Obama, Biden take a rare stroll for lunch

October 4, 2013
Biden helps Obama pick out a pack of cookies as they buy lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House in Washington
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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) helps President Barack Obama (R) pick out a pack of cookies as they buy lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, October 4, 2013. House Republicans held their ground on Friday in a standoff with Obama over the U.S. government shutdown, accusing him of intransigence and not caring about the impact of the shutdown, now in its fourth day. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are stepping 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.

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 make a case for the Republican-controlled House to pass a short-term spending measure that would reopen the government without strings attached.

"This shutdown could be over today," he said. "We know there are votes for it in the House."

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.

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. Obama said he has to pay because he isn't furloughed.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, tweeted a hopeful message:

"Common ground: John Boehner really likes Taylor Gourmet."