In what could be a bow to appearances as the government shutdown continues, the Obamas decided not to head out to a restaurant to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary, choosing to remain at the White House instead.

President Obama seems to have concluded it would be a bad public relations move to rumble out of the White House via motorcade to an expensive restaurant while many government services are on hold and federal employees are sitting at home furloughed. The taxpayer-funded romantic night – mainly entailing security costs – could hardly be justified as an “essential” government activity.

The Obamas usually hit a trendy or pricey spot when they go out, last year marking their anniversary at Bourbon Steak, one of Washington’s best steakhouses.

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