The last few times they were face-to-face, it was in the glare of a national spotlight, with the future occupancy of the White House in the balance.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet for the first time since the election, but it will be in a decidedly more subdued context. The Thursday meeting will be without the attendant media scrutiny that was a fact of daily life for Romney and Obama throughout the long campaign season.
"On Thursday, Gov. Romney will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the Private Dining Room," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wrote. "It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election. There will be no press coverage of the meeting."
Romney has kept a low profile since conceding on Election Night. A few photos that have surfaced, including this one of him pumping gas, or this one of him enjoying Disneyland with his sons, suggest he’s returning to some semblance of normal life.
The party he was nominated to lead, meanwhile, is evaluating how to adapt to a changing demographic landscape that fueled Democratic victories on the congressional and presidential level.