WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Amid a government shutdown, looming U.S. default and partisan bickering in Congress, President Barack Obama was still able to focus on one of the more positive, “cool” things about his job.

In a round of interviews with local television stations addressing the threat of a Thursday deadline for raising the U.S. debt limit, President Obama told WABC-TV’s Diana Williams that their respective daughters both share the view that celebrity friends are one of the “coolest” perks to the job.

“My daughter asked me to ask you, what is the coolest thing about being president?” asked Williams. “She says it’s because you get to be friends with Beyonce and Jay-Z. So, I said, I’m going to ask the president what’s the coolest thing?”

“You can tell your daughter that that is a view shared by Malia and Sasha, that’s what they think is the coolest thing,” responded Obama. “You know, for me, I think the coolest thing is that if there is somebody interesting, whose doing anything, a scientist, a sports figure, you know, a writer, anybody in the world — if I want to call them up and talk, they will answer my call. And that’s a pretty cool thing.”

The lighthearted moment was a break from an interview that focused mainly on a series of important issues, including the ongoing government shutdown that entered its 16th day on Wednesday. A bipartisan deal between leading members of the Senate is still being discussed, as the GOP-led House failed to form a plan to avoid the Thursday debt ceiling deadline.

However, in recent months, Obama has invited several “cool” people to join him in the White House. Director George Lucas, author Joan Didion and the NFL champion Baltimore Ravens have all made their way to Washington.