Today Mitt Romney emerges again into the public eye. Romney is scheduled to meet Obama at the White House for the first time since America headed into the voting booth, which is to say, the 2012 election winner is hosting the loser for lunch.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the traditional meet-and-greet between presidential rivals “one of the often overlooked but remarkable things about this democracy.”
Romney’s defeat on Nov. 6 seems to have come as a surprise to the Republican candidate, and since conceding the election to President Obama, Romney and family have largely kept a low profile, popping up only on rare occasions.
His son Josh tweeted a photo of himself inside a mud-covered off-roader almost two weeks after election night, saying he’d “just got back from the Baja 1000.”
We saw a harried-looking Mitt pumping gas during the week of Thanksgiving. He appeared with the family at Disneyland less than 24 hours later.
Wife Ann and son Matt were spotted in the audience as the winners were announced at last night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.”
As for Carney’s characterization, today’s reunion is sure to be remarkable, but also awkward. See for yourself with these instances in which a president met up with the man who was formerly his worst enemy, all the way back to Jerry Ford and the peanut farmer:
Obama’s First Victory
Most recently there was 2008, when Sen. John McCain and then President Elect Barack Obama met for a very tense face-to-face sit-down in Chicago less than two weeks after election night.
The One That Got Away
Sen. John Kerry gazed ruefully at the podium that he thought should have been his at President George W. Bush’s second inauguration ceremony.
Was almost-president Al Gore reaching out to pat Bush on the back or shove him into the snow? It’s hard to say.
Doling Out Generosity is Easy When You’re a Winner
After his second election victory, President Bill Clinton honored former opponent Bob Dole with the presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to the country. Dole responded, “I had a dream that I would be, this historic week, receiving something from the president, but I thought it would be the front door key.”
Masking the Pain
George H. W. Bush managed to crack a smile during Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993, but upon first meeting after the election in November, his demeanor was less sunny.
Both Michael Dukakis and the first President Bush wore red ties when they met at the Bush home less than a month after the Massachusetts Democrat’s defeat. But judging by Dukakis’s expression, he didn’t care to share anything else with his recent rival.
Savoring the Moment
Jimmy Carter joked that Ronald Reagan was just a bit early at their meeting in November 1980 after Reagan beat him soundly in the election. To his credit, Carter was all smiles. Is there a hint of relief in that grin?
Frowning Face in the Crowd
Former President Gerald Ford looked on with less than enthusiasm as Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, took the oath of office in his place.