President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stepped out of the White House on a surprise and rare off-campus stroll to grab lunch at a neighborhood eatery and draw attention to the fourth day of the government shutdown.
Mr. Obama and Biden, in shirt sleeves, chose a balmy fall day to wander away from the White House, eliciting gasps from tourists. People shouted "Oh, my God!" and "Go Barack!"
The president used the opportunity to once again urge House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to pass a no-strings-attached government spending bill.
"This shutdown could be over today... if Speaker Boehner will simply allow the vote to take place," Mr. Obama said
Mr. Obama reacted to a news report that quoted an anonymous senior administration official as saying that the White House was "winning" in the clash over the shutdown, and that the length of the shutdown "doesn't really matter to us."
"There's no winning when families don't have certainty about when they are going to get paid next," he said in response to a reporter's question.
The president and vice president were eating at Taylor Gourmet, a sandwich shop a block from the White House. It's not his first sampling of the chain lunch spot. He stopped by another nearby location in 2012 for a turkey hoagie sandwich.
Mr. Obama ate a macadamia nut cookie the Taylor Gourmet staff gave him. The sandwich shop is giving furloughed workers a 10 percent discount and a free cookie. Mr. Obama called it an "indication of how ordinary Americans look out for each other and aren't obsessed with politics and trying to extract concessions out of each other." He added, "Right now the House of Representatives has the opportunity to do the exact same thing."
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, tweeted a hopeful message:
"Common ground: John Boehner really likes Taylor Gourmet."