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Obamas host congressional dinner, unveil swing set. Coincidence?

March 4, 2009 |  7:24 pm
New gym set unveiled by Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House for their daughters Sasha and Malia --and congressional leaders?

Every presidential family makes some personal changes to the White House.  John F. Kennedy had a pony installed for the next non-senator from New York.  Bill Clinton had a putting green.  The second Bushes had a rubberized path.

So now the Obamas have an elaborate natural-wood treehouse-swing set on the lawn, unveiled today. (More jungle gym details here.)

Also today the Obamas graciously had leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives over for some bipartisan celery soup, mushroom crisps, steelhead salmon and milk chocolate velvet cake.  The president wanted a political "timeout," a kind of evening recess once everyone got indoors to the East Room to "remind ourselves we have things in common.  Not to mention, this is a pretty big house and we get lonely."

The Obamas have promised daughters Sasha and Malia, 10 and 7, that they too can use the new swings.   

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press