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Obamas, Bushes dine together on Air Force One on way back to U.S.

ON BOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - Members of a uniquely exclusive club had dinner together at a uniquely exclusive venue on Tuesday: President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, for a meal on Air Force One.

Traveling back from South Africa, where the two families joined former President Bill Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, the Obamas and Bushes dined in a conference room on the presidential plane during the return journey, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who also traveled with the Obamas to South Africa, did not return on Air Force One. She was to go back to the United States with her husband and daughter, Chelsea.

Also attending the dinner: Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, national security adviser Susan Rice, and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obama criticized Bush, a Republican, heavily during his 2008 presidential campaign. The two men have had a respectful relationship since then, while seeing each other infrequently.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Paul Simao)

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