The Obama-Romney lunch at the White House

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. (Well, maybe not a fly, given President Obama’s moves.)

Here’s the official readout from the White House:

This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Unfortunately, the chosen one is a complete doofus at anything more complex than swatting a fly.

  • Elwood
  • John W

    About $3.2 million (80%) of which is for AF1 according to your link.

    So, I reckon that costs were similar for Reagan and Bush’s many vacation trips to Santa Barbara and Crawford, even if all they wanted to do was chop wood and clear brush. Eisenhower flew to Augusta for golf every weekend he could get away. Life was simpler and cheaper then.

    Guess RR and GW could have taken Southwest, assuming the other passengers wouldn’t mind being escorted by a squadron of fighter jets.

    That said, it really is stunning how much it costs for a president and family to safely move around the country — whether for official business, campaigning or family vacations.

  • John W

    Dang. I just spent more than 6 years and a billion dollars running for the office, and all I get out of the deal is this chicken salad. Couldn’t I at least get one of those cool leather jackets with the POTUS seal?

  • Publius

    Dang. I just borrowed a trillion dollars and gave it to my friends to win an election, and now I am expected to lead. Couldn’t those greedy Republicans (for once) just agree with me and vote for more spending, higher defecits, higher unemploymnent, higher taxes, and another recession?

  • John W

    Re: #5

    Having cast my vote to re-elect, I’m still waiting for my “gift.” I know it must be coming, because Mitt told me so. Maybe it will be in my Christmas stocking.

    Third quarter GDP growth was just adjusted upward.
    Housing is on the move nationwide.
    Unemployment edging downward in nearly all states.

    Those deficits are a combination of too much spending and too little taxes, with Medicare (specifically Part B and prescription drugs) and Defense being the biggest factors on the spending side. I’m in favor of strong Defense spending, but we have to pay for it.

    On the tax side, individual income taxes as a percent of GDP ranged between 9.6% and 10.2% from 1998 to 2001. That was when we ran budget surplusses under Cliinton tax rates and Paygo spending constraints.

    From 2003 (first year of Bush tax cuts in full effect) to 2009, income taxes as a percent of GDP ranged from just 6.6% to 8.4%.

    From 2009 through 2012, with Bush tax rates still in effect plus some other stimulus income tax reductions at the low end), income taxes as a percent of GDP have ranged from just 6.3% to 7.5%.

    You don’t have to be a math whiz to see a pattern here. Historically, we have had a few years in the late 1940’s and late 1950’s when the budget was balanced with income taxes as percent of GDP in the 7.5% range. But that was during periods or reduced military spending and before Medicare Part B and prescription drugs (which are funded by general taxes, not by the Medicare payroll tax).

  • Elwood

    Why the hell does Valerie Jarrett have her own Secret Service protection detail?

  • John W

    Well, you could probably ask SS why, but then they’d have to kill you.

    Other than officials who automatically get SS protection by law, the SS does not disclose how many protectees they have, who they are or why.

    It’s possible that Ms. Jarrett is a perk-hog and demanded that Obama issue the executive order required to get protection for people not covered by statute. But I don’t think that’s the way it works. More likely, the SS decided she needed protection based on some incident or intelligence and recommended that Obama issue the order for some level of protection. Not all details are alike. Probably just a bodyguard.

    Of course, various right-leaning “news” sources are having a field day with this.

  • Elwood

    I much prefer your first explanation, John.

    But, just for discussion purposes, if she has been threatened, why can’t she complain to DCPD like any other private citizen?

    Still no logical explanation.

  • John W

    I don’t think the SS farms out protection of government officials to the DCPD.

    If you’re POTUS, and the lives of you and your family depend on the SS, you don’t want to piss them off by calling upon them to make frivolous use of their limited resources. So, I assume there is a protocol the SS follows in assessing situations that might call for them to extend protection to a member of the WH senior staff who is not automatically covered by law.

    If I thought this was just some “executive perk” situation, I wouldn’t defend it. I just find that hard to believe, for the reason stated above.

  • Elwood

    I read on another blog that the reason Jarrett has Secret Service protection is that she is the real President.

    Seems like a good explanation to me.

  • John W

    Every president has somebody like that who watches his back. This one happens to have a vagina, so that makes her “sinister” and “the real president.” She was born in Iran, so some of the blogs have gone wild making something out of that too.

  • Elwood

    You love the chosen one, don’t you John? In your eyes he can do no wrong.

    Watching his back is one thing. Telling him what to do is quite another. But he’s such a doofus and a wimp that somebody has to do it.

  • John W

    Au contraire!

    Yes, I do love that Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. And I’m thrilled that McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan were defeated. That doesn’t mean I agree with POTUS on everything. I’m more conservative on fiscal matters and somewhat more liberal on social issues. If somebody criticizes Obama on policy substance and I disagree with that criticism, I’ll argue accordingly. If I think he is unfairly attacked about this or that, I’ll speak up.

    The suggestion that Valerie Jarrett is “telling him what to do” is nonsense. You’re really saying he is a wimp who doesn’t have his own mind and is letting a pushy broad lead him around on a leash. If her name was Steve Jarrett, you’d never hear stuff like that.

  • Elwood

    “The suggestion that Valerie Jarrett is “telling him what to do” is nonsense. You’re really saying he is a wimp who doesn’t have his own mind and is letting a pushy broad lead him around on a leash. If her name was Steve Jarrett, you’d never hear stuff like that.”


    People who have worked or are working in the WH say that sometimes the chosen one is not in the room when Jarrett is making decisions.

    Even if he is in the room he might as well not be. He has been described as distant, aloof, uninvolved and disinterested.