President Obama turns 49 today

*President Barack Obama turns 49 today without the usual presence of his wife and kids to help celebrate the occasion.

With First Lady Michelle Obama and their youngest daughter Sasha in Spain, and his other daughter Malia away at her first summer camp, the president said he will fly home to Chicago tonight for a birthday dinner with friends. He’ll stay overnight in his own house in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

According to the AP, Obama’s birthday is being used in this election year as a prime fundraising opportunity for Democratic candidates and party organizations, through mailings, e-mails, parties and other birthday-themed outreach.

On Thursday, Obama will tour an auto plant in Chicago and attend Democratic fundraisers before returning to the White House.