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Bill Clinton does lunch with Obama. BP on menu? Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the White House private dining room

President Obama naming former Presidents Clinton and Bush to cooperate American charitable aid to Haiti Jan. 16, 2010 by Getty Images
Amid rising anger at the slow pace of government response to BP's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama plans a press conference in the East Room on Thursday, at 9:45 a.m. PDT.

With a USA Today poll showing that a majority of Americans now give Obama a failing grade for his handling of the catastrophe, White House aides say the president will announce new, more stringent standards to enhance drilling safety and impose a moratorium on plans for drilling in other environmentally sensitive ecosystems.

But before the presser, Obama will have lunch with someone who knows something about damage control. 

Former President Clinton, whose affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky landed him in trouble with the law, Congress and his wife, might have a thing or two to tell Obama about how to handle a crisis.

Or maybe he'll talk to him about triangulation -- the strategy Clinton and consultant Dick Morris devised to cope with a Senate that had turned Republican -- work both sides toward the middle. Yes, that's the same Morris who's now a conservative talker.

It's possible, of course, that the topic at lunch has nothing to do with BP or the political fallout of what is becoming Obama's Katrina, the hurricane in the gulf that caught the federal government asleep and turned George W. Bush into a lame-duck president.

Maybe Obama wants to talk to Clinton about undertaking some private diplomatic mission. Maybe Clinton wants to talk to Obama about coordinating with his William J. Clinton Foundation on issues of climate change, HIV/AIDS or First Lady Michelle Obama's cause, childhood obesity.

But it's not likely. Obama is clearly frustrated -- telling aides to "plug the damn hole" -- and planning a trip to the Gulf Coast Friday.

But first, lunch beckons.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: President Obama in the Rose Garden on Jan. 16, 2010, naming former Presidents Clinton and Bush to lead an effort for American charitable aid to Haiti  Credit: Getty Images

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Interesting meeting wonder really who can learn from it?
The Shell Fish in the oil or the shellfish in the BS ouups BP it was.

Well, if anyone knows about trying to do damage controls over unwanted spills, it's Clinton.

Nope...not about oil. It was about getting the stories straight on the Sestek bribe.

they talked sestak & coverup...


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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