President Barack Obama celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday with golf, a trip to Camp David and some ribbing from Republicans.
After a round on the golf course in the morning, Obama left for the presidential retreat in Maryland and will return to the White House on Sunday, USA Today reported. A more public celebration is on tap for next weekend when he hosts several fundraisers in Chicago.
For Republicans, it was a chance to get in some birthday barbs. The Republican National Committee, mocking his “You didn’t build that” line, sent a birthday cake to the president on Friday, which had the words, “Happy birthday, Mr. President" in icing and "You didn't bake this" written above a picture of Obama.
Last month, Obama told a crowd, "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen…The point is, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative but also because we do things together."
But the “icing” on the cake was what RNC spokesman Tim Miller wrote in an email: "Happy 50.99726th Mr. President," mocking the words of a White House economic adviser, who said the July jobs report showed the "unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217 percent in June to 8.254 percent in July).”
Democrats returned the cake, and with a message.
“This is typical of Mitt Romney’s approach to the middle class," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell told The Hill. "He wants to ‘Let them eat cake!’ while robbing them blind. We sent the cake back to the RNC, along with a copy of the Tax Center’s report on Mitt Romney’s tax plan.”
The committee also ribbed Obama in online birthday cards intended to be sent between supporters. The committee launched BaracksBirthdayCards.com
, which lets supporters choose from a series of birthday greetings that poke fun at the White House. One card, signed “Solyndra,” says, “You Gave Us Half a Billion Taxpayer Dollars and All You Got Was This Stupid Card.”
On another card, Russian President Vladimir Putin's image accompanies the message, "After the election, you are flexible for me. I flex for your birthday." The card is a play on Obama's comments to the outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, "This is my last election... After my election I have more flexibility."
Another card has the president's face on it. "My birthday wish: make everyone forget I've been president the last four years."
On Thursday, the president told a crowd in Florida, "I'm going to be 51 on Saturday. Fifty-one! Michelle says I look 50. That's not bad." The crowd then sang “Happy Birthday."
"If I'd known you guys were going to sing, we would have had a cake," Obama said. "And then I would have blown out the candles. I would have made a wish — that probably would have had to do with electoral votes. Winning Florida wouldn't be a bad birthday present."
Obama's campaign is taking full political advantage of the president’s birthday, inviting donors to enter a raffle to attend a fundraising party on August 12 at his home in Chicago.
The New York Times reported that the fundraiser marks a milestone in the transformation of the president and his wife, who have in the past been reluctant to embrace the role of politics in their lives and keep their home in Chicago off-limits to outsiders.
“The party raises questions about how far the Obamas will go in mortgaging their personal appeal for political gain in the months ahead,” the Times wrote. “In poll after poll, voters give Mr. Obama higher marks as a person — a trustworthy leader, a committed father — than as a steward of the economy. Aside from their house, how much of themselves are the Obamas willing to offer up?”
In 2009, Michelle Obama threw a private surprise party for the president with a handful of old friends in attendance. In 2010, he hosted a basketball tournament and the following year, he celebrated his 50th birthday with a fund-raiser at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, where Jennifer Hudson sang “Happy Birthday.” the Times recaled. The campaign sold commemorative birthday merchandise at the event.
Obama supporters will hold at least 1,000 birthday-themed events across the country, such as knocking on 51 doors in North Carolina to calling 51 voters in California, the Times reported.
The fundraiser at the Obamas’ home will have the usual illusion of intimacy such events now contain. The email invitation said party guests will spend “downtime” with Obama at his home but, the Times reported, the event is one of four fund-raisers that Obama will race through that day and the first lady will not be there, despite the emailed invitation from her.
Donors may be disappointed to find that most of the party will take place in the backyard, the first family rarely spends nights at the home anymore, and many Chicago friends predict they will never move back in, the Times reported.
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