Happy birthday, Mr. President.
President Barack Obama turned 49 years old on Wednesday and is preparing to fly back home to Chicago in the late afternoon to celebrate the occasion with some friends, as first lady Michelle Obama and the girls are out of town.
“I think his plans for tomorrow are dinner with some friends in Chicago. And I think he is looking forward to spending the night in his house for a change,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in a press briefing on Tuesday.
As the first lady is traveling with daughter Sasha, 9, in Spain and daughter Malia, 12, is at camp, the president will play a low-key bachelor birthday with old friends once he arrives at Chicago at 6 p.m. EDT.
In celebration of the president’s birthday, the Democratic Party is putting out a chain of mailings, parties, and other fundraising activities to pay tribute to the president and rally supporters for the upcoming November elections. Michelle Obama has initiated an electronic birthday card for the president to give the Democratic supporters a medium to express their greetings.
On the day after his birthday, Obama is scheduled to attend in Chicago a $1,000-to $2,400-per-person fundraiser for Illinois Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias at the Palmer House Hilton, a fund-raising dinner at the home of real estate developer Neil Bluhm to raise funds for the Democratic National Committee with 50 persons at $30,400 each, and a $250-per-person reception at the Chicago Cultural Center.
As he is getting close to 50 and has to shoulder the weight of the U.S. presidency, Obama has been referencing his graying hair and slowing metabolism somewhat more often lately.
“I can’t imagine that the weight of the job doesn’t take a toll physically and mentally on anybody that does it,” said Gibbs. “But at the same time, I think he’s still … enjoying the job even with its many challenges. He knew what he was getting himself into in deciding several years ago to undertake this.”
Gibbs added that being the president will just “require him to get more frequent haircuts.”