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Despite the fervent claims of rabid “birthers,” on this day 49 years ago, on American soil, Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was born. As documented in his own words – and those of thousands of reporters, pundits, bloggers and citizens – it has been quite a ride to today, his second birthday in the White House.

Because there have been few moments since his inauguration that President Obama has not been beset by allegations, commendation and loyal opposition that has tip-toed toward treason, boosters have suggested symbolic birthday presents. Organizing for America put out an affirming e-card that his supporters could sign and send. And one grassroots effort zipping across the web has called for people to resurrect all their Obama ’08 gear and wear it today as a show of support and solidarity (Don’t worry, you still have time to run home and grab that pin or hat after work if you want).

But what else to give the man who can speed-dial anybody at any time to get about anything, including having his favorite candy – smoked sea salt caramel in milk chocolate from Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle – delivered within the hour? People are actually coming around on health care. And BP may have finally plugged the oil leak, at long last.

While his Secret Service handlers might not mind, the first lady certainly wouldn’t stand for Shakira popping up and crooning “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” a la Marilyn Monroe. So here are a few fun options for gifts that shouldn’t cause any rifts in the Obama home:


A stack of iTunes gift cards – or a punching bag.

Obama outwardly displays all the classic traits of the Leo that he is, according to George Davis, co-author of “Soul Vibrations: Astrology for African-Americans” (Harper Perennial, 1996). Confident. Independent. Big-hearted. Strong beliefs.


But in one area, at least publicly, he’s highly atypical: Leos hate criticism – with a capital H.


“In that regard, he’s an amazing Leo,” Davis told “He’s done a magnificent job in dealing with the criticism that has come his way.”


And as anyone with a pulse in this country could tell you, criticism of this president is steady. He’s too detached. He’s too involved. He dithers. He’s impulsive. He’s not into black people enough. He’s into Harvard too much. He hates business people. He hates rich people. He hates white people. He hates rich white people. And so on.

So the perfect present for a Leo in this sort of situation is anything that will help him drown out the droning. Obama proudly says he owns an iPod with a diverse set of offerings, noting artists ranging from Jay-Z to Frank Sinatra to Maria Callas during his recent visit to “The View.” Let him load up some more via an iTunes gift card.


“Or he could just get some ear plugs, for when he doesn’t feel like listening to music,” Davis added.


Also, a heavyweight bag. He can release some healthy frustration when he’s off-camera and let’s his inner Leo roar.

A GOP takeover. Seriously.

Nothing seems to get that roar going faster than “political gamesmanship over governing,” as Obama calls it. So this present sounds counterintuitive, but losing a chamber of Congress to the other party would put Obama back into battle mode and keep his troops fired up through 2012, said William H. Boone Jr., associate professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University.

Sometimes people get complacent and need a reminder of what they’re fighting against so they can focus on what they’re fighting for, Boone said. Besides, if Obama were to …..