President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden strolled to a lunch spot offering discounts to furloughed federal workers at mid-day Friday, where Obama greeted diners and discussed the federal shutdown.
"Gonna go get something to eat," Obama called to reporters as he left the White House on foot on the fourth day of the ongoing government shutdown. When asked what happened to his car, he called back, "Tryin' to take a walk."
Obama and Biden visited a downtown location of Taylor Gourmet, a Philadelphia-style hoagie shop with outposts throughout the D.C. region. Obama greeted diners eating at the outdoor tables on an unseasonably warm October day, asking them where they worked.
The president said part of the reason they visited was because they were "starving" and Taylor's food is "great" -- but more importantly, the restaurant's discount was an indication of how ordinary Americans look out for each other and look past politics.
The House of Representatives has the same opportunity to do the same Friday, Obama said, urging House Speaker John Boehner to end the shutdown and end the uncertainly federal workers are facing.
"I'm happy to have negotiations with Boehner but we can't do it with a gun held to our heads," Obama said. "....There's no winning when families don't have certainty about whether they're going to get paid or not. I've got staff in the White House and there's staff all across the country in rural areas who are working for the agriculture department who are working for Veterans Affairs who are on their job despite the fact that they're not getting paid...."
Before they left, they ordered sandwiches, with the president telling the cashier, "I'm paying for Joe so don't take his money."
The president also stopped to shake hands with people outside a nearby Starbucks, a parking garage and Spice Indian Bistro.
Obama has visited a Taylor Gourmet at least once before, when he met with small business owners at the local chain's 14th Street NW location.
This week, Taylor has been offering furloughed workers a 10-percent discount and free cookies.
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