Why the Romneys are lunching with Chelsea Clinton. Awkward?

Ann and Mitt Romney will be having lunch with Chelsea Clinton and her husband, at a fund-raising event in Boston on Friday. The lunch comes on the heels of a Mitt Romney speech slamming Hillary Clinton. 

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Chelsea Clinton, left, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, smiles after being acknowledged by President Barack Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Chelsea and her husband will be having lunch with Mitt and Ann Romney Friday.

Talk about awkward.

Ann and Mitt Romney will be lunching with Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, at a fund-raising luncheon in Manhattan Friday, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The Romneys and Clintons will attend an event to benefit the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The Romneys launched the center last fall to research neurological problems, including multiple sclerosis, which Ann Romney has been diagnosed with, as CBS News reported. Mr. Mezvinsky is on the center's advisory board.

"The event, conceived of weeks ago, was to be the picture of bipartisanship: members of the Romney and Clinton clans, sitting side by side at a luncheon in Manhattan. But Friday’s hush-hush event...just got a little awkward," reports the Times in its morning email, First Draft.

Awkward thanks to some choice words former Gov. Romney had about Ms. Clinton's mother, Hillary, at an event this week.

The two-time presidential candidate is now mulling a third White House bid, and that means the gloves are off.

Romney began building his case against presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary during a speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday night where, as The Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier wrote, he launched a volley of "direct swipes at Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton."

He started with the former Secretary of State's foreign policy work.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation," Romney said at the event.

Romney 3.0: funny and politically fatal?

And he couldn't resist calling up that famous Hillary gaffe, when the likely Democratic frontrunner told voters during the 2014 midterm campaign, "Don't let anybody tell you it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."

"How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place?" Romney said.


So yes, Friday's lunch will likely be awkward.

But here's the thing: more than anyone else, seasoned politicians (and their families) are pros at navigating thorny situations. Compared to other challenges each political family has faced (Monica-gate, "47 percent," Benghazi, "corporations are people"), this is a relative cakewalk.

In fact, it might even be an exercise in bipartisanship, a bridge-building skill Romney will need if he should reach the White House. 

So what might the Romneys and Clintons discuss over lunch?

They may trade pleasantries over the salad course; congratulate the couple on their new daughter, Charlotte, during the main course (chicken?); and perhaps trade horseback riding tips over dessert (Ann loves to ride).

They won't, we predict, talk about Romney's likely third run for office, or share Clinton campaign secrets.

Because talking politics, of course, would be impolite – and even, a bit uncomfortable.

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