Friday, March 08, 2013

The Obamas Host The Clintons At Secret White House Dinner

Tips from one President to another:  How to woo Republican lawmakers...
Two days before she bid the State Department farewell, President Obama hosted a private, closed-press luncheon for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 30.  But President Obama reportedly welcomed his former political rival back to the White House for an informal but top-secret  dinner on Friday, March 1st that included spouses: First Lady Michelle Obama and President Bill Clinton made up the foursome. (Above, the Presidents backstage at a New York campaign fundraiser last June)

Politico today reported the dinner news, though it was not confirmed by White House officials or Clinton aides: "Calls to Obama and Clinton spokespeople elicited the sound of crickets," Politico noted. 

This week, bipartisan schmoozing took center stage with President Obama hosting the first two of what will be a series of bipartisan lunches and dinners with Members of Congress, and according to Politico, Mr. Clinton offered the President advice on how to woo hostile GOP lawmakers.

"Details are scant, but people with knowledge of the event described the meal as "informal," featuring a "wide-ranging discussion" in which the former president apparently offered some second-term advice, including his experiences in engaging hostile Congressional Republicans," Politico reported.

President Obama heaped praise on Secretary Clinton during their first-ever joint interview as she prepared to depart State, and Mr. Clinton devoted plenty of time to campaigning for President Obama during the 2012 race, hitting the trail alone as a surrogate, and appearing at multiple fundraising dinners with President Obama, including one big dinner in New York, a contest to woo donors billed as 'An Evening with Two Presidents.'

Obama aides have credited Clinton's repeat trips to Florida in the campaign's final days for the President's slim victory over Mitt Romney in the battleground state.

"I want the country to appreciate just what an extraordinary role she's played during the course of my administration and a lot of the successes we've had internationally have been because of her hard work," President Obama said about Secretary Clinton during their joint 'exit interview' on 60 Minutes.

"She also was already a world figure.  To have somebody who could serve as that effective ambassador in her own right without having to earn her stripes, so to speak, on the international stage, I thought, would be hugely important."

There is just one photo that includes the President, Mrs. Obama, and Secretary Clinton in the official White House Flickr, above.  It was taken in November of 2009, as the President hosted the first State Dinner of his administration, for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur.
*Photos by Pete Souza/White House; top photo taken at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York, N.Y., June 4, 2012.