“Happy Birthday to Us” for Obama and pressroom doyenne
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 Thomas, 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