The Cycle | November 29, 2012
>>> vice president joe biden spent his morning at a costco warehouse store in washington. pool reporters tell us he helped himself to several food samples like we always do when we're there and looked like he enjoyed them. back at the white house president obama welcomed his one time archrival mitt romney for what we can only assume was a more formal lunch. certainly a post election, perhaps post partisan moment. as politico points out this morning, like most washington rituals this get-together was likely more about symbolism than substance. rarely do once fierce rivals become political friends. so why even do it? and are there exceptions to the rules? let's put it through the spin cycle. look, i think because there's going to be no substance in this lunch anyway, i think the symbolism here really is important. i'm still waiting for you to jump in here. but the symbolism is important because, yes, for the american people to show that after a hugely expensive, nasty campaign that these two fellows can come together and sit down and meet with each other. but i think overseas it sends an even more important message. again, hugely expensive. hugely nasty campaign. these two guys come together and yet no one died. no one went to jail to some secret prison for voting for mitt romney .
>> that we know of.
>> this shows sort of the beauty of the american political system . that's why this is important.
>> that is a lovely sentiment. but i have to say, this is so weird. it's weird. you know, i was reading that politico story today. they pointed out, they talked to people like john kerry who said, no. this doesn't happen. bush and i haven't spoken since he won. we, of course, had plans to meet. never happened. mondale said we never sat down for this kind of conversation with reagan. i was going through some of these past rivalry moments. and, i mean, it's really hard to put politics aside when you've been arguing so viciously with someone for a year, maybe more. maybe even two terms of arguing. i was reading a great cindy adams post in the post. she was talking about how when fdr beat dewey he immediately turned to his aide and said i still think he's an s.o.b. when nixon's wife died he complained that bill clinton , quote, came to me for advice to save his bottom and couldn't even send a cabinet member to pat's funeral. these are relationships forged around rivalries. i think it's impossible to expect, especially these two, to move forward and have a lunch. it's weird.
>> yeah. they seem to really actually have total contempt and disdain for one another. which is different than, you know, i think the president did have a certain level of respect for mccain. i will say your intro, jonathan, about costco , i was thinking i love the joe biden image at costco . if the two guys, mitt romney and the president, were like wandering through costco together, getting samples, that would be a beautiful image.
>> that's not weird, but sitting down at lunch is weird?
>> one thing i feel like they might actually have in common, i feel like they both might like costco . we'll have to speculate on that. the thing is for me, not only is there no substance here, but even the symbolism of it, what does it really matter? nobody -- mitt romney doesn't have a constituency left. most republicans are like, please go away and stop talking right now. you know, the people who voted for him by and large, they weren't mitt romney voters. they were republican voters. they were anti-obama voters. but they didn't come out because they loved mitt romney . now he needs to unite them behind the president. i actually think a more substantive and more important meeting would be a meeting with paul ryan . look, i'm no paul ryan fan. but here's a guy who really does have a following. he does have a constituency. and he's in the house. and is probably going to be a key part of the fiscal slope, fiesta negotiations.
>> i think you're absolutely right.
>> that would be productive and meaningful.
>> you're right. in many ways this is a pointless meeting because romney has no real followers. he doesn't have a steady agenda to push. he's not going to be advocating for a thing he wants. if the president saw what stewart stevens wrote in the " washington post ," that was total eye roll city. i'm sure he wasn't liking it any more. the president was a charismatic african-american with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. okay. whatever. eye roll city. but i actually was working the phones earlier today. did some reporting.
>> that's weird.
>> sometimes i do that. and i actually was able to find out what they're going to be serving at the meal today.
>> i have the menu. the appetizer, sour grapes . the main course is crow. and cold turkey . because he's been addicted to running for president. dessert, of course, humble pie .
>> that's very clever.
>> i was afraid dog was going to be on that menu somewhere. i'm glad you didn't go with that.
>> that's clever. what do you think -- what do you think they're going to be talking about? let's talk reality.
>> that's not awkward. awkward.
>> it would be awkward --
>> i love how optimistic and pollyanna you are.
>> poll lpollyanna?
>> you think they're going to stick to business, you think.
>> what else are they going to talk about? sports. the house in la jolla ?
>> they don't really know each other. mitt doesn't have that political center . he might say, look, "twilight" was good. i saw it with ann. you should have a screening in the white house .
>> it could be that. i think their comfort zone is formality. business. i think they can just sit there and he can say, so, governor romney , what are your thoughts on the fiscal cliff.
>> it doesn't matter. they're going to sit there for, what, 90 minutes , 30 minutes , 15?
>> 90 minutes is excruciating.
>> 90 minutes with mitt romney regardless of the person who's there would be pretty awkward.
>> i think it's a good thing. i don't care what you all think anymore.
>> he's over us.
>> i do care about the 47 million people -- or 47% who voted for romney . i do care about you guys, right? that's cool.
>>> up next, what women stand to lose in the fiscal fiasco. now president terry o'neill is in the guest spot.