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Obama marks birthday with golf, Republican mockery

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about taxes, Friday, August 3, 2012, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Barack Obama marked his 51st birthday Saturday with a round of golf, and a volley of mockery with his Republican foes as November’s election looms.

Obama, born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Hawaii, toured the links at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, and then was due to head to the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland.

The Republican National Committee offered supporters the chance to send a mocking online birthday card to Obama, taking shots at the president’s foreign policy and past remarks.

“Here’s to four more years of you telling people I’m not a threat,” said the text of one card, superimposed over a picture of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. A picture of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin carried the slogan, “After the election, you are flexible for me. I flex for your birthday.”

That was a reference to a comment that Obama made when he met with former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul earlier this year and told him to tell Putin he could be more flexible on issues like missile defense after the election.

First Lady Michelle Obama also used Obama’s special day for a bit of politics, texting and emailing supporters to ask them to sign an online birthday card for the president.

“The election is only going to get tougher, so I know it would mean a lot to Barack to know he has your support on his birthday,” the first lady wrote.

Obama told supporters in Florida Thursday that he would like victory in November in the Sunshine State to mark his birthday. A “win in Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present,” he said.

Obama won the state in 2008 in his election victory over Republican nominee John McCain but he appears to be in for a tougher fight this time around, against Mitt Romney, partly due to the foreclosure crisis that has savaged the state’s economy.

Obama is planning to celebrate his birthday a week late, on Aug. 12, with a fundraiser for supporters at his family home on the South Side of Chicago.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 06, 2012, on page 10.

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