“Happy Birthday to Us” for Obama and pressroom doyenne

August 4, 2009

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the White House briefing room on Tuesday to carry a plateful of six cupcakes topped by a birthday candle to Helen ThomasOBAMA/, the veteran journalist with whom he shares an August 4 birthday.

The president, who turned 48, led aides in singing a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You,” to Thomas, who turned 89, and then urged her to make a wish. “You’ve got to blow it out to make it come true,” Obama said. Thomas then blew out the candle.

Thomas, known as a tough questioner of authority while covering 10 U.S. presidents during half a century as a White House correspondent, did not say what she wished for.

Obama jokingly said, “Helen wished for world peace, no prejudice. She and I also had a common birthday wish. She said she hopes for a real healthcare reform bill,” plugging his political agenda. “I will leave it up to you how you want to distribute the cupcakes,” he added.  

The president posed for a smiling picture with Thomas, but left without taking questions.

Thomas spent much of her career as White House correspondent for United Press International and is now a columnist for Hearst.


Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Young


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how is it that when the congressmen are holding a town hall meeting their constituents are going crazy.yet when obama holds a town hall meeting it is like the photo above ,the white house press core swooning,could we dare suggest that the obama is talking to a selected audience?in his town hall meetings?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

My conscious says that ,this is the best occasion to mingle,share happy moments by Mr.Obama with her
He had proved his individuality on his birth day
Good photos,good moments,good sharing,showing inner happiness from Mr.Obama!s smile
Thats why,he is popular among many.

Posted by krishnamurthi ramachandran | Report as abusive

why is it when the president does anything even with the best intentions someone has to ALWAYS put a negative spin on it?!

Posted by Auntie | Report as abusive

An olive branch to the media veteran but does he still trust media after all the twisting and negativity media played on his health care reform? Last press conference, instead of reporting the health care speech, media all of sudden focus on Gates arrest incident, for a entire week – put aside his health care issue which is the main purpose for that TV interview. That is why he is holding town hall meeting one after another – to directly speak the US people and avoid media back out.

Posted by chengzhi | Report as abusive

Don’t forget that it was Obama himself who — with one well-placed soundbyte — managed to maneuver attention away from his health care plan to a meaningless professor and his meaningless tirade against a police officer. Obama is not foolish — he knew full-well the backlash he would create when he criticized the Cambridge police. But that 20-second answer at the end of a 55-minute press conference on health care eclipsed the whole of his selected topic and successfully diverted attention away from a more important, and truly more controversial issue.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive