Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama hold private White House lunch

President Barack Obama has lunch with former Secretary

President Barack Obama has lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the patio outside the Oval Office. (July 29, 2013) (Credit: The White House)

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's private White House lunch with Hillary Clinton Monday set off a flurry of public speculation in the nation's capitol.

Was she there to talk about a presidential run in 2016? The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that were to begin Monday night in Washington? Leaker Edward Snowden? Other foreign policy issues left from her time as Secretary of State?

"It's largely friendship that's on the agenda for the lunch," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at the regular press briefing in an attempt to tamp down the speculation.

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He said Obama invited Clinton, the president's former Secretary of State, to a lunch to "catch up."

They dined on grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad on the patio outside the Oval Office, Earnest said.

But later when asked about whether the two had discussed the peace talks, Earnest opened the door to speculation again.

"Given that the president and Secretary Clinton worked on this pretty closely together over the course of the last four years, I'd be surprised if it didn't come up," he said.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment, deferring to the White House.

Clinton hasn't said whether she's interested in another White House race, but she hasn't ruled it out. She has been making speeches, many of them paid, across the country.

A pro-Clinton super PAC called Ready for Hillary has began loading up on veterans from both her former presidential campaign and Obama's political operation.

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