In the first voter referendum on ObamaCare, Missourians on Tuesday overwhelmingly (by 71 to 29 percent) backed Proposition C which called upon the state to enact a statute to “deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance,” an outcome the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described as “rebuking President Barack Obama's administration.” On Wednesday night, however, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts skipped the bad news for President Obama – yet all found time to celebrate his 49th birthday.
(The Missouri repudiation of a central tenet of ObamaCare came a day after another setback for ObamaCare which the newscasts also ignored: A federal district judge in Richmond rejected the Obama administration’s quest to block Virginia’s lawsuit challenging Congress’ jurisdiction to mandate individuals buy health insurance.)
“At the White House today, they sang to the President,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer touted over a graphic which declared it Obama’s “Big Day.” Viewers were treated to one stanza of “Happy birthday to you!” before Sawyer related: “He says we've watched him go gray, and the photographs since the campaign do show a little speckle in that hair.”
With his wife and one daughter in Spain and the other daughter at camp, “the President [is] flying solo tonight, heading to Chicago to spend his 49th birthday as a bachelor, with only ‘First Dog’ Bo to keep him company,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie sulked, though “Mr. Obama did get a serenade from winners of citizen medals he handed out at the White House today.”
After reciting Michelle Obama’s extravagant resort destination in Spain, Guthrie ended on a heartwarming note:
And we can report tonight that the President got two calls today. Mrs. Obama and Sasha called from Spain, and Malia, who's on that summer camp sleep-away camp for a few weeks, gets just one call during that time at camp. She saved it for today and called her father to wish him happy birthday.
From the Wednesday night, August 4 newscasts:
ABC’s Word News:
DIANE SAWYER: At the White House today, they sang to the President.
VIDEO OF GROUP: Happy birthday to you!
SAWYER: It is his birthday. He is now 49. He says we've watched him go gray, and the photographs since the campaign do show a little speckle in that hair. He is going to Chicago alone tonight to dine with friends. His oldest daughter is away at summer camp. His wife and youngest daughter Sasha have traveled to a resort in Spain with a group of friends from Chicago, moms and daughters.
CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: President Obama is spending the night in his own home for a change. He flew to Chicago today to celebrate his 49th birthday, but only first dog Bo went with him. Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha are on vacation in Spain. Malia is away at camp. So the President planned a birthday dinner with friends.
NBC Nightly News:
LESTER HOLT: President Obama is in his hometown of Chicago tonight. It's his 49th birthday, but it's kind of an unusual one. His family is nowhere in sight. NBC News White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie is traveling with the President and joins us from the Windy City tonight. Savannah, good evening.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Good evening, Lester. Well, the President is here in Chicago for some Democratic Party fundraising and an event at a Ford plant tomorrow, but he will have a birthday dinner with friends tonight. No family around, though. Daughter Malia is at summer sleep-away camp, and the First Lady and daughter Sasha are on a lavish trip to Spain. The President flying solo tonight, heading to Chicago to spend his 49th birthday as a bachelor, with only "First Dog" Bo to keep him company. Mr. Obama did get a serenade from winners of citizen medals he handed out at the White House today. But the union group he addressed earlier in the day did not let him eat cake.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm a little disappointed there wasn't a cake, though. I'm going to have to talk to the Secret Service about that.
RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO: You got to talk to those guys because they nixed the cake.
OBAMA: They're probably eating it right now.
TRUMKA: They are.
GUTHRIE: Right now Mrs. Obama and younger daughter Sasha are a world away, on a five-day, mother-daughter vacation with a group of friends in the coastal resort town of Marbella, Spain. The family is staying at the luxury Ritz Carlton retreat Villa Padierna which features five restaurants, a spa and private beach. All the amenities expected of a five-star hotel favored by celebrities, including privacy.
KATE MAXWELL, CONDE NAST TRAVELER: So we understand the Obamas have booked 30 rooms. Suites go up to $6500 a night, so they're looking at a pretty hefty bill at the end of the four days they're going to spend there.
GUTHRIE: The Obamas will pay their own way, but the cost of Mrs. Obama's traveling staff and security detail will be borne by American taxpayers. And the money she spends will boost the Spanish economy – something the White House declined to get into today.
ROBERT GIBBS: She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip.
GUTHRIE: A European vacation for a First Lady is not unprecedented, nor is sniping about it.
MYRA GUTIN, FIRST LADY HISTORIAN: Jacqueline Kennedy was criticized for going to Greece and to Italy, so certainly Michelle Obama, the criticism of Michelle Obama would not be a first.
GUTHRIE: Well, the First Family also plans to spend a weekend in the Gulf Coast this month as well as spend 10 days on Martha's Vineyard.
And we can report tonight that the President got two calls today. Mrs. Obama and Sasha called from Spain, and Malia, who's on that summer camp sleep-away camp for a few weeks, gets just one call during that time at camp. She saved it for today and called her father to wish him happy birthday, Lester.