Obama on the 'loose' for lunch

Story highlights

  • President Barack Obama walked to lunch at the Metropolitan Club on Monday
  • He was meeting former Sens. Tom Daschle and George Mitchell

Washington (CNN)The allure of a golden autumn afternoon beckoned Monday to President Barack Obama, who shrugged off the confines of his presidential motorcade for a walk to lunch.

He only had to go two blocks -- he was dining with former Sens. Tom Daschle and George Mitchell at the Metropolitan Club, just off Lafayette Square near the White House.
But the stroll through closed-off streets was a rarity for the President, who normally travels in his bomb-and-bullet proof limousine.
    He chatted along the way with his chief of staff Denis McDonough and Katie Fallon, his legislative director. Like many an urban office dweller, he carried with him a to-go cup of tea.
    A year ago, Obama underwent a period of cabin fever that prompted similar walkabouts. He surprised tourists near the National Mall when he made the half-mile trek from his office to the Interior Department.
    He took a group of working parents out to lunch at Chipotle (or, as he called it, 'Chipotle's').
    And lured by a warm spring day, he took McDonough out for afternoon coffee at a Pennsylvania Avenue Starbucks.
    The term the wandering commander-in-chief used for his adventures: "The bear is loose."
    It reflected his own perception of the White House as a cage, replete with armed guards, controlled movements and pesky reporters at every turn.
    During speeches, Obama has sometimes lamented the stifling nature of his job -- and eagerly anticipated breaking free when he leaves office in January 2017.
    "I'll be honest with you -- I'm looking forward to life after being president," he said in Ethiopia this summer. "I won't have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk."