Obama celebrates birthday with Helen

Double Treat


US President Barack Obama and veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington on Wednesday. AP

Obama emerged unannounced in the White House briefing room where Thomas sat in the front-row seat reserved in her name. He led the roomful of reporters in singing “Happy Birthday to You,” 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 then he left without taking questions about his own birthday plans or anything else.

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 Constitution says that a person must be a “natural-born citizen” to be eligible for the presidency. The White House said Obama did much of his birthday celebrating over the weekend, hanging out with friends and family at Camp David.

But that didn’t stop some schoolkids 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 to You” for the president, and were heard all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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