By Carol E. Lee
Congressional leaders will get the pens President Barack Obama used to sign the debt ceiling bill, but White House staffers who logged long hours to secure the deal got lunch with the boss.
- President Barack Obama signs the Budget Control Act of 2011 in the Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Mr. Obama treated a handful of senior White House officials out for burgers at Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon.
“Michelle eats here all the time, but I don’t get out,” Mr. Obama said of his wife, who’s had a burger named after her on the Good Stuff menu.
The lunch group included Mr. Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew; Vice President Joe Biden‘s chief of staff, Bruce Reed; the director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling; the White House’s top laison to Congress, Rob Nabors; and deputy White House Chief of Staff Nancy Ann DeParle. Mr. Obama sat at the table with a burger, fries and a salad in front of him, according to a pool report. The president was apparently in a good mood, sharing his spread with fellow diners, including 11-year-old Andrew Parker, who said Mr. Obama told him to choose any milkshake he wanted from his table.
But even out for lunch, Mr. Obama couldn’t escape the debt talk.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who voted against the deal, happened to be picking up lunch at Chinese restaurant a few doors down and dropped by Mr. Obama’s table for a brief chat along the way.
“We talked about the difficult vote the other night,” he told reporters aftewards. “I explained to him that I didn’t vote with him, but I’m glad that it passed. He said he understood.”