VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
OBAMA GOES FOR TAKEOUT LUNCH IN MIDST OF SHUTDOWN
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama used a surprise walk out of the White House Friday to get a sandwich and the spotlight in the government shutdown as it dragged on with no negotiations scheduled with House Speaker John Boehner.
Obama strolled unannounced out of the White House gate, making his way along with Vice President Joe Biden a block up Pennsylvania Avenue to a Taylor Gourmet deli that was offering a discount to furloughed federal employees going without a paycheck. "As long as they're off the job, nobody's winning," Obama said as he walked up to place his order.
He was responding to a reporters' question about a quote in the Wall Street Journal from an anonymous senior administration official who reportedly said the White House was "winning" in the clash over the shutdown, and that the length of the shutdown "doesn't really matter to us." Obama bristled at the suggestion.
"There's no winning when families don't have certainty about whether they are going to get paid or not," Obama said.
He placed the blame for the stalemate on Boehner, saying there are enough votes to end the shutdown immediately if the speaker would call a vote of his members. Asked by reporters whether the two men had any plans to talk, Obama said nothing was planned. "I'm always happy to hear from him," he added.
GOP leaders said Friday the House will be in session Saturday so that Republicans can continue passing bills that would reopen selected parts of the federal government. The White House responded by issuing fresh veto threats, saying Congress should reopen the entire federal government, as Obama cancelled a planned trip to Asia next week to stay engaged in the debate.
Obama's somewhat chaotic foray outside the confines of the White House grounds for carryout lunch was a first for the president, his aides said as they tried to maintain order among media following along. Shocked tourists and downtown workers on their lunch break gasped and occasionally shouted out words of support as he passed. "Hang tough, Mr. President," one yelled out.
PROSPECT FOR QUICK END TO SHUTDOWN IS REMOTE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Prospects for a swift end to the 4-day-old partial government shutdown all but vanished Friday as lawmakers squabbled into the weekend and increasingly shifted their focus to a midmonth deadline for averting a threatened first-ever default.
"This isn't some damn game," said House Speaker John Boehner, as the White House and Democrats held to their position of agreeing to negotiate only after the government is reopened and the $16.7 trillion debt limit raised.
House Republicans appeared to be shifting their demands, de-emphasizing their previous insistence on defunding the health care overhaul in exchange for re-opening the government. Instead, they ramped up calls for cuts in federal benefit programs and future deficits, items that Boehner has said repeatedly will be part of any talks on debt limit legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said the two issues were linked. "We not only have a shutdown but we have the full faith and credit of our nation before us in a week or ten days," he said.
Reid and other Democrats blocked numerous attempts by Sen. Ted Cruz, a leading architect of the "defund Obamacare" strategy, to approve House-passed bills reopening portions of the government.
The Texas Republican said repeatedly Obama and Democrats were to blame for the impasse.
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