Obama, Clinton huddle over lunch
President Obama ate lunch at the White House on Monday with Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of State and the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination next year.
The two dined for around an hour and a half in what Obama spokesman Josh Earnest described as an “informal lunch.”
“When their schedules permit, President Obama and Secretary Clinton enjoy the opportunity to catch-up in person,” Earnest said. “They discussed a wide array of topics, but this was mostly a social occasion.”
Clinton arrived in Washington Sunday to speak to the Saban Forum, a gathering at the Brookings Institution focused on U.S.-Israel relations. She also attended a pair of fundraisers in the area.
It was the first known meeting between Obama and Clinton since Vice President Biden decided in October not to enter the 2016 Democratic presidential primary field.
Obama has yet to make a formal endorsement in the race to succeed him, but Clinton is widely viewed as his favorite candidate. She is facing a challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
Like their previous meetings, Obama and Clinton’s lunch was private and not announced to reporters beforehand.
The president’s last known meeting with his former secretary of State was in August at an 80th birthday party for longtime Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan.
The lunch came a day after Obama delivered a rare Oval Office address on his efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Polls show widespread public disapproval of the president’s strategy to fight the group, something that could damage his party’s prospects of holding onto the White House next year.
Clinton highlighted those concerns on Sunday, pressing Obama to do more in the fight against ISIS.
“We’re not winning, but it’s too soon to say that we are doing everything we need to do,” she said on ABC News’s “This Week.”
In her speech at the Saban Forum, Clinton called on Silicon Valley technology companies to block the terror network’s websites and curb their efforts to encrypt communications.
White House officials have said the administration is speaking with technology companies about similar efforts.
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