Obama, Helen Thomas celebrate birthdays

Aug. 4, 2009 at 6:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and Helen Thomas, dean of the White House Press Corps, celebrated their birthdays Tuesday in the White House press room.

Thomas, now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, was born Aug. 4, 1920. Obama arrived 41 years later when Thomas was already covering the White House for United Press International.

Reporters sang "Happy Birthday," cupcakes were passed around and Obama gave Thomas a birthday kiss on the cheek, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Obama stepped in when Thomas was asked about her birthday wish.

"She and I share a common birthday wish," he said. "She said she hopes for a real healthcare reform bill."

Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been quiet about other birthday plans, suggesting he will be spending as much time as he can spare with his family. His schedule for the day included briefings, meetings with the national commander of the American Legion, Vice President Joseph Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and lunch with the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Obama also got a happy-birthday phone call from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. But their conversation also dealt with more serious matters. The presidents discussed the situation in Georgia and the need to decrease tensions in the region.

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