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Obama White House gets really big pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness (photos here)

October 27, 2009 |  6:48 am

Workers at the White House hoisted something unusual in the front of the grand entrance to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Monday -- a massive pink ribbon.

Running the length of the columns in front of the presidential residence, the dramatic ribbon is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign to promote women's health at a time when her husband is trying to reform the nation's healthcare system. "It's a system that only adds to the fear and stress that already comes with the disease," she said Friday.

President Obama has often talked about his mother's last months, spent battling ovarian cancer with one hand while filling out insurance forms with another. Last October, he explained his passion for the reform cause:

For me, the fight against cancer is deeply personal. My mother died of ovarian cancer in the prime of her life. And at a time when she should have been focused on getting well, she was lying in a hospital bed arguing with her insurance company because they refused to cover her treatment.

The instinct to decorate the White House for the cause is not without precedent. Last October, the White House joined a worldwide campaign to cast more than 200 landmarks around the globe in a pink glow to commemorate breast cancer awareness.

During a ceremony at the White House, First Lady Laura Bush flipped a switch and suddenly a building that has been white ever since John and Abigail Adams took up residence there in 1800 was suddenly pink. She said:

We're showing our support of breast cancer awareness and research in a historic way. In recognition of the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who struggle with this disease, we're lighting the White House in pink, which is the color of the cause. May our lights tonight shine as beacons around the world, a signal of the United States' commitment to saving lives for breast cancer.

Here's how it looked:


-- Johanna Neuman

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Top photo credit: the White House; Lower: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press