Conversation Topics at the Presidential Power Lunch

Obama, Bush and the living former presidents lunch at the White House.

January 7, 2009, 2:33 PM

Jan. 7, 2009— -- Talk about a power lunch. The United States Senate likes to think its hundred members are in the most exclusive club in our political world, but that's nothing compared to the group of five invited to lunch today at the White House. Do the names Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama ring a bell?

Our founding fathers wisely decided against a monarchy, but the American presidency and the men who have filled it -- sorry gals, your time will come, just not yet -- is the institution and group that is the most exclusive.

It is noteworthy that the man who suggested today's lunch is not the present occupant of the White House but the man who is about to move in -- Barack Obama. And what did these men talk about?

Nothing too important.

Obama likely did not say, "Guys" -- Have you noticed he loves to call people "guys"? -- "guys, tell me what to do about the economy."

"Bill, should I try to push through the Panetta nomination or not?"

"George, maybe we should really stay in Iraq. ... What do you think?"

Someone might have said to the other George, "I understand Jeb isn't going to run for the Senate from Florida, but I agree with you. ... He probably would make a pretty good president." (Somewhat awkward pause.)

No, they likely exchanged pleasantries, talked about people and politics in a general sense, maybe cracked a few jokes, maybe not … and had a grand time.

Really, it is the photo-op of the five of them together, smiling, comrades if you will, that President-elect Obama wanted. ... To show the bipartisan spirit he hopes to establish in Washington. That's smart … and it was the right thing for the other presidents to do to give him that photo-op.

The old warrior saying, "The king is dead, long live the king" doesn't apply to the American presidency. ... Once you're in the club you're always in it and you support each other.

And besides, these days, who doesn't appreciate a free lunch?

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