Tales from the Trail

At Lincoln Memorial, Obama again makes point that government is open

President Barack Obama has found the monuments of Washington to be quite the picturesque backdrops for making the point that a government shutdown was averted.

Obama surprised visitors at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday not long after signing a short-term bill to keep the government open. A budget deal was reached shortly before Friday’s midnight deadline. USA/

“Because Congress was able to settle its differences, that’s why this place is open today and everybody’s able to enjoy their visit,” Obama told a crowd gathered at the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “And that’s the kind of future cooperation I hope we have going forward.”

It was the second monument to serve as background to his comments on the budget deal. In his late-night comments Friday after congressional leaders announced they had reached an agreement, Obama stood in front of a window with a view of  the Washington Monument and congratulated Congress on preventing monuments, national parks and other services from closing to visitors.

Obama – who called off his own family’s planned weekend trip to Williamsburg, Va., as budget negotiations seemed likely to continue into the weekend – shook hands with many of the people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and encouraged them to enjoy their visit.

Monuments by Moonlight

obamafamilyPresident Barack Obama took his family on a brisk moonlit monument tour Sunday evening, visiting the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument.

Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her husband Konrad Ng, their two young daughters Suhaila and Savita, and Michelle Obama’s mother Marian Robinson were along for the tour which was completed in under an hour.

Obama, in sneakers and his familiar White Sox baseball cap, spent less than 10 minutes inside the Jefferson Memorial — which honors Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president — and emerged to a  brief cheers from onlookers.