Obama Throws a Backyard Party for the Fourth
By Washington Post Staff
President Obama celebrated his first Fourth of July at the White House with a festive backyard party that included games, an all-American menu of hot dogs and hamburgers, and a salute to U.S. servicemen and women.
Speaking from a balcony with 22 armed forces members behind him and his family by his side, according to a pool report, Obama thanked the military, noting the recent handover of security in Iraq's cities. "Because of what you did," he said, "a sovereign and united Iraq has taken control of its own destiny."
The president also mentioned the day's other significance for his family: It was daughter Malia's 11th birthday. Malia "is just thrilled that you are all here," Obama said. "When she was young, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her. I'm not sure she buys that" now.
The president likened the White House bash to parties in "backyards ... all across America." There was volleyball, face-painting and an Uncle Sam on stilts, and the fare included watermelon, potato salad and ice cream. Among the guests were members of all the military branches as well as senior administration officials.
The White House streamed live video of the evening's USO concert, featuring the Foo Fighters, Michelle Branch and Jimmy Fallon, on its Web site.
Posted at 10:44 PM ET on Jul 4, 2009
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