WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama strolled out of the White House in an unusual walkabout Friday, and declared "nobody is winning" from the US government shutdown.
Obama's photo-op was a clear attempt to clean up after a White House misstep in which a senior aide was quoted as saying the administration did not care how long the shutdown lasts because it feels it is beating up on Republicans.
"There's no winning when families don't have any certainty over whether they are going to get paid or not," Obama said, referring to the plight of furloughed federal workers.
"Nobody is winning... that is the point. We should get this over with as soon as possible."
The president, along with Vice President Joe Biden and surrounded by Secret Service agents, walked along Pennsylvania Avenue to a sandwich shop which is offering a 10 percent discount to furloughed federal workers.
It was a rare spectacle to see Obama walking through an area not previously clear by the Secret Service, and his walkabout came a day after a woman tried to ram a White House security perimeter barrier in her car, before she was shot dead near the US Capitol.
"This shutdown could be over today," Obama told reporters, calling on House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on a short term funding measure to open the government.
"Reopen the government, make sure we are paying our bills," Obama said.
Republicans seized on the quote in an article in the Wall Street Journal, in which a senior aide said the White House was "winning" the showdown over the four day shutdown.
"This isn't some damn game" an angry Boehner told reporters.