Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met in private Thursday night in Washington, D.C.

Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made the symbolically significant move of going to Clinton — who had requested the meeting. In so doing, he displaying levels of respect and graciousness that are likely to serve his November candidacy well.

The meeting, which came after an Obama rally in Virginia, signals more formally than anything Clinton or her backers will declare in days to come that her run for the Democratic nomination is done. It followed a day in which the senator from New York warmed up to her new role as an Obama supporter – backing off some of the more challenging stances she had taken since a Tuesday night “concession” speech that included no concession.

The expectation was that the former rivals would discuss how to proceed with the summer Democratic National Convention and the fall campaign against Republican John McCain. It was, as Obama said, “a conversation between the two of us about how we best go forward.”How well this process of forging a new relationship between the former frontrunner and the now-certain nominee will be signaled Saturday, when Clinton is now expected to warmly endorse Obama.

Don’t think that anything regarding the vice presidential nomination was settled at Clinton’s home – unless they agreed that the prospect was off the table. (And, even then, that might not end the speculation.)

What Obama is saying is: “Senator Clinton would be on anybody’s shortlist.”

That’s the standard line of nominees who are beginning the search for a running-mate.

In other words, it doesn’t mean anything.

But the meeting does mean something.

Referring to the author of those old “The Making of the President…” tomes, former White House counselor David Gergen said, “This is the kind of meeting where if Teddy White was alive, if he was still writing those chronicles of campaigns, he would write a whole chapter on.”