President Barack Obama celebrates his 51st birthday today in a manner foreign to a man who until recently tried to keep politics out of his private life.
His birthday party will be held at his Chicago home with a group of strangers whose invitations were a contribution to his campaign, The New York Times reports.
The Obamas rarely invite anyone into their White House quarters, and their residence in Chicago has been a sanctum sanctorum where even photographs of its rooms are rare.
Attendees were picked at random from lists of donors, who should keep their expectations low. It's one of four fundraising events Obama will attend in Chicago Saturday. Michelle Obama won't be there and the party will be held in the backyard.
Such celebrations have become increasingly political. Three years ago, the first lady threw the president a private surprise party at Camp David attended by only a few old friends. In 2010, a basketball tournament featuring college and professional players marked the event. Last year, Jennifer Hudson sang "Happy Birthday" at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom.
In coming days no fewer than 1,000 "birthday" events will be held around the country to raise support and money for Obama's re-election efforts.
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