How to Party Like a President — PICTURES

National Journal

What does President Obama want for his birthday this year? As he told a crowd in Florida on Thursday, probably electoral votes — lots of them.

“Winning Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present,” he said.

Today, Obama turns 51. He'll be keeping a low profile, spending his time at Camp David. Next week, however, he'll be in Chicago hosting a birthday party-turned-fundraiser for his reelection campaign.

In the past, presidential birthdays have fluctuated in scale, from John F. Kennedy's historic party-fundraiser where Marilyn Monroe cooed "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," to simple celebrations in the White House.

Below, we've compiled a visual guide to celebrating in presidential style …

 

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Ronald Reagan: In 1983, Reagan was ambushed on his 72nd birthday when his wife Nancy surprised him at the end of a press conference with cake. The sneak attack didn't affect his wit, though. After reporter Sam Donaldson said, "You understand we won't sell out for a piece of cake," Reagan quipped, "Oh, you've sold out for less than that."

 

 

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Franklin Roosevelt: FDR's 52nd birthday set the bar for all future presidential parties. He rented out the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, while 6,000 parties around the country were thrown in his honor. According to Time, the festivities included 52 young girls, "one for each year of the President's life," who mimicked a giant birthday cake by holding electric candles above their heads. In the photo above, artist Howard Chandler Christy paints a poster for the celebration. The canvas depicts America, in the form of a young woman, watching over two kids who look longingly toward the president. 

 

 

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John F. Kennedy: Quite possibly the most famous presidential party ever, JFK celebrated his birthday in 1962 with a fundraiser in New York City that drew 15,000 guests — including Marilyn Monroe, who cooed her now-famous "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," fueling rumors of an affair. The event brought in $1,000,000. Pictured above, Kennedy watches bakers bring in his enormous cake.

 

 

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Bill Clinton: He modeled his 50th birthday celebration after JFK's infamous blowout, throwing a party at Radio City Music Hall in 1996 that raised $12 million for the Democratic Party.

 

 

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Harry Truman: He may not have thrown a party, but Truman's 61st birthday was one for the ages. On that day in 1945, the Allied Forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, ending World War II in Europe.

 

 

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Theodore Roosevelt: The 26th president celebrated his 50th birthday in subdued fashion compared to today's standards. According to The New York Times, Roosevelt spent the day riding "his favorite saddle horse," then had dinner with his immediate family. By 11 p.m., "the White House apparently had sunk into slumber."

 

 

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George W. Bush: In 2006, Bush celebrated his 60th birthday alongside Richard M. Daley (right) Chicago's former mayor, by aptly blowing out his candles at the Chicago Firehouse restaurant.

 

 

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Richard Nixon: On his 61st birthday, President Nixon shares a portion of his cake with his dog King Timahoe.

 

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