Wednesday, August 04, 2010

First Lady Sends International Birthday Greetings

POTUS' solo birthday: Phone calls from family; "heartfelt" gift from Secret Service agents
President Obama was without his wife and daughters in Washington, DC today as he marked his 49th birthday. But he received birthday wishes by phone from First Lady Michelle Obama and both his daughters, according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"Needless to say both those calls were the highlights of his day,” Gibbs said.

Mrs. Obama and daughter Sasha, 9, began their private vacation in Marbella, Spain this morning,; they're staying at the posh Hotel Villa Padierna, and called around lunchtime, as did daughter Malia, 12, who is away at summer camp at an undisclosed location. (Above: Mrs. Obama in Marbella today)

Gibbs gave his birthday greeting report to the press pool accompanying President Obama to Chicago aboard Air Force 1 in the afternoon, and he noted that Malia only gets one phone call the entire time she's away at camp.

“She used that phone call to...wish her dad a Happy Birthday," Gibbs said.

The calls came amidst a very busy day that included the President's speech to the AFL-CIO and an award ceremony at the White House for the Citizen's Medal. UPDATE: The President's birthday dinner was at the graham elliot restaurant. First Dog Bo accompanied the President to Chicago, too.

Top secret cargo...
Gibbs also said that the President received a special birthday present from his Secret Service detail--which in keeping with their name, is Top Secret.

“He mentioned to me, and I won’t get real specific, but I asked him if he got any special gifts,” Gibbs said. “The Secret Service detail got him a nice gift. We don’t want to get into specifics on what it is but it was a heartfelt gift.”

The President played cards on the way to Chicago, Gibbs said. Also aboard AF1: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Patrick Gaspard. AF1 was wheels down at 4:58 p.m. local time in a rainy Chicago, where the President was met at O'Hare airport by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley, and Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley . He was given a number of birthday gifts; in the photo, above, that's the President retrieveing one that was dropped on the runway. A spokesman from Gov. Quinn's office told Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet that the gift is a pair of State of Illinois cuff links.

*Getty photos