Thursday

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The White House says the president will host his former adversary for a meal at the executive mansion.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By the end of the campaign, it was clear that there wasn't much love lost between the standard bearers of the Republican and Democratic parties. But Barack Obama and Mitt Romney seem to be making a play at reconciliation. The White House sent out this statement Wednesday morning:

On Thursday, Governor Romney will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the Private Dining Room. It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election. There will be no press coverage of the meeting.

The old saw is old but appropriate: Oh to be a fly on the wall.

At the White House turkey pardoning, an Obama comment about "giving gifts" was widely taken as a potshot at his vanquished adversary's claim that the president won reelection by offering "gifts" to constituents. And Obama has charged ahead with a demand for higher taxes on the rich, giving little heed to Romney's campaign trail suggestion that revenue be increased by closing loopholes. That hasn't stopped speculation that Obama could make a bipartisan gesture by appointing Romney to be commerce secretary, treasury secretary, or the first to fill a "business secretary" that Obama offhandedly suggested late in the campaign -- although any of those seems far-fetched, and haven't gotten any public encouragement from the White House. Romney, meanwhile, has kept a conspicuously low profile since the election -- especially after the "gifts" phone call with donors earned him condemnation from many members of his party.

While Obama has been wrestling with the fiscal cliff, Romney has been cavorting in Disneyland and looking positively relaxed and happy in a Thanksgiving snapshot posted on Facebook. He may not be that upset about heading to the White House as a private citizen rather than president-elect.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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