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Obama wants Florida for his birthday

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AP

President Barack Obama greets people outside Lechonera El Barrio, a local restaurant in Orlando.

Orlando, Florida -

He's got an iconic personal plane, a fortress-on-wheels armoured car and lives in a historic home: so what do you get the President of the United States for his birthday?

How about the state of Florida?

President Barack Obama told supporters on Thursday he would settle for a victory in the Sunshine State in November's election, as he gears up to celebrate his 51st birthday this weekend.

“I'm going to be 51 on Saturday, 51,” the graying president told supporters as he stumped in Orlando, epicentre of his political battle with Republican Mitt Romney in America's largest swing state.

“Michelle says I look 50. So that's not bad,” Obama said, as the crowd broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

“Now, if I'd known you guys were gonna sing, we would have had a cake. And then I would have blown out the candles. I would have made a wish that probably would have to do with electoral votes.

“(A) win in Florida wouldn't be a bad birthday present.”

Obama won Florida in 2008 in his election victory over Republican nominee John McCain but he appears to be in for a tougher fight this time around, partly due to the foreclosure crisis that has savaged the state economy.

Still, a new poll by Quinnipiac University for CBS News and the New York Times released this week showed him in surprisingly good shape in the state, leading Romney by 51 to 45 percent.

Obama's looming birthday did not escape his foes in the Republican National Committee, who offered the president's detractors the chance to send him an electronic birthday card with an unkind message.

“Mr President, I couldn't afford to get you a gift, so here is the shirt off my back,” said one sample card at the site BaracksBirthdayCards.com, signed “- Unemployed.”

“I wish President Obama a Happy Birthday and hope he has a wonderful 51st,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

“President Obama has had a rough year worrying about his reelection, having to spend all his time jetting around the country raising money with the likes of Anna Wintour and George Clooney and not meeting with his jobs council.

“So even though he didn't build this website, we thought he'd enjoy the birthday wishes.”

Obama is planning to celebrate his birthday a week late, on August 12, with a fundraiser for supporters at his family home on the South Side of Chicago. - Sapa-AFP


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