President Barack Obama will be celebrating his 50th birthday Wednesday night at Chicago's classy Aragon Ballroom, and he's looking for a specific type of present for the midlife milestone: campaign contributions.
About 1,000 likely attendees paid between $50 and $35,800 for tickets to the fundraising birthday bash, money that will flow to an account shared by Obama's re-election and campaign the Democratic National Committee called the Obama Victory Fund. Jennifer Hudson, Herbie Hancock and the rock group OK Go will be on hand to provide some entertainment.
The party was nearly called off when it seemed as if Congress might not be able to reach a resolution during the debt eal talks. Republicans still used the trip to slam Obama for traveling to a fundraiser rather than focus on the economy.
"With 9.2 percent unemployment, he could work on creating jobs, but I suppose the White House is thinking he should stick to the part of his job he really likes," Republican National Committee Spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a e-mailed statement.
Obama may not catch the musical act, but he will be addressing the crowd a little after 8 pm. EDT. Before the speech, Obama plans to hold a live-stream video teleconference with volunteers spread out at sites across the country.