US President Barack Obama celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday with a round of golf and a quiet weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat, taking a break from campaigning three months before Election Day.
Obama, wearing a white golf shirt, khaki pants and sunglasses, boarded Marine One at Andrews Air Force Base after about six hours on the golf course before heading to Camp David. He was joined by a small group of friends and aides that included White House chef Sam Kass, a frequent golf partner.
He returns to campaign mode soon enough, with fundraisers in Connecticut on today and campaign rallies in Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday.
Next weekend, Obama will hold several birthday-themed fundraisers in Chicago, including one at his family’s South Side home. Obama’s campaign used the event to drum up small-dollar donations before the end of last month’s fundraising deadline, offering two lucky winners the chance to attend the fundraiser at Obama’s red brick home.
In an e-mail to supporters last month, Obama warned that his birthday “could be the last one I celebrate as president of the United States, but that’s not up to me — it’s up to you.” Obama’s team has said he could be outspent by Republicans and presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Obama got some early birthday wishes on Thursday during a rally in Florida, when supporters serenaded him with Happy Birthday. The president joked that his birthday wishes “probably would have to do with electoral votes. Winning Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present.”
Republicans offered tongue-in-cheek birthday greetings. The Republican National Committee delivered a birthday cake to their counterparts at the Democratic National Committee on Friday featuring a picture of a smiling Obama next to the words, “You didn’t bake this.” The inscription was a reference to a line from an Obama speech last month in which he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
Romney has seized upon the line to question Obama’s commitment to small business while Obama and Democrats have said the quote was taken out of context.
Democratic officials promptly sent the cake back to Republican party headquarters, along with a copy of a recent report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that found that Romney’s tax proposal would give millionaires a broad tax cut at the expense of tax breaks enjoyed by many middle-class families. Romney’s team has disputed the study, saying his tax plan would benefit all US citizens.
In short, just a typical presidential birthday in an election year.