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July 30, 2013

Beyond Lunch: Hillary and Obama Then and Now

It’s a wonderful photo the White House offered up yesterday, especially knowing everyone-and-his-or-her mother is going to be reading it with 2016 on his-or-her mind. If Hillary is the coming thing, however, the picture leaves no doubt that Obama remains the focus (including Hillary’s), the first resident still head of the table and host of the show.

It’s interesting, however, to compare yesterday’s shot with this very early WH portrait focusing on the relationship. Taken three months (but already tens of thousands of miles) into her term as Secretary of State, it’s the bruising ’08 campaign battle between these two that seemed to hang in the air.  As such, there is the sense here that Hillary is the heavy and needs to be pitched or at least catered to.

It’s easy to think, of course — with Hillary in (at least temporary) retirement — today’s breezier tone is about the ultimate bonding that occurred. If things are that much lighter though, perhaps it’s also attributable to the change in the larger atmosphere — the latter shot capturing a rookie president looking to punctuate his authority piloting a country in a deadly financial tailspin.

(photo 1: Chuck Kennedy/White House Flickr. caption: President Barack Obama has lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the patio outside the Oval Office, July 29, 2013. photo 2: Pete Souza/White House Flickr – caption: President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak together sitting at a picnic table April 9, 2009, on the South Lawn of the White House from the “Delivering on Change” photo set released on the White House flickr photostream to mark Obama’s 100 days in office.)

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