(Foto: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Obama is turning 51 on Saturday, with just three months until Election Day. So he will celebrate in true political fashion: spending “downtime,” as an e-mail invitation put it, at a party at his Chicago home with a bunch of strangers who made campaign donations to be there.
That party, on Aug. 12, will mark another milestone in the transformation of the president and his wife, who once tried to limit the role of politics in their lives and now seem to be increasingly giving themselves over to it. Even some longtime Obama fund-raisers expressed surprise over the party’s site: the Obamas have limited their schmoozing hours in Washington, sequester themselves while on vacation and seldom invite many outsiders into the White House living quarters. Until now, they have kept their Chicago home mostly sacrosanct, allowing only limited photographs of the interior.
(...) A warning to this month’s lucky winner: The celebration at the Obama home will be considerably less cozy than the e-mailed invitations suggest. The event is not a social gathering; it is one of four fund-raisers that Mr. Obama will race through that day in Chicago. Despite a gracious invitation that the first lady e-mailed to supporters, she is not planning to attend, a campaign official said.
Donors may dream of tinkling the keys on the family piano or leafing through private photos, but much of the action will take place in the backyard. The finalists will be chosen at random, but the contest winners will be selected as reality show contestants are, to make sure their stories fit.
Even the promise of being allowed in the Obamas’ house is a bit of a mirage: the first family rarely spends nights there anymore, and many Chicago friends predict they will never move back in.