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Obama and Romney to have lunch Thursday

Published on Nov 29, 2012 10:14 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama will host his defeated Republican foe Mitt Romney for a conciliatory private lunch at the White House on Thursday in their first encounter since a bitter election.

Mr Obama's press secretary Jay Carney said the meeting would take place in the president's private dining room next to the Oval Office and would be closed to the press. "It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election," Mr Carney said, later adding that the two men would be alone in the room.

The encounter will likely be a testing personal moment for the former Massachusetts governor, who was convinced even on election day that he would be the 45th US president, but was outwitted by Mr Obama's political machine.

Neither Mr Romney nor Mr Obama appeared to have any warmth, or even great respect for one another, in a campaign which flared into open dislike during their contentious three presidential debates last month. "Elections are serious business, and they tend to represent a clash of ideas, and they're hard-fought and certainly no different this time than it has been in every election," Mr Carney said.

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