ABC News’ Mary Bruce Reports:
Members of the U.S. Congress put aside their partisan differences tonight in favor of “corny dogs,” funnel cake, and “chicken in a basket” at the annual congressional picnic at the White House.
“We don’t want to make a long speech, but I do hope that the spirit of community that is so evident on a day like today, that this carries over each and every day. We've got Democrats here and the Republicans here, and we all have differences on issues at every given moment, but the one thing that we have to remind ourselves every day is we’re all Americans and we’re all part of the American family,” President Obama said in his opening remarks standing alongside the first lady, dressed in a blue and white stripped sun dress.
The president said the event was a chance to thank the families of the members of Congress.
“This is always one of the best events of the year for us, mainly because with all the work that we do with members of Congress and their staffs, all too often we don’t get a chance to say thank you to the families,” he said.
The picnic also gives members a chance to mingle and let loose a bit.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was spotted chatting with House Majority Leader Eric Canter, R-Va., Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., was seen dancing with his wife, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, was caught lighting up a cigarette (a rare public sight).
Tables covered in yellow and blue checkered tablecloths dotted the south lawn and a U.S. Navy band played blue grass and patriot country music to complete the “State Fair” theme. Activities included a pie throwing contest and a three-legged race.
“You guys have fun. And I want you guys to eat until you can’t eat any more. All right? And then tomorrow you can ‘Let’s Move,’” the president said.