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As Senate wrestles over debt ceiling, Obama stays out of sight

U.S. President Barack Obama meets U.S. Senate Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) in the Oval Office of the Whi
U.S. President Barack Obama meets U.S. Senate Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) in the Oval Office of the Whi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will stay out of the public eye on Sunday as Senate leaders try to work out an elusive deal ahead of a Thursday deadline for lifting the U.S. government debt ceiling.

Just before noon, the White House gave the pool of reporters and photographers who travel with the president notice that it would be highly unlikely that Obama would leave the White House or speak publicly for the rest of the day.

Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, was slated to hold talks on Sunday with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, about how much to raise the debt ceiling, and how to end the ongoing government shutdown, now in its 13th day.

Obama made a series of high-profile public appearances during the early days of the shutdown, where he sought to blame Republicans for the fiscal impasse.

But Obama has stayed away from television cameras since he began meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon.

Vice President Joe Biden, who has close relationships with lawmakers who he served with during his long service in the U.S. Senate, also has stayed out of the public eye.

Biden's schedule for the weekend showed that he and his wife Jill Biden would spend time at Camp David, the presidential retreat in rural Maryland.

"Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program," Republican Senator John McCain said on CBS Television's "Face the Nation" program on Sunday morning, alluding to Biden's legendary ability to clinch deals with Republicans.

(This version of the story was refiled to delete duplicate phrase in paragraph 1.)

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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