NEW YORK - Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama broke bread with former President Clinton Thursday, putting their tense primary season interactions to rest and promising a vigorous campaign schedule.
Mr. Clinton invited Mr. Obama to have lunch with him in his global foundation’s Harlem offices while the candidate was in town to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
Reporters were briefly allowed to ask questions of the two men before they held a private meeting over sandwiches from Cosi.
Mr. Clinton, who enthusiastically endorsed his wife’s former rival at the Democratic National Convention last month, said he would hit the campaign trail for the Obama-Biden ticket soon.
Were putting him to work, added Mr. Obama, who defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during a bruising 57-contest primary battle.
I’ve agreed to do a substantial number of things. Whatever Im asked to do, Mr. Clinton told reporters who asked how frequently he would stump for the Illinois senator.
He also predicted “Sen. Obama will win and win handily.
Mr. Obama chimed in: There you go. You can take it from the President of the United States. He knows a little something about politics.
Mr. Obama Thursday afternoon will meet his Republican rival Sen. John McCain at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan to lay a wreath in honor of the 9/11 victims.
Later Thursday evening they will participate in a televised service forum at Columbia University where they will appear separately to take questions.
After the meeting, the men emerged, smiling, to see hundreds of cheering fans lining the Harlem streets.
As some chanted the Obama “Yes we can” mantra, Mr. Clinton had his arm around Mr. Obama’s back.
Soon after the meeting, the Obama campaign sent reporters a joint statement from spokesmen representing the candidate and the former president.
“President Clinton and Senator Obama had a great conversation in Harlem today. They discussed the campaign briefly, but mostly talked about how the world has changed since September 11, 2001,” they said.
“Sen. Obama praised the work of the Clinton Foundation around the world and President Clinton applauded Sen. Obama’s historic campaign, which has inspired millions around the country,” the statement read.
“They also spoke about what the next President can do to help make the economy work for all Americans, as it did under President Clinton, and ensure safety and prosperity far beyond the coming the election. President Clinton said he looks forward to campaigning for Senator Obama later this month.”