By JEFF ZELENY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Finally they’ve spoken.
Sen. Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton shared a 20-minute conversation on Monday, their first talk since the combative Democratic presidential primary season ended nearly a month ago.
As Obama arrived here for a campaign stop, he reached Clinton by telephone. The two men covered a variety of issues, aides to both said, including how Clinton could help in the fall campaign.
“Senator Obama asked him to campaign with and for him in the fall,” said Robert Gibbs, the communications director for Obama. “I believe the president is excited to do it.”
The discussion with Clinton was a central piece of unfinished business for Obama after his long primary fight with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While the two senators have spoken several times, and appeared publicly together last Friday at a rally in Unity, N.H., Obama had yet to clear the air with the former president after a series of tense public exchanges throughout the primary campaign. Many of those exchanges between the two men, and their surrogates, were rooted in race, others in the record of the Clinton administration.
Obama has told his advisers that he is eager to bury any animosity and seek advice from Clinton. He is expected to have dinner or a meeting with him, most likely on the former president’s turf, aides said, though nothing has yet been scheduled. On Monday they also discussed making a public appearance together in July.
The call was announced in separate statements issued by the offices of Obama and Clinton.
“President Clinton continues to be impressed by Senator Obama and the campaign he has run,” said Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Clinton, “and looks forward to campaigning for and with him in the months to come.”© The New York Times. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in The New York Times.