White House says Hillary Clinton, Obama lunch meeting 'chiefly social'

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President Obama's lunch Monday with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "chiefly social," the White House said.

Obama invited Clinton to the White House, where the two dined on grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya, and salad in a private dining room just off the Oval Office. 

White House spokesman Josh Earnest downplayed the idea the two were talking about the prospects of Clinton succeeding Obama. 

Clinton is widely seen as the likely Democratic presidential nominee in 2016 — assuming she decides to run. 

"Despite the intense media interest, 2016 is something that is quite a bit away," Earnest said. He emphasized that Monday's agenda was largely going to be the friendship between Clinton and Obama. 


Earnest noted that the pair "have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship" while they worked together during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.

Vice President Biden was not at Monday's lunch, but Earnest said he meets weekly for lunch with the president. Biden is also seen as a possible 2016 Democratic nominee. 

Earnest allowed that, although the meeting was "chiefly social," it was likely Obama and Clinton would discuss recent developments in the Middle East, including the Israel-Palestine peace talks set to kick off Monday night.

The pair are known to have met privately twice since Clinton left the State Department: once in a private dinner with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and once at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library.