Born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, President Obama marked his 49th birthday with a dinner celebration in Chicago, dining with old friends in his adopted city, including long time supporter Oprah Winfrey, comfortable in the town where me made his first political mark, while first lady Michelle Obama vacationed in Spain their with daughter Sasha, and older daughter Malia is away at summer camp. It was reported the first family phoned in their regards. “Needless to say, both those calls were the highlights of his day,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters traveling with Obama aboard Air Force One.
Not everyone was in a celebratory mood, however. The RNC took the opportunity to release as series of mock birthday card ridiculing the president for his policies, which they deem too liberal. Democrats, conversely, viewed it as fundraising opportunity. Obama planned to aid the effort by headlining separate events in Chicago for the Democratic Party and Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat now vying for the Senate seat Obama vacated to become president.
The president spoke at an AFL-CIO meeting in Washington, joking about not getting a birthday cake from his “good friends” in the labor movement. According to union president Richard Trumka, a cake was in the works, but was over-ruled by the Secret Service due to security concerns. An email campaign orchestrated by the first lady also solicited well wishes from Obama’s many supporters.
Obama will have some famous company, though some will only join him in spirit. August 4 is also the birthday of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (who would be 110) and famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong (who would be 109). Author Percy Bysshe, the husband of “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelly, would be 218. In the sports world, Wednesday is party time for Roger Clemens (48), B.J. Surhoff (45), and Jeff Gordon (39).
Hollywood will be blowing out some celebratory candles as well: actor Billy Bob Thornton is 55, and “Lost” (and now “Hawaii Five-o”) star Daniel Dae Kim is 42. Next year Obama hits the Big Five-O, as in Hawaii. Hopefully the surf, and the economy, will be “up” by then, giving him extra reason to celebrate.