President Obama and Mitt Romney will have lunch together in the White House Thursday, part of a quadrennial tradition in which we celebrate the peaceful transition of power (or four more years of the same power) and simultaneously watch the former foes' faces for signs of gloating or petulance. The White House says there will be no press coverage of Obama and Romney's meeting, but luckily we have a long photo archive of past presidents' microexpressions giving away exactly how they feel about the other guy. Before we get to this year's afternoon of awkwardness, here's a visual history of the awkward handshakes and fake smiles of post-election meetings past.
Big bubble of personal space. The distance kept them civil when John McCain and President-elect Obama met November 17, 2008 in Chicago.
But even at that distance, grimaces are hard to hold back.
Looking on with... not quite pride. John Kerry watches George W. Bush's second inauguration January 20, 2005.
Half-hugs. An awkward not-quite embrace between Al Gore and Bush December 20, 2000.
Here you go, big guy. President Clinton gave Bob Dole the presidential Medal of Freedom on January 17, 1997, to honor Dole's heroism in World War II. Clinton looks magnanimous, Dole looks happy. But you sense just a teeny bit of the bittersweet in the way Dole holds his head as he gets his consolation prize.