Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday, Mr. President!

President Obama celebrated his birthday (officially today, August 4th) in Chicago last evening with a few friends while making a couple of speeches during DNC events.

Among those helping him celebrate, singer Jennifer Hudson, and others at Chicago's Aragon Entertainment Center.

Mr. President said he couldn't have had a better birthday present than spending the night in Chicago, his 'home town'.  "It's true that I turn 50 tomorrow," he said, adding that by the time he wakes up tomorrow he expects an email from AARP "asking me to call President Obama and tell him to protect Medicare."

Despite the focus being on him he was par for the course in addressing the needs of Americans, and of course, the tumultuous few weeks (months) in Washington trying to pass the debt ceiling bill.

Addressing the crowd of about 2,400 at one DNC event the president said, "We’ve just gone through an extraordinary week in Washington", the president said, "An extraordinary two weeks in Washington.  It’s not the kind of extraordinary that the American people are looking for.  Because at a time when so many families are struggling, at a time when we should be singularly focused on how to make ourselves more competitive and make sure our kids have the best educations possible and how are we transforming our energy strategy and how are we building on high-tech industries and the huge competitive advantages that we have, politics continues to get in the way".

The president also fielded questions, via video conference, from several supporters and campaign workers where he urged them all to "stay involved".

President Obama celebrates his 50th birthday today, Thursday August 4th.  Photo/ CD Brown.
"...but I want to urge all of you to get involved as a team to start going out not only spreading the message but also listening to people and finding out what’s on their minds and figuring out how we can engage them and get them involved.  And that’s where these neighborhood teams are so important.  We’re already had contact with 42,000 individuals face to face across the nation because of the teams that are activated in the states that are represented on this phone call.  We have had 2 two million calls made to folks all across the country, contacting them, listening to their concerns, and finding out how they want to get involved in this campaign".

After a busy evening of DNC related events and birthday celebrating, the president returned to Washington in the wee, early hours of Thursday morning, his official 50th birthday.

One pooler reported that some White House staffers on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force base sang Happy Birthday to him as he got to the bottom of the stairs. He stopped on the tarmac and smiled.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

Sign The President's Birthday Card

**Update and Side Bar Chatter**

The president's 50th birthday party had some pretty heavy hitters in attendance.  We're told that Chris Rock, who played a U.S. president in his hit movie Head of State (we love that movie) was in attendance.  He even tweeted about it saying, "Just left the President's birthday party at the White House. Herbie Hancock played, Stevie Wonder sang and yes they did the electric slide. A great night."

Along with Rock, rapper Jay-Z, former NBA great-turned-analyst Charles Barkley, and Tom Hanks.

Side bar:  Those of us in the media could smell the BBQ aroma permeating the White House grounds earlier in the day before and after the daily press briefing with press secretary Jay Carney, where many were hoping the president would appear.  He did not, leaving many disappointed.

C'mon, Mr. President.  Don't leave us hanging like that.  You know we wanted to say HBD.

The president shares the same birthdate as former White House reporter Helen Thomas.  In 2009 the president did make an appearance during the briefing, handing a birthday cupcake to Thomas.

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