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From the White House Flickr stream

Mitt Romney made it to the White House - if only for about an hour.

After a bitter presidential campaign, Romney had lunch with President Obama on Thursday at the president's invitation to discuss some of Romney's ideas on job creation and economic recovery.

While the unprecedented meeting was closed to the press, Lynn Sweet will be blogging more on what the two men discussed as details are reported.

Politico reported that American leadership - and turkey chili and Southwest chicken salad - was on the menu:

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's lunch Thursday focused on a discussion of "America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future," the White House said. There was no mention of any formal collaboration, but they "pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future." Lunch was white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

The Associated Press, quoting White House reports, said that Obama and Romney will try to maintain contact:

The White House says President Barack Obama's lunch with Republican Mitt Romney focused on America's leadership and the two presidential rivals pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together come up in the future.

Despite the bipartisan feel-good meetup and the possible promise of future discussions and cooperation, White House spokesman Jay Carney seemed to say there would be no official position made available for Mitt Romney:


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Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives for lunch at the White House on Thursday. Romney met with Obama after loosing election to him earlier this month to discuss job creation and other economic issues, according to Obama spokespeople. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

For his part, Romney arrived right on team and breezed in for his meeting with Obama. He then quickly and quietly slipped out.

Mitt Romney, talking with his supporters and donors in a call Wednesday, went back to the 47 percent well.

In pointing to the reasons he lost - by a lot - to Obama in the race for president, Romney said that the president promised gifts to African Americans and Latinos in exchange for votes, the Los Angeles Times reported. Specifically, The Times report says Romney was referring to student loan forgiveness, immigration reform and Obamacare as promises made to low income, minority communities in order to salt away their votes.

Romney is quoted, from his donor call, in the report By Maeve Reston:

Romney argued that Obama's healthcare plan's promise of coverage "in perpetuity" was "highly motivational" to those voters making $25,000 to $35,000 who might not have been covered, as well as to African American and Hispanic voters. Pivoting to immigration, Romney said the Obama campaign's efforts to paint him as "anti-immigrant" had been effective and that the administration's promise to offer what he called "amnesty" to the children of illegal immigrants had helped turn out Hispanic voters in record numbers.

"The president's campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift -- so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars."

Speaking of the all-important Latino vote, Romney went into great detail on the "gifts" to that community that won Obama the White House, according to ABC News:

"What the president did is he gave them two things. One, he gave them a big gift on immigration with the DREAM Act amnesty program, which was obviously very very popular with Hispanic voters, and then number two was Obamacare ... For any lower-income Hispanic family, Obamacare was massive, I mean for--the average income for a household in America is fifty thousand dollars a year, that's the median, fifty K per year. For the Hispanic household, my guess is it's lower than that, maybe it's forty thousand a year. For a home earning let's say thirty thousand a year, free health care, which is worth about ten thousand dollars a year, I mean is massive, it's huge. So this--he did two very popular things for the Hispanic community."

"In order to get Hispanic voters, what the president did we would be very reluctant to do, which is one, provide amnesty for those that are here illegally, and number two put in place Obamacare which basically is ten thousand dollars a family. It's a proven political strategy, which is give a bunch of money to a group and, guess what, they'll vote for you.

"What I would do if I were a Democrat running four years from now, I'd say, you know what, dental care will be included in Obamcare . . . and Republicans will say, no, that's going to cost a trillion dollars, and the Democrats will say, that's fine, you know, we'll pay it. So this is a challenge we've got on how to deal with this is a real issue.

"Immigration we can solve, but the giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with."


This comes just a day after President Obama had mentioned Romney quite favorably in his first post-election press conference - going so far as to suggest that he may consult Romney on job creation and economic issues in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Judging by the speed with which Republicans are distancing themselves for their candidate for president, though, that Obama-Romney non-beer summit may be on indefinite hold.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, himself emerging as a contender for the top of the Republican ticket and the newly installed head of the Republican Governors Association, had perhaps the strongest words for Romney's mindset and the harm it does the party:

"We have got to stop dividing the American voters. If we're going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage, and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly. One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes. And second, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream, period."

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney talked to ESPN's Chris Berman at halftime of the Monday night game. Obama predicts the Chicago Bears can win the Superbowl.

Obama is ready for a Bears Super Bowl. And while both men have had their share of fumbles with political football in this election, he knows who the real commander in chief is when it comes to getting the ball on the ground:

"Best defense in the league right now," Obama said at halftime during the New Orleans Saints win over the Philadelphia Eagles. "You saw (Sunday's) game. (Charles) Tillman may be defensive player of the year the way he's playing."


Tillman forced four fumbles Sunday in the Bears 51-20 dismantling of the Tennessee Titans and has already been defensive player of the month once this season.

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President Obama and Gov. Pat Quinn had less trouble coming together in 2010. Sun-times file photo

Gov. Pat Quinn got a prime speaking role at September's Democratic National Convention, but since then he's been mostly missing in action as a front-and-center surrogate for President Barack Obama.

That may change between now and Tuesday, but the governor has pretty much stayed home as other top Illinois politicians crisscrossed the country to sing Obama's praises - and two states vital to the president's re-election, Iowa and Wisconsin, are neighbors.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, talking up Obama, after doing live local television interviews as a surrogate for the president in five battleground states. Emanuel traveled to Florida last month to campaign for Obama.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), meanwhile, committed to visits in Colorado and Nevada to boost Obama and other Democrats with Hispanic voters between now and Tuesday.

And Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) stumped in Ohio for Obama last week during a visit aimed at targeting fellow Catholics in that battleground state. It marked Durbin's second campaign visit to Ohio in two weeks.

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson defended her boss, saying he has done his share to help promote Obama for a second term.

"Over the past two weeks, the governor sent bus loads of Quinn volunteers to Wisconsin. He has also served as an Obama surrogate on national television programs," she said. "As you know, he has contributed the maximum to the president's re-election campaign."

Anderson said Quinn has appeared twice in the past two weeks on CNBC with business anchor Maria Bartiromo and did "many more" programs around the Democratic convention.

"The governor of Illinois balances his state responsibilities with supporting the president's re-election effort as much as possible," she said.

But a potential 2014 GOP gubernatorial rival offered a different take on Quinn's absence from the presidential campaign trail.

"I think a part of it is reflective of the state he's governor of," said state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, chairman of Mitt Romney's Illinois presidential campaign effort.

"When he has the lowest bond rating in the nation, the highest unemployment rates in the nation and [more than an $80 billion] unfunded liability in pensions, I'm not sure that's the profile the president wants to have on the national stage about his home state."

WASHINGTON--Hurricane Sandy has forced President Barack Obama to cancel more campaign activities--on Tuesday--one week before the election--Obama scrubbed a rally in battleground Wisconsin, in Green Bay. Mitt Romney stumps in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis on Monday night. Romney tapping Janesville Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate helped put Wisconsin in play.

As if the prospect of another week of presidential campaigning - and ads - weren't scary enough, Joss Whedon has introduced zombies into the fray.

Whedon's may just have Clint Eastwood beat with this spot telling us that a vote for Romney is, essentially a vote for the inhuman walkin dead a Romney presidency would lead to. Maybe it's a side effect of Romnesia.

At least Whedon's getting into the halloween spirit. Though this guy may have stolen the thunder of the idea.

Hollywood action icon Clint Eastwood caused quite the stir at the Republican National Convention when he hit the stage with an empty chair, no script and a freewheeling attack on the policies of the Obama administration.

Now, Eastwood is back and as serious as can be in his call to "fire" Obama after four years of so-called failed policies.

The last time Eastwood hit the airwaves with a sober message of importance, he was hawking Chryslers and it was Halftime in America. There was conjecture during the Super Bowl when that spot appeared that a political message was embedded in the 2-minute spot. There's no doubt this time where the actor stands.

On Tuesday night in a debate among contenders for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, a Republican candidate made a controversial comment on rape. Richard Mourdock said that he does not support abortion rights for women in the case of rape because those babies are something "God intended to happen."

The Democrats wasted no time responding, releasing the ad shown here which features Mitt Romney endorsing Mourdock - a spot that just hit the airwaves Monday.

The Romney campaign quickly worked to distance itself from the Mourdock statement.

"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in the statement.

With the third and final debate in the rearview mirror, here are some memorable moments from Boca Raton, Florida, the site of the final presidential showdown.

Click all photos to embiggen.

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US President Barack Obama (R) greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) following the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012. The showdown focusing on foreign policy is being held in the crucial toss-up state of Florida just 15 days before the election and promises to be among the most watched 90 minutes of the entire 2012 campaign.
AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images