Rapper Jay-Z, actor Tom Hanks and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among those who joined President Barack Obama’s longtime friends to celebrate his 50th birthday with a barbeque bash at the White House.
After sending the White House press corps home early at 4 p.m., the president welcomed politicos, celebrities, donors and close friends for dinner in the Rose Garden and music in the East Room, including a medley by Stevie Wonder that ended in “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” according to an exclusive in Friday’s POLITICO Playbook.
The evening began with chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta and salad in the Rose Garden, and then four kinds of pie: apple, peach, huckleberry and cherry. At the end of the dinner, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha presented the president with a cake, before the party moved indoors.
In the East Room, performers included R&B singer Ledisi, jazz musician Herbie Hancock and Wonder. The president encouraged everyone to dance – and they did. Lots of kids were on hand and they stole the show as they danced in center of the East Room.
Celebrities on hand included Jay-Z, Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, basketball stars Charles Barkley and Grant Hill, comedian Chris Rock, actor Hill Harper and Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King. (Last year, Obama celebrated his birthday with a small dinner with friends, including Winfrey, while his wife and kids were on vacation.)
Members of the cabinet on hand included Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
From Capitol Hill: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Former DNC chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine — now a Senate candidate — was there, as was Patrick Gaspard, the DNC’s executive director. Al Sharpton and UBS Investment Bank President Robert Wolf were also there.
Many White House and campaign staffers – past and present – were on hand, including former chief of staff and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and his successor Bill Daley, former press secretary Robert Gibbs, advisors Valerie Jarrett, David Plouffe and David Axelrod. Plus: Anita Dunn and Bob Bauer, Denis McDonough, Michael Strautmanis, Pete Rouse, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Tina Tchen, White House chef Sam Kass, Julianna Smoot, Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whitaker, Linda Douglass, and many more.
Also on hand: plenty of Chicago and law school friends, and their kids.
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