"The president enjoyed an informal, private lunch with Secretary Clinton at the White House this afternoon," a White House official said.
The lunch was not on the president's schedule and only came to light because People magazine's Washington bureau chief who was interviewing Hillary Clinton earlier in the day tweeted a photo of herself with Clinton and disclosed that she hoped she wasn't making her late for her meeting with Obama.
“PEOPLE's @sswestfall chats w/@HillaryClinton before her mtg at the WH. Hope we didn't make her late for @barackobama!
People magazine then deleted the tweet for roughly an hour before posting a modified version clarifying that the meeting was a lunch.
PEOPLE's @sswestfall chats w/@HillaryClinton before her @WhiteHouse lunch. Hope she wasn't late for @barackobama!
People magazine's Twitter account has 5.54 million followers.
Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, People's Washington bureau chief who sent the tweet to the magazine's social media team, says there's "no 'there' there" to the story -- that neither Clinton nor the White House told her to delete the tweet. She said she simply deleted the tweet three minutes after first posting it for accuracy purposes to reflect that Clinton's meeting with Obama was a lunch.
"I sent a Tweet to our social media team and, to make it fit with the photo they rewrote 'mtg' instead of what I wrote (and what HRC told me), which was 'lunch,'" she said in an email to the Washington Examiner. "So I asked my twitter person to republish it as lunch."
"Not like I heard from HRC's folks or WH," she continued. "This was just me pushing back on an editor after being rewritten. Just me wanting to be specific and accurate (as much as you can be in <140 characters!)"
Roll Call's Steven Dennis, the reporter who had White House press pool duty Thursday, lodged a complaint with the White House press shop about the lack of transparency and the White House's failure to disclose the lunch to the media.
Last July when Clinton and Obama lunched together outside on the White House grounds and after she had left the administration, the White House included the lunch on the president's public schedule and released several photos of the pair laughing and talking amiably.
Similarly, when Mitt Romney had lunch with Obama in late November after the 2012 election, the White House included it on the public schedule.