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Obama's birthday a fundraising opportunity for him -- and Romney

August 04, 2012|By Maeve Reston

President Obama turns 51 on Saturday, and if there’s anything we’ve learned about the 2012 presidential campaign, it’s that there’s no occasion too insignificant to provide fodder for a fundraising email that can add names to both campaigns’ donor lists.

First Lady Michelle Obama got in on the action back in mid-July, teasing her husband about his gray hairs and inviting supporters to donate $3 in order to be eligible to join Obama at his birthday party at their Chicago home. “Donate whatever you can today, and you’ll be automatically entered to get your name added to the guest list,” she wrote in an email blasted to supporters. She said the president’s birthday would be one of his “last opportunities” for “a little downtime” before the election.

The president sent his own birthday missive last week – subject line “Hey” – inviting others to join in the contest, with the not-so-subtle hint that his birthday “could be the last one I celebrate as President of the United States.” “That’s not up to me – it’s up to you,” he wrote.   

On the other side of the aisle, the Republican National Committee had its own fun with the president’s birthday by inviting all Obama detractors to send the president a birthday card after choosing from a variety of not so pleasant messages:

“Mr. President. I couldn’t afford to get you a gift so here is the shirt off my back,” one said, signed “unemployed.”

“One candle for each dollar you added to the national debt? 5,300,000,000,000 candles,” another read.

A few other cards went with pictures of celebrities who have hosted fundraisers for Obama, including actor George Clooney and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who appeared on a card saying “The 1% of Americans who read my magazine wish you a Happy Birthday.” 

But there was a catch. After clicking through to send the card, there was a plea from the RNC on the next screen above the colored balloons: “Please consider a donation to change America’s direction!”

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