Celebration at the White House — an election and birthday
WASHINGTON – It is a celebratory night at the White House this election night, and not just because President George W. Bush learns who will be his successor — it is his wife Laura’s birthday.
The first couple hosted a private dinner with friends and senior staff in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House and Bush gave his wife earrings to celebrate her 62nd birthday, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
The president gave a toast at the start of the dinner thanking everyone for their work and friendship, Perino said. He concluded by saying: “And may God bless whoever wins tonight.”
The group will watch election results in the White House residence as they roll in tonight. Bush, facing record low job approval ratings, has been mostly out of sight during the presidential race.
He participated in numerous closed-door fundraisers around the country and only appearing briefly on three occasions with Republican hopeful John McCain after he clinched his party’s presidential nomination.
While Bush remained secluded in the final days of the campaign, Laura attended a rally in Kentucky on Monday.
“The president believes tonight is a night to appreciate the strength of our country and our democracy, as citizens from all over the country exercised their right to vote today, after a historic campaign,” Perino said. “The president is committed to a transition that is as smooth as possible, a process that has been under way for many months, and as soon as we have a president-elect we’ll be able to do even more on that front.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Bush enters the White House on Sunday after returning from Camp David)