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White House was her beat before Obama was born

world Updated: Aug 05, 2009 13:24 IST

President Barack Obama celebrated his 48th birthday singing Happy Birthday to himself and a veteran scribe who began reporting from the White House in 1960 - the year before he was born.

Sharing a birthday with reporter Helen Thomas who has covered eight presidents starting with John F Kennedy, Obama made a surprise appearance in the briefing room carrying six candlelit cupcakes and leading the press corps in singing Happy Birthday.

As it was his own birthday as well, the two received birthday wishes from the reporters who still used the opportunity to throw some serious questions at the president, but he ignored them.

When Thomas was asked what she wanted for her birthday, the president stepped in and answered for her. "Helen wished for world peace, no prejudice and she and I share a common birthday wish -- she said she hopes for a real healthcare reform bill."

But one quick-thinking reporter immediately asked the question: "Is that single-payer?" Obama ignored that question too.

Birthday or not, the so-called "Birthers", who allege that Obama was not born on US soil and thus is not eligible to be president of the US, just would not give up. They added a little more fuel to the controversy by suggesting Tuesday was not in fact his birthday.

According to so-called "Birther Queen" Orly Taitz, the mainstream media has conspired with the White House to "hoodwink" the American people into believing that the president was born Aug 4.

"It's a very clever tactic, because no one wants to tell someone that they're not eligible to be president when it's their special day," she said.

In a sign that the Birther movement has its followers too, a new poll shows that 50 percent of Republicans believe that President Obama is actually still 47.

"Lying about where you were born is one thing, but lying about when you were born is unforgivable," Taitz said.

She added that it was "very interesting" that Obama had dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Kenya, remarking, "She wouldn't be there to find certain documents and shove them down her pants, would she?"