President Obama celebrates birthday in Chicago

CHICAGO – It wasn’t much of a party, just President Barack Obama catching up with some close friends and Oprah Winfrey over dinner in his adopted hometown. His wife and kids were away, but they called to wish him a “Happy Birthday.” His dog, Bo, made the trip, along with an aide to take him for walks. He played cards on the flight from Washington. He got to sleep in his own home.

And that’s how the president celebrated turning 49 on Wednesday, with a relatively low-key overnight stay in Chicago.

That might seem a bit ordinary for the commander in chief, but Obama has only been back to visit Chicago a handful of times since moving to Washington 20 months ago. And while he may have spent the night there without his family, he had plenty of company throughout his big day.

Obama got “Happy Birthday” wishes from AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka when he spoke to the labor group’s executive council Wednesday morning. The audience in the East Room ceremony for 2010 recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal serenaded him. A little girl in his Chicago neighborhood held a sign that was almost as big as her just to say, "Happy 49th Birthday President Barack Obama.”

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