Obama escapes again for burgers

The bear is loose again.

President Obama made another unscheduled burger run on Tuesday, traveling to FireFlies restaurant in the Alexandria, Va., neighborhood of Del Ray with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

According to the White House, the restaurant's owner Marylisa Lichens wrote to the president in March to ask that he visit and "try the best burger around."

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Obama and Duncan — one of the few remaining original Cabinet members — have spent the week working together to promote the president's executive action expanding eligibility for a college loan repayment plan that caps monthly bills to 10 percent of a borrowers' income.

But Obama's trips off campus have been happening with increasing regularity.

On Monday, the president and chief of staff Denis McDonough walked out the White House gates for an impromptu trip to Starbucks. Obama ditched members of the press who are supposed to travel with him at all time, earning the ire of some reporters.

"The bear is loose," Obama told reporters at the White House gate, a joke he's made multiple times to describe the surprise trips.

Last month, Obama and Vice President Biden visited the Shake Shack outpost a few blocks from the White House, promoting the company's burgers, higher-than-minimum wage pay, and infrastructure projects. A few days later, he made an impromptu stop at a Little League baseball game that included the daughter of press secretary Jay Carney.

And Obama recently ditched his motorcade for a walk to the Interior Department, which brought him into contact with crowds of tourists visiting Washington D.C.

"I don't get a chance to take walks very often," Obama said last month. "Secret Service gets a little stressed. But every once in a while I'm able to sneak off."

In an interview with daytime television host Michael Strahan, Obama said he missed the anonymity of private life.  Asked what he would do if he could ditch the Secret Service, the president said he'd take a simple walk.

"I'd just walk out this gate, I might walk out to the Lincoln Memorial, sit out there, wander around, find myself at a little outdoor cafe and watch people go by," Obama said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest denied that the trip was anything more meaningful than wanting to grab lunch on "a beautiful day."

"I don't think the president is going to lunch with the Secretary of Education to seek attention," Earnest said. "He's going to seek a nice meal."

This post was updated 1:26 p.m.