President Obama turns 50 on Thursday, and he is going ahead with a lavish birthday celebration Wednesday night despite criticism that it's a bad idea following the nation's near-escape from financial disaster.
The birthday party will actually double as a fundraiser -- tickets are priced as high as $35,800, with all of the proceeds going towards his re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The Daily Mail reports the party will be held at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, which costs $40,000 to rent. A concert featuring Jennifer Hudson, Herbie Hancock and OK GO will follow dinner.
There will also be 1,167 house parties all over the country to celebrate the president's milestone. He will address them via web video.
The Republican National Committee has criticized the birthday plan, saying Obama should be focusing on the nation's economic problems, not a high-profile, expensive birthday party.
To his credit, Obama canceled recent fundraising trips to California and Seattle, and delayed a New York fundraiser to work on the debt deal. His last fundraiser was June 30 in Pennsylvania.
And let's also point out that Obama isn't the first president to attend fundraisers during his term in office.