“What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be about.”
Former president Barack Obama brought some much needed holiday cheer to sick kids at the Children’s National hospital in Washington, DC on Wednesday. Obama dressed up as Santa while singing Christmas carols with hundreds of hospital staff and children during his well received visit. The 57-year-old arrived at the medical center in a red hat and happily sang a chorus of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” with the packed crowd.
“I just want to say thank you to all of you guys, we had a chance to talk to some of the wonderful kids and their families,” Obama sincerely told the excited gathering.
“At a time that obviously is tough for folks, as a dad of two girls, you know, I can only imagine,” he continued.
“In that situation, to have nurses and staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them and just there for them, and holding their hand… that’s the most important thing there is.”
“What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be about,” Obama concluded.
Obama made his rounds throughout the hospital, carrying a sack of toys on his back. The 44th president gifts included remote-control cars, Hot Wheels sets, nail polish, jigsaw puzzles and much more. His presence brought tears of joy to one little girl when he stepped foot into her hospital room.
The first African American to be elected to the presidency, danced for the emotional girl, as she was seen covering her mouth in shock. Obama soon wrapped his arms around the child as she broke down in tears. The father-of-two was also pictured hand-delivering gifts to many others, including a grateful little girl wearing a fake stethoscope.
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As I reflect on election night ten years ago today, I can’t help but think about where my political career started. I wasn’t running for office. I was running a voter-registration drive in Chicago. What I learned then — and what would become the premise of my 2008 campaign — was that you couldn’t just fight for existing votes. You had to reach out to all of these people who had lost faith and lost trust, and get them off the sidelines. So during our first campaign, when I started seeing all these stories about record turnout in communities all over the country — from young people in line for hours in Iowa to elderly folks in lawn chairs down in Florida — I knew that we had shown what is possible when everybody decides to participate. And that, in and of itself, gave people a sense of their own power — their own agency in the kind of country we want to leave for our kids. When more people get off the sidelines and decide to participate, our country becomes a little more representative of its people — of everyone’s collective decision. And American politics can change as a result. So on Election Day this Tuesday, I’m not just asking you to vote. I’m asking you to really show up once again. Talk with your friends, convince some new voters, and get them out to vote because then something powerful happens. Change happens. Hope happens. And with each new step we take in the direction of fairness, and justice, and equality, and opportunity, hope spreads.
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Obama later took to Twitter to write, “Merry Christmas and happy holidays to the extraordinary kids, families, and staff at Children’s National. And thanks for humoring me as your stand-in Santa.”
Kurt Newman, chief executive and president of Children’s National Health System, told the Washington Post the kids “will be talking about [the visit] for years to come.”
Children’s National Health System (formerly DC Children’s Hospital, Children’s National Medical Center) is ranked among the top 5 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
According to their website, Children’s National is one of only twelve children’s hospitals in the country to attain Level 1 Surgery Verification from the American College of Surgeons.
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