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WASHINGTON--President Obama and First Lady Michelle are hosting pals Wednesday night at a Rose Garden birthday bash to mark Obama's 50th--and the First Couple are paying for it themselves.
Included in the Chicago gang at the Rose Garden will be University of Chicago Hospital Vice-President Dr. Eric Whitaker and The Parking Spot President and CEO Marty Nesbitt, who is the treasurer of Obama's 2012 relection campaign.
Coming off the debt ceiling crisis, the White House has not been eager to throw any spotlight on partying--even for a milestone birthday. The Rose Garden party -handled by the White House Social Office--was left off of Obama's official schedule for Wednesday (not that everything is always on it, but this omission seems telling.)
At the end of an interview Wednesday with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi with a few other reporters, I asked her if she was going to the Rose Garden birthday party for Obama--and if she was bringing him a gift.
She is attending and quipped it was the debt ceiling legislation, which Obama signed into law on Tuesday.
A White House official told me Obama will spend the morning working out of the Oval Office; in the afternoon he will be toasted by senior staff in the Blue Room with the family and friends gathering in the evening. Another person confirmed for me it was the Rose Garden. The official also said the Obamas' will pay the tab.
Obama will spend the weekend with close friends and family at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
Last year, Obama marked his 49th birthday in Chicago with pals at the graham elliot restaurant; (the restaurant uses lower case in its name) Oprah Winfrey was among the guests along with Nesbitt, Whitaker and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Obama celebrated his 48th birthday in the White House. He turned 47 during the campaign and started the day in Chicago and then headed to Lansing, Mich.