President Obama stopped by Martha's Table food pantry in Washington, D.C. and put on a green apron:
"POTUS walked into a food-prep area at Martha’s Table wearing a green apron, and approached several tables where volunteers and staff were assembling food," writes today's crack White House pool reporter.
He spoke to some cute kids from Sidwell Friends who were making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some furloughed feds making yogurt parfait and baloney sandwiches. Will send color on all that in a bit.
Standing in front of stainless steel a table with several rows of baloney on white bread sandwiches, Obama turned to a bank of cameras and addressed the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.
Check transcript for full quotes. A few highlights:
“This week if we don’t start making some real progress, both the House and the Senate and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting and defaulting could have a potentially have a devastating affect on our economy.”
“This whole shutdown has been completely unnecessary.”
Turning to today’s meeting with congressional leaders, Obama said: “This afternoon I am going to once again urge them to open the government and urge them to make sure that the united states government is paying it’s bills.”
He said there had been “some progress on the Senate side with Republicans recognizing it’s not tenable, it’s not smart, it’s not good for the American people to let America default.”
“There has been some progress in recognizing we’re not going to be able to completely bridge the differences between the parties all at once,” he said.
Shutdown risks “the possibility that America’s full faith and credit is damaged just because one side is not getting its way.”
Noting the effects of the shutdown: “That damage would be greatly magnified if we don’t make sure that the government’ paying its bills and that has to be decided this week.”
He said of federal volunteers: “These are people who have not been paid, in some cases are very eager to be back on the job.”
He said volunteering “shows the kind of spirit that we have among all kinds of federal workers all across the country.”
“Because of the politics, they’re not able to do their jobs.”
Motorcade left Martha’s Table at 12:55 and we’re now back at the White House.