Chicago friends fly in for President's milestone...lawmakers invited, too...
UPDATE: A full post with exclusive details IS HERE
As first reported here this morning, jazz great Herbie Hancock and his ensemble are playing for President Obama's private White House 50th birthday bash this evening, which will be in the Rose Garden. The band is doing sound check at the White House right now, while the chefs are firing up the outdoor BBQ grills, as can be seen from the photo, above. Outdoor cooking at the White House is typically done in the paved area that's below the North Portico steps and next to the press briefing room, and my colleague Lynn Sweet of Chicago Sun-Times snapped the shot, above, of one of the assistant chefs in action.
Sweet also got further details about the President's party: The President's closest Chicago pals will be on hand to celebrate, including 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. Both dined with the President on his birthday last year, in Chicago at graham elliot restaurant. Included in the party were Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will also be attending the White House shindig, she told Sweet after a press availability this morning. President Obama's friends, family and senior staff will toast him in the Blue Room before the party. As noted in this morning's post, daughter Malia will be returning from summer camp for the milestone celebration, and Mrs. Marian Robinson, the First Lady's mother, and Obama family friend Eleanor "Mama Kaye" Wilson, the girls' god-mother, flew to Washington with the President aboard Air Force One last night.
The President and Mrs. Obama will be picking up the tab for the White House party. The First Family will head to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland this weekend, after a very very busy month for the President. Later this month they will be going to Martha's Vineyard for an extended vacation.
*Photo by Lynn Sweet