POLITICS

Obama, Romney meet for lunch at White House

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama's lunch with Republican Mitt Romney focused on America's leadership and the two presidential rivals pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together come up in the future.

President Obama and Mitt Romney meet Thursday. (Photo: White House)

In their first meeting since the election, Obama and the GOP nominee met for lunch in the White House's private dining room, fulfilling a promise Obama made in his victory speech the night of Nov. 6.

The White House says Romney congratulated the president for his successful campaign and wished him well in the coming four years.

The conversation during the hourlong meeting focused on America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position. The lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

Obama aides said they reached out to Romney's team shortly before Thanksgiving to start working on a date for the meeting.

The two men were meeting alone in the White House's private dining room, with no press coverage expected.

For Romney, it was a day of closure after a hard-fought campaign. Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was his vice presidential running mate, met earlier in the day to talk about the pending fiscal cliff negotiations and other economic challenges facing Washington, a Ryan aide said.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to discuss the private discussions. On a personal level, the pair discussed their families and talked about the harried 12 weeks of the general election campaign.

"I remain grateful to Gov. Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship," Ryan said in a statement after their meeting. "I'm proud of the principles and ideas we advanced during the campaign and the commitment we share to expanding opportunity and promoting economic security for American families."

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