As they feted Obama’s 50th with a custom cake and one fancy “fascinator,” presidential supporters shrugged off an unwelcome birthday present—the tanking stock market that erased all of this year’s gains in one day.
Thursday saw a one-day drop of over 4 percent in the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes, the worst day on Wall Street in two years. The plummeting of stocks happened to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the birth of Barack Obama, whose reelection may depend on winning voter confidence despite a struggling economy.
The market drop was the latest development in a rough week for the president. Although he signed a deal to raise the debt ceiling before the Tuesday deadline-for-catastrophe, he may have lost the support of some of his liberal base in doing so. Many on the left complained that he caved to the Republican party by agreeing to a cuts-only deficit reduction plan that could shatter the safety net or prevent the country from staving off a renewed recession by creating jobs.
But the dozen die-hard Democrats who showed up for a birthday party in his honor at Fort Nathan Hale on Woodward Avenue Thursday evening had a sunnier outlook—and plan to work to see that Obama is reelected to a second term next year. The party was one of many held across the country by chapters of Organizing for America, the netroots-built organization that grew out of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Under a wooden pavilion at the East Shore Park, past and future Obama volunteers gathered at picnic tables by a homemade banner wishing the president a happy birthday. The event was put together by Eric Herbst, a musician and part-time volunteer for Organizing For America, the group that picked up where the Obama campaign left off after his election.