- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fresh from concluding contentious talks with Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit, President Obama will fly to Chicago Wednesday to celebrate his 50th birthday at a fundraiser where tea-party activists plan a protest.

Mr. Obama’s birthday is actually Thursday — he was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, as his birth certificate attests. The president will celebrate the half-century mark a day early at two events hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

One glitzy party will take place at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, with a concert featuring Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson. Attend will pay anywhere from $50 to $35,800 a person, with the proceeds to be split between the Obama reelection campaign and the DNC. Mr. Obama’s remarks from the party will be beamed into satellite parties being held by supporters around the country.

Also waiting for Mr. Obama outside the ballroom will be tea-party activists holding a “jobs bash” to call attention to the weak economy and what they view as the president’s failed leadership. It’s being organized by William J. Kelly of Chicago, who writes a tea-party report that appears in The Washington Times and other publications.

“All of my friends are out of work,” Mr. Kelly said. “The president is out here trying to raise money to get reelected, and we want real Americans to have jobs.”

The owner of a television production company, Mr. Kelly said his event will be a jobs fair for unemployed Chicagoans.

“It just happens to be right across the street from the president’s birthday bash,” he said. “So we’ll head over to the president’s party to see if any of his rich donors are hiring.”

While the deficit-reduction negotiations with Congress dragged on, there was some discussion that Mr. Obama might miss his birthday celebrations. He canceled a planned trip to the West Coast, as well as two fundraisers that were set for Washington last week. In the second quarter of this year, Mr. Obama raised a record $86 million for his campaign and the DNC.

The president signed the debt legislation into law Tuesday afternoon, and still plans to fly to Chicago Wednesday.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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