The reports of shots fired in Washington unfolded minutes after White House press secretary Jay Carney wrapped up his daily press briefing where he defended Obama's use of a gun analogy earlier in the day to criticize Republicans for using his health care bill as a negotiating chit.
"You don't negotiate by putting a gun to the other person's head or, worse yet, by putting a gun to the American people's head by threatening a shutdown," Obama said Thursday morning at a construction company in Rockville, Maryland.
Fox News' Ed Henry asked Carney about the remarks, noting that Obama after the shooting in Tucson in 2011, had said Americans need to "make sure we're talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."
Carney noted that "numerous" Republicans had used the hostage analogy, as well as the "gun- to-the-head" analogy. One California congressman, he said, called his Republican colleagues "lemmings in suicide vests."
"I hardly think this is unique," Carney said. "I mean, again, if you're suggesting that hurt feelings are why we shut down the government..."
Carney noted that Henry himself had "referred to Republicans shooting at themselves" at a briefing earlier in the week.
"I think the American people who watch this could probably get through that," Carney said.