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President Obama was low-key about his 51st birthday Saturday, playing a round of gold while looking forward to a quiet weekend at Camp David with his family. MSNBC talks to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who characterizes the fact that Obama is largely keeping out of sight as pretty common for presidents during an election year. “If there’s ever a year he’s not gonna showboat, it would be this one,” Brinkley said.
Yet that doesn’t mean he’s not going to milk his birthday. Next weekend, Obama will be holding several birthday-themed fundraisers in Chicago, including one in his family’s home, reports the Associated Press. The campaign offered up a chance to win tickets to the party in order to push small donors to open their wallets. In one e-mail, Obama warned his birthday “could be the last one I celebrate as president of the United States.”
Obama’s party/fundraiser at his home on Aug. 12 will be a particularly significant milestone because of the location, points out the New York Times. The president and first lady have long kept a zone of privacy around their Chicago home, and the party “raises questions about how far the Obamas will go in mortgaging their personal appeal for political gain in the months ahead.”
Republicans have fired back, with one party e-mail asking, “Is it possible to celebrate an occasion without a fundraiser?” reports USA Today. Republicans also used the opportunity for some gag gifts. The Republican National Committee said it delivered a cake to the Democratic National Committee that had a frosted message: “Happy birthday Mr. President, you didn’t bake this,” reports CNN.