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article imagePres. Obama celebrates his 49th birthday with friends in Chicago Special

By Kay Mathews     Aug 5, 2010 in Politics
Maralyn Owen was in a River North Residents Association meeting when she began receiving “several texts that Barack [Obama] was dining in a restaurant” in the building where she lives, and she shares what followed.
Owen said she finished her meeting and “got into the restaurant.” President Barack Obama’s 49th birthday party was held at Graham Elliot restaurant located at 217 W. Huron Street in Chicago.
Owen indicated that security was very tight noting that her "entire street was blocked off" and she said, “My purse was searched before I was allowed to enter the restaurant.”
According to Owen, Obama was having dinner “in a back room with Oprah [Winfrey] and her friend, Gayle [King], and some other friends.”
While waiting with fellow neighbors from her building to get a glimpse of Pres. Obama, Owen chatted with members of the Secret Service and then encouraged the group to sing “Happy Birthday” to the president.
After a wait that seemed to take “forever,” Owen said, “Oprah and Gayle came out first” followed by Pres. Obama.
Upon seeing Obama, Owen said that she “shouted ‘Hey, I voted for you’ and he stopped and shook my hand…I still have goosebumps. It was an amazing night. I was thrilled.”
As guests left Graham Elliot, Owen was able to take the brief video seen above of Oprah and Gayle’s departure.
Owen said that she did not know Pres. Obama would be dining at the restaurant located in her building, but was thrilled to get the text messages letting her know he was there. Owen said, "He was so nice."
After an evening of singing "Happy Birthday" to the President of the United States, shaking his hand, and having throngs of reporters taking photographs of her and others inside Graham Elliott restaurant, Owen said, "I won't be able to sleep tonight because I'm so excited."
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