President Obama on Friday sought to end the controversy over an administration official's remark that the White House was "winning" the shutdown fight, saying there was no political gain when American families were struggling.
"There's no winning when families don't have certainty about when they are going to get paid next," Obama told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
His comment came after Republican lawmakers on the fourth day of a federal government shutdown focused on a remark from an anonymous administration official, quoted as saying that the administration didn't care how long the fiscal standoff lasted.
"We are winning. … It doesn't really matter to us, " a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal in an article published Friday, adding "because what matters is the end result."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also blasted the remark, saying that “this isn't some damn game” at a press conference on Friday.
White House press secretary Jay Carney called the controversy "absurd" and said that Obama had pressed for Boehner to end the shutdown by passing a clean funding bill.
"We utterly disavow idea WH doesn't care when it ends. House should act now, no strings attached," he tweeted.
Obama made the remarks at a local sandwich shop, Taylor Gourmet, which he visited for an impromptu lunch break with Vice President Biden.
The president had previously visited another location of the sandwich shop in 2012, holding a roundtable with small business owners.