President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, an annual rite of spring that drew some 30,000 parents and kids to frolic on the South Lawn.
Obama, wearing a crisp light-blue-and-white check shirt and khakis in a sea of seasonal pastels, oversaw two of the miniraces, giving the go-ahead and encouraging kids to push their eggs along (with wooden spoons) past the finish line as parents hovered. (Check out the unhappy towheaded child, at about 1:05 in the video, who opts to march off rather than finish after Obama declares another kid the winner.)
The president also read Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" to an enthralled audience of kids and encouraged them to give him their best beast-taming glare. "Don't blink. Don't blink!" he said.
The United States Marine Band played the themes from "E.T.," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show" and a medley from the 1971 version of the film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (though the lyrics of "The Candy Man" referencing covering a sunrise in chocolate and making a lemon pie might clash with the first lady's message about promoting healthy eating for kids), as well as the theme from "Sesame Street."
Costumed characters wandered the lawn—Bugs Bunny, SpongeBob SquarePants, Papa Smurf and Smurfette, Sid the Science Kid, and Scooby-Doo (Shaggy was nowhere to be seen, leading some to speculate that the rumors are true and the Secret Service kept him outside).
The Easter Bunny was there, waving to delighted kids, though his heavy-lidded look suggested he'd been hanging out with Shaggy. If the rumors are true.
Movie stars including Julianne Moore were on hand, as were athletes like tennis great Chris Evert. The White House said it also expected U.S. Olympian figure skater Michelle Kwan and NFL players Brian Orakpo, Ovie Mughelli, Qadry Ismail, Lorenzo Alexander, Derrick Dockery and Antwaan Randle El to attend.
"We are so thrilled that all of you could join us here today. My job is very simple: It is to introduce the powerhouse of the White House, the one truly in charge, as Malia, Sasha and Bo all know—the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama," the president said in welcoming remarks.
"It is a beautiful day, perfect weather. We are so excited to have you all here," said the first lady. "We're going to be over there doing a little egg roll. I think the president is going to try to beat a 3-year-old—which I hope he does not."
Some of the kids played basketball with Obama—with basketballs emblazoned with Obama's picture against the backdrop of an American flag.
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- President Barack Obama
- Michelle Obama
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