What Do Five Presidents Talk About Over Lunch?


When we have a big lunch “date” on our calendars, we get pretty excited — not only does it mean we’ll get to leave our computers for an extended period of time, but there’s also the possibility that, depending on how cool our dining partner is, we might return to the office with an almost-imperceptible buzz. Liquid or not, we just associate lunches with happiness. Alas, we doubt things were quite so happy at the White House today, where, for the first time since 1981, all living presidents — Bushes I and II, Clinton, Carter, and the new guy — gathered for a midday meal. Though the lunch was held in private, Daily Intel was inexplicably allowed to attend the first few minutes and record the conversation.

George W. Bush: I’d like to thank you all for coming here today for this gathering of past presidents, future presidents, myself, and about 85 Secret Service agents.
Barack Obama: Thank you for having us, George. It’s a great way to wrap up the most successful transition in recorded human history.
Jimmy Carter: Barack, let me give you some advice on Gaza.
Barack Obama: [chokes on garlic mashed potatoes]
Jimmy Carter: Because I have some pretty strong thoughts on the subject.
George W. Bush: Not so easy, is it Obama? Not so simple. Making decisions is hard.
Barack Obama: Look, to be honest, I’m hoping the whole Israel-Palestine thing will be over by the time I’m president. Until then, it’s your problem.
George W. Bush: As if I want to get into this mess two weeks before my term is up? That’s like starting a movie five minutes before bedtime. Sorry, Obama, this is your quagmire now.
Bill Clinton: There are some situations, Barack, even the best of us can’t weasel our way out of. Like getting a—
Barack Obama: Puppy for your kids?
Bill Clinton: Uh, yeah, a puppy. A nice, warm puppy in the middle of the day.
George H.W. Bush: Georgie, would you pass me that Dijon mustard over there?
George W. Bush: Technically, Pop, it’s closer to Jimmy Carter.
George H.W. Bush: Just give me the damn mustard.
[George W. Bush passes the mustard]
George H.W. Bush: You know, Barack, I have a lot of respect for your pragmatic, Bush 41–style mind-set. You have a lot of big, stubborn challenges ahead of you, son.
George W. Bush: What’s that, Dad?
George H.W. Bush: I was talking to Barack.
Jimmy Carter: It’s true, Barack. Just as in my presidency, you’ll face a worldwide energy crisis.
George W. Bush: And, as in mine, you will confront the forces of terror as they seek to destroy our way of freedom.
Bill Clinton: And like me, you’ll have to find something to do with Hillary!
Barack Obama: I did! The secretary of State thing should keep her occupied for at least a few months.
Bill Clinton: That reminds me, we should all thank Prince Al-Faisal for donating today’s lunch.
George W. Bush: The quail is fantastic.
Jimmy Carter: Very succulent.

Obama Joins Exclusive Lunch Club [CBS News]