Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON-Following up on an offer he made in his re-election victory speech earlier this month, President Obama has invited GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to sit down with him for a private lunch at the White House on Thursday.
"It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election," the White House said in a statement announcing the meeting. "There will be no press coverage of the meeting.
Obama and Romney spoke on Election Night, and Obama praised him in his victory speech.
"We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply, and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service, and that is a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight," Obama told supporters at his victory party in Chicago. "In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward."
Romney has kept a low-profile since losing the election. But on a conference call with donors following his defeat, the former Massachusetts governor said the president was reelected because of "gifts" to Latinos, African Americans and young voters.
The rhetoric was criticized by Obama administration officials as well as some Republicans.