Debt talks rain on Obama 50th birthday parade

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 25, 2011 10:28 AM
Debt talks rain on Obama 50th birthday parade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rancorous negotiations with congressional Republicans over how best to deal with the U.S. budget deficit may keep President Barack Obama away from his own 50th birthday party in Chicago next month.

Obama has canceled a series of campaign fundraisers this month to stay in Washington for the tense negotiations that have angered the U.S. public, worried financial markets and raised fears of a first-ever U.S. debt default.

He also will not attend a birthday bash in Chicago on August 3 if there is not a deal, a campaign official said on Monday.

"The president will not attend the event in Chicago if negotiations are ongoing," the official said.

Obama turns 50 on August 4, and the Democratic president has planned events in his hometown on August 3 to raise money for his 2012 re-election campaign, which the Chicago Sun-Times had reported were to include a birthday concert with celebrity performances and dinner with the president.

Tickets for the events ranged from $50 a person to $35,800 a couple.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have both canceled fundraisers this month that would have raised millions of dollars for their re-election war chest, the campaign official said.

Obama canceled a planned trip to California and Seattle, put off a fundraiser in New York and will not appear at two events in Washington that were set for Monday. Biden will substitute for Obama at one event; the other was canceled.

Biden was supposed to travel to Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas for fundraisers.

Obama's last campaign fundraiser was on June 30 in Pennsylvania.

Obama reported raising $86 million in the quarter ended on June 30, far eclipsing the money raised by any of the Republicans vying for their party's nomination to compete against him in the 2012 president election.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jackie Frank)