WASHINGTON — President Obama celebrated his 51st birthday Saturday with a round of golf and plans for a quiet weekend at Camp David, taking a break from campaigning.
Obama played golf with friends and aides at Andrews Air Force Base before heading to the presidential getaway.
He returns to campaign mode soon enough, with fundraisers in Connecticut on Monday and rallies in Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday.
Next weekend, he will hold several birthday-themed fund-raisers in Chicago, including one at his home. Obama’s campaign used the event to drum up small-dollar donations, offering two winners the chance to attend the fund-raiser at Obama’s home.
In an e-mail to supporters, Obama warned that this birthday ‘‘could be the last one I celebrate as president of the United States, but that’s not up to me — it’s up to you.’’ Obama’s team has warned that he could be outspent by Republicans and Mitt Romney.
Obama got some early birthday wishes on Thursday during a rally in Florida, when supporters serenaded him with ‘‘Happy Birthday.’’ The president joked that his birthday wishes ‘‘probably would have to do with electoral votes. Winning Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present.’’
Republicans offered tongue-in-cheek birthday greetings. The Republican National Committee delivered a cake to their counterparts at the Democratic National Committee on Friday featuring a picture of a smiling Obama next to the words, ‘‘You didn’t bake this.’’
The inscription was a reference to a line from an Obama speech last month in which he said, ‘‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.’’ Romney has seized upon the line to question Obama’s commitment to small business while Obama and Democrats have said the quote was taken out of context.
DNC officials promptly sent the cake back to RNC headquarters, along with a copy of a recent report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that found that Romney’s tax proposal would give millionaires a broad tax cut at the expense of tax breaks enjoyed by many middle-class families. Romney’s team has disputed the study, saying his tax plan would benefit all Americans.
In short, just a typical presidential birthday in an election year.
GOP convention comes at height of hurricane season
TAMPA — The Republican National Convention and the peak of hurricane season collide in Tampa this month. And though planners are banking on years of data that a major storm won’t hit, they also have laid out worse-case scenarios that include canceling if it is clear the 70,000 expected delegates, officials, journalists, and protesters would be in danger.
Tampa is one of the places in the region most vulnerable to storm surge. In a major hurricane, floodwaters could reach some 3 miles inland — Tampa is on a bay, not directly on the Gulf of Mexico — and storm surge could reach as much as 17 feet. The Tampa Bay Times Forum, the convention’s home, is in an area that would be required to evacuate if winds exceeded 96 miles per hour.
But that doesn’t seem likely, say experts, whose studies determined storms usually don’t hit Florida’s Gulf coast at the end of August.
More of a worry is that people will suffer problems during the hot and steamy summer.
‘‘It is brutally hot down here,’’ said Steve Huard, spokesman for Hillsborough County Health Department. ‘‘We’re trying to do everything we can to keep people from passing out.’’
In May, Florida officials held a four-day mock hurricane drill. Officials laid out a worst-case scenario for the emergency planners: what if a Category 3 storm struck Tampa?
Under that scenario, state leaders canceled the convention. RNC organizers have been asked repeatedly to talk about what will happen if a hurricane threatens the convention. While they acknowledge the possibility, they are close-mouthed about any evacuation plans.
Political conventions have been held before in cities where hurricanes and the heat are summertime threats, though none has been in Florida for 40 years.
Forecasters say that fortunately, most Gulf storms emerge earlier or later in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The last major storm to hit Florida’s west coast was Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm in 2004.