This story has been updated.
They’ve been talking about each other for months. On Wednesday, President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke to each other for the first time since the general election campaign has begun in earnest.
According to the White House, Obama called Romney just before noon to congratulate him on securing the Republican presidential nomination after he won the Texas GOP primary on Tuesday. Romney’s victory, coming after his leading challengers withdrew or suspended their campaigns over the past several weeks, gave him at least 88 more delegates, putting him over the 1,144 he needed to clinch the nomination.
“President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign,” the White House said in a statement.
The call marked the first time the two men have spoken to each other since Obama was a U.S. senator more than three years ago, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Romney, who has no public events on Wednesday, was on the West Coast when the call came in at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time, according to a campaign aide.
The call was “brief and cordial,” and Romney “thanked the president for his congratulations and wished him and his family well,” the aide said.
That cordiality didn’t last long. When Carney was asked about the call at his daily briefing, he made note that Obama had told Romney he looked forward to a debate over the country’s future.
Then Carney added that the Republicans’ vision is recycled from Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
“It’s the very same vision, the very same substantive policy proposals, except exaggerated, that led to the worst economic crisis in our lifetime,” Carney said.
Romney will officially accept the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late August, and Obama will be officially renominated at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in the first week of September.