It apparently is GOP presidential prospects day at the White House, as both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – each mentioned as possible 2016 GOP candidates – arrived at the White House for meetings.
Neither meeting was announced by the White House. Reporters caught wind of Christie’s presence this morning, and Pawlenty just happened to be spotted as he was entering the West Wing.
Christie showed up seeking money to help rebuild portions of New Jersey devastated by Hurricane Sandy. He met with President Obama and then separately with top Obama aides. Pawlenty, who is now CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group, met only with staff, according to Politico.
The White House seemed to minimize a meeting between Obama and Christie, suggesting the session was but a prelude to a more important meeting between Christie and Obama aides, including Chief of Staff Jack Lew.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the Obama-Christie encounter a “pre-meeting” to the session Christie had with staff.
If the meeting is intentionally being low-keyed, it could be at the request of Christie, who may want to minimize his association with Obama after getting accused of being too cozy with the president as he sought help for New Jersey in the days before the election.