At a campaign event at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., on Thursday, Mr. Obama said, “I’m going to be 51 on Saturday — 51 — but Michelle says I look 50,” to which the supporters responded by singing “Happy Birthday.” The president added, “If I had known you guys were going to sing, we would have had a cake, and then I would have blown out the candle. I would have made a wish that probably would have had to do with electoral votes. A win in Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present.” According to a Rasmussen Reports poll in July, Mr. Obama is losing to Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State, 46 to 45 percent.
The Obamas aren’t above asking for cash. Michelle Obama sent an email appeal in July offering regular people the chance to be in a raffle to hang out with the high-dollar donors at an Aug. 12 party — for a donation. “Barack turns 51 next month, and there will be a little celebration at our house in Chicago,” she wrote. “We’d like to give grassroots supporters an opportunity to join in the fun.”
A week later, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. followed up on the raffle, describing the party like a neighborhood barbecue: “In the middle of a tough election, it’s important to pause on occasion and take some time with friends.” The president joined in the begging on July 26. “My upcoming birthday next week 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,” he wrote, asking for campaign dough.
The Republican National Committee created a mocking website with pretend birthday cards. Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue magazine and a big fundraiser for Mr. Obama, is pictured with the note, “The 1 percent of Americans who read my magazine wish you a happy birthday.” Another says, “We threw you a surprise party but you never showed up. — Jobs Council.” Actor George Clooney, who held a fundraiser that raked in $15 million for Mr. Obama in May, is shown saying, “Happy birthday, party at my house again?”
Mr. Obama generally uses his birthdays to hobnob with the rich and famous. Last year for his 50th, he threw a massive Hollywood blowout in the White House, which included doing the electric slide in the East Room, live music from Stevie Wonder and ended with barefoot dancing in the Rose Garden. Guests were celebrity donors, including actor Chris Rock, movie star Tom Hanks, basketball player Grant Hill and CBS host Gayle King.
His 49th birthday also included pro basketball players. Asked by ESPN in July whether players like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul would be back this year, Mr. Obama said, “They need to focus on the Olympics.”
With unemployment up and economic growth down, Mr. Obama has a lot of wishes to make if he hopes to throw his 52nd birthday bash at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.