Obama Visits White House Press Room on Birthday
August 4, 2009 - 4:45 PMYou say it's your birthday.
It's my birthday, too.
And so it went at the White House on Tuesday.
On the day he turned 48, President Barack Obama decided to splash a little celebration on someone with whom he shares the birthday: legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas, now a columnist with Hearst Newspapers. She turned 89 on Tuesday.
Obama emerged unannounced in the White House briefing room where Thomas sat in the front-row seat reserved in her name. He led the room full of reporters in singing Happy Birthday, gave a plate full of cupcakes to Thomas, watched her blow out one lit candle and sat down next to her to share a smiling photo.
The president said Thomas wished for peace and no prejudice in the world and - working in a plug for his agenda - a health care reform bill.
And then he left without taking questions about his own birthday plans or anything else.
Obama had just spent lunch with almost the entire Democratic Senate caucus. Leaders emerged promising to deliver the health care bill Obama wants.
"We're ready to take on the world," Sen. Harry Reid said, offering a glowing assessment of Obama's pep talk.
The president was born in 1961 in Hawaii, a fact state officials have confirmed again and again to address claims of so-called "birthers" who say the president was actually born outside the United States.
The White House said Obama did much of his birthday celebrating over the weekend, hanging with friends and family at Camp David.
But that didn't stop some school kids on a tour of the White House from trying to get Obama's attention on the actual birthday itself.
From the steps of the North Portico, they broke out in their own version of Happy Birthday for the president, and were heard all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue.
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