President Barack Obama will host former Republican candidate Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House on Thursday, their first meeting since Obama defeated him in this month's presidential election.
The encounter follows Obama's promise, in the aftermath of the November 6 election, to consult the former Massachusetts governor before the end of the year. It also comes amid Obama's efforts to work out with congressional leaders a way to avoid a looming "fiscal cliff" that could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
"Governor Romney will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the private dining room," the White House said of the meeting, which will be closed to the media. "It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election."
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