Obama, Romney meet for lunch

2012-11-29 21:33:26 GMT2012-11-30 05:33:26(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday met with Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger in the 2012 presidential election, at a White House lunch, the first meeting between the two former bitter rivals since Obama won his reelection on Nov. 6.

According to a White House statement, Obama and Romney met privately for about an hour in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. The focus of their discussion was on America's leadership in the world and the "importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future."

Romney also congratulated Obama for the success of his campaign, and wished him well over the coming four years. The two pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future.

No further details of the meeting were made public, except for their lunch menu that included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad. Romney was spotted entering and leaving the White House, but he made no statement to the press.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when pressed for access by reporters, said that Obama and Romney "wanted to have a private conversation," and that "they didn't want to turn it into a press event."

Besides meeting Obama, Romney also met for about 90 minutes with his former running mate Paul Ryan on Thursday. In a statement released by his congressional office, Ryan said that he appreciated the chance to see his friend.

"I remain grateful to Governor Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship," Ryan said. "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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