Tuesday, October 02, 2012

President Obama And First Lady To Mark 20th Wedding Anniversary During Presidential Debate

First Couple will celebrate this Saturday, President says; a look back at their White House anniversaries, and the card/donation project from the Campaign...
UPDATE, Oct. 6:  The First Couple celebrates at Bourbon Steak
UPDATE, Oct. 3: Campaign releases an anniversary video and First Couple send Twitter anniversary wishes
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama mark their twentieth wedding anniversary on Wednesday, Oct. 3.  That's when the first Presidential Debate will be held in Denver, so the Obamas will be delaying their celebration until this coming Saturday, Oct. 6, according to the President.  The landmark anniversary could be their last in the White House, and Mrs. Obama will join her husband at the Debate after attending a campaign rally in Reno, NV. Obama for America, meanwhile, is asking supporters to sign an anniversary card for America's First Lovebirds; it includes the posed photo, above, of an intimate moment over ice cream sundaes.  Signing the card leads to a donation page.

President Obama announced his belated anniversary plans during a recent appearance on The View, as he held his wife's hand and fended off the five opinionated hosts. 

"I like lavishing her with all kinds of attention when she deserves it, and she always deserves it," President Obama said.

The traditional gifts for the twentieth wedding anniversary are platinum, china, or emeralds.   On Saturday as he fetes his wife, the President will be recovering from a post-debate junket through the battleground states of Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia and Ohio.

Mrs. Obama's standard stump speech now includes a long story about falling in love with her husband.  Her remarks to a crowd in Ohio on Tuesday are typical of her romantic story.

"Now, let me just pull you in on a little inside information about me and my husband," Mrs. Obama said.  "Back when I first met Barack, ladies, he had everything going for him...He was handsome--and still is.  Amen!  He was charming, talented, and extremely smart.  But that is not why I married him." 

"What truly made me fall in love with Barack Obama was his character -- you hear me?  It was his character.  It was his decency, his honesty.  It was his compassion and conviction."

Past anniversary celebrations...
Mr. Obama proposed to Michelle Robinson in 1991 over dessert at Chicago eatery Gordon's, and the First Couple's previous White House anniversary celebrations have included visits to upscale Washington, DC-area restaurants that focus on local and artisanal foods.  In 2011, the President and Mrs. Obama celebrated their 19th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia.  Chef/owner Cathal Armstrong has worked with Mrs. Obama on the Let's Move! campaign.  (Above:  The First Couple three months after moving into the White House)

The Obamas' 18th anniversary celebration in 2010 involved no dining outing that is on the record.

During their first year in the White House, the President and Mrs. Obama marked their 17th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, with dinner at Washington, DC's Blue Duck Tavern.   The award-winning tavern-style restaurant features American cooking, with a special focus on roasting, braising, preserving and smoking, in an open kitchen that has DC's first Molteni range.

Mrs. Obama has told the story of her husband's marriage proposal, and said she spent their time at the dinner lecturing Mr. Obama about "getting serious." Then dessert came, and there was a ring box on the side of the plate. Mrs. Obama said that she was "shocked and thrilled," and also that she has absolutely no recollection of what exactly the dessert was that night.

The First Couple got married on Oct. 3, 1992, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. officiated; the First Lady's brother, Craig Robinson, walked her down the aisle. The reception was held at the South Shore Cultural Center.   Stevie Wonder's song "You and I" was their wedding song. (Above:  The exhausted newlyweds at their reception)

"I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married," President Obama told People magazine in 2009. "The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."

Wonder was at the White House in August of 2011, where he led the celebrity-filled crowd celebrating President Obama's 50th birthday in a jazzy rendition of "Happy Birthday."

The anniversary card campaign...
Senior strategist David Axelrod sent an email on Tuesday urging supporters to sign the Campaing's anniversary card for the President and First Lady.  Signing, of course, leads to a donation page.  Those who don't donate get an immediate follow-up email from OFA, asking if you'd like to "leave a note" for the First Couple, which also leads to a donation page.

Axelrod's email had the subject line "I suppose you can't plan everything."

The text:


My friends Barack and Michelle Obama will have been married 20 years exactly this Wednesday.

That's also the day that Barack will face off with Mitt Romney for the very first presidential debate of this election.

I suppose you can't plan everything -- even when you're president of the United States.

But there's something we can all do to help send them off into the last month of this election feeling good:

Add your name and well-wishes to a 20th anniversary card for Barack and Michelle.

This race will be close until the very end, and tomorrow will be an important day for the campaign.

But let's take a moment to show Barack and Michelle that we wish them well in life, not just in politics.

Add your name to the card today:


Then, let's dig in and get ready for the next 35 days.



The follow-up email had the subject line "Thanks for adding your name.  Want to leave a note?"

The text:


Thanks for signing the anniversary card for the President and First Lady. Want to wish them well, or good luck for the last month of this campaign, in your own words?

Add a personal note to the card here:


Thanks again,

Obama for America


*Card photo images from Obama for America; Red Room photo by Pete Souza/White House; wedding photo is archival