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Obama, Romney Eat Chili, Talk Leadership

President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney talk in the Oval Office after their lunch.
Pete Souza/White House

In their first face-to-face meeting since the third and final presidential debate, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined President Obama for a private lunch at the White House today, where he and Mr. Obama chowed down on white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad while discussing America's leadership in the world.

The lunch, which was announced yesterday, was closed to the press. According to a White House readout provided later on, however, the former rivals "visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office," at which point "Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years." They also pledged to "stay in touch," according to the readout, "particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future."

An aide to Romney said the meeting was "friendly," and the two posed for a picture together (above) in the oval office.

Earlier today, Romney met with former running mate Paul Ryan at a hotel in Washington D.C., where, according to a Ryan aide, the two shared "updates from their families and reflections from the campaign," and discussed "resolving the critical fiscal and economic challenges ahead."

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

Since his election night defeat, Romney has maintained a relatively low profile, aside from a family jaunt to Disneyland, and remained publicly silent on his plans for the future. He's expected to take up an office at the Boston-area venture capital firm Solamere Capital, which his son Tagg founded, but according to the Associated Press he's just subletting office space.

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