Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Obamas Join Hugh Jackman To Celebrate 'Christmas In Washington'

Charity fundraising concert features Charles Barkley and performances by Sheryl Crow, Backstreet Boys, Anna Kendrick, Janelle Monae, Pat Monahan...
Washington, DC - President Barack Obama and the First Family on Sunday evening joined a celebrity lineup for the taping of TNT's Christmas in Washington, an annual concert benefiting the Children's National Medical Center.  Hosted by singer/actor Hugh Jackman, the show was in the cavernous atrium of the National Building Museum, decorated with holiday glitter. 

"I want to thank our host, Hugh Jackman, for keeping our safety in mind and leaving Wolverine’s claws at home," President Obama said.  "It can’t be easy to wrap presents with those things...Good for carving the 'roast beast,' though."  

Singing performances were by the Backstreet Boys, marking their 20th reunion this year, Sheryl Crow, Janelle Monae, Anna Kendrick and lead singer from Train, Pat Monahan.  Retired NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, an analyst for TNT's Inside the NBA, made a special appearance.  

After noting that Christmas is a "time for warmth of family and friends," Jackman pointed out that he is the first Australian to host the show.

"Even TNT is outsourcing these days," Jackman joked, and said he wasn't sure what to get the Obamas, but decided on a "gift that speaks to the true meaning of Christmas: a box set of all seven X-Men and Wolverine movies."

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama, clad in a sparkling silver top and skirt, and First Daughters Malia and Sasha were joined for a picture in front of the enormous Christmas tree by five children clad as elves, complete with pointy shoes, who are patients at the Children's National Medical Center: Dale and Delaney Crawford, four-year-old twins, Rocco Rueda, who turns six next month, Brooke Rosenberg, five, and Elijah Jaden Young, age four.

"Is it kinda hard to walk in those shoes?" the President joked as the elves arrived.

"Hey, you guys, you going to help us?" Mrs. Obama asked.  The elves dutifully assisted the first Family in placing a large gift box beneath the tree.

"Good job, elves," the President said. "Nice job."  

President Obama briefly told the story of the season:  "The sacred birth of Jesus Christ was God's gift to man on earth.  And through his example, he taught us to love the lord and love our neighbors as we love ourselves," he said.

"...No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it's a message of hope and devotion that can unite all of us this holiday season, and compel all of us to reach out and help our less fortunate citizens-- our poor, our sick, or neighbors in need-- and to serve those who sacrifice so much on our behalf."

"That's why this celebration benefits the Children's National Medical Center, and all the children whose lives they touch and save, including all the little elves who are here tonight."

The President and First Family joined the stars on stage for the traditional finish, a rousing rendition of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" which featured white-clad trumpeters lining the central aisle of the hall.

Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, was in the audience but did not join the First Family onstage.

The concert will air on TNT on Dec. 20 at 8 PM ET, as the First Family is arriving in Hawaii for their Christmas vacation.  

Mrs. Obama will visit Children's National Medical Center on Monday to meet with children and read them a story in the hospital's atrium.

The President and First Family departed the National Building Museum at 7:48 by motorcade, and were back at the White House at 7:55 PM.

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*Pool photos