President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner haven't agreed on much in recent weeks, but there's at least one thing they both like: hoagies by Washington sandwich chain Taylor Gourmet.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took an impromptu lunchtime walk to one of the chain's shops about two blocks from the White House, The Hill reports
They were surrounded by a group of Secret Service agents.
Obama ordered a Race Street roast turkey sandwich and bought Biden a Ninth Street cold cut sub.
The president also seized the opportunity to respond to a quote from an unnamed White House official that Republicans have used to their advantage the partial federal shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of employees furloughed for a fourth day.
Obama has called the budget impasse a "Republican shutdown" and has sought to put the blame for it squarely at Boehner's feet.
"This shutdown could be over today," Obama said at the sandwich shop, according to video by MSNBC published by the Hill. "We know there are the votes for it in the House of Representatives. If Speaker Boehner will allow that vote to take place, we can end this shutdown.
"I am happy to have negotiations with the Republicans and Speaker Boehner on a whole range of issues, but we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people."
But earlier on Friday, The Wall Street Journal quoted
an Obama administration official it did not name as saying, "We are winning ... It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."
Before making his purchase at Taylor Gourmet, packed with a lunch-time crowd of surprised tourists and office workers, Obama responded to the "winning" quote.
"There's no winning when families don't have certainty over whether they're going to get paid or not," the president said. "As long as they're off the job, nobody's winning."
The Taylor Gourmet foray prompted this tweet from Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck:
He later added:
That luncheon between Obama and congressional leaders last year was also catered by Taylor Gourmet, which opened in 2008 and now has seven stores in the D.C. area, the Hill reports.
The restaurant chain advertised "a 10 percent discount, career counseling, and a cookie" to furloughed workers.
The hoagie stop was Obama's fifth public appearance this week to press his point that Republicans should endorse a Senate-passed stop-gap funding bill that would restart the government and finance Obamacare for the next year.
The House has passed legislation that includes delaying Obamacare's individual mandate for a year while temporarily funding the government.
The visit also came as Boehner blasted the White House
for the Journal comment.
“This isn’t some damn game,” the Ohio Republican told reporters on Friday. “The American people don’t want their government shut down and neither do I.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
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