June 15, 1775
February 20th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Happy birthday Mr. President

While most people celebrate birthdays with a few balloons, some cake, and, if they’re lucky, presents, America’s leaders tend to celebrate with a bit more flair. Barack Obama, for example, rang in the big 5-0 with celebrity friends like Jay-Z and Stevie Wonder. Back in 1962, Marilyn Monroe serenaded John F. Kennedy with a seductive song that burned its way into American history. Even George H. W. Bush took a step toward making presidential birthday history when he stepped off a plane (aka skydived) in honor of his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays.

George Washington, however, surpasses them all, as he’s the only president with an entire federal holiday dedicated to his memory.

Now before you race to your web browser and send us a Wikipedia link that says the holiday is actually called “President’s Day,” we encourage you to take a closer look. Despite the promotional emails that have exploded into your inboxes this morning from car dealerships, mattress stores and electronic giants like Best Buy, today is not President’s Day. In fact, it’s not even Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (which, by the way, passed by last week on the 12th).

Brace yourself, because today’s legal name is “Washington’s Birthday.”

At least that’s what the U.S. Office of Personnel Management says, anyway.

Topics: Presidents Day • The Buzz • The Visuals
February 20th, 2012
02:26 PM ET

Note to Michelle Obama: It’s ‘Washington’s Birthday’

(CNN) - Count the first lady among those who may not know the official name of today’s holiday.

Michelle Obama wished her famous husband a “Happy President’s Day” on twitter earlier Monday, declaring @BarackObama her “personal favorite.” The tweet was signed “-MO,” which the Obama campaign has said means it comes from the first lady directly.

The only problem? There is no such thing as Presidents Day. The official name of the holiday is “Washington’s Birthday,” according to the Office of Personnel Management, the agency in charge of federal employees.

“Washington’s Birthday” (his actual birthday is February 22) was declared a federal holiday in the late 1800’s and moved to the third Monday of February in the 1970’s. There have since been various failed congressional attempts to rename the holiday “President’s Day” to also honor Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12.

Few, including the first lady, refer to today as Washington’s Birthday thanks to the scores of car dealerships, mattress sellers, and other retailers who long ago determined “President’s Day sale” rolls off the tongue easier.

- CNN’s Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report

Topics: Michelle Obama • The Buzz • The Family
Netanyahu to White House March 5
February 20th, 2012
12:13 PM ET

Netanyahu to White House March 5

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House on Monday, March 5. The White House announced the news Monday at the end of readout regarding National Security Advisor Tom Donilon's trip to to Israel. The meeting comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, as well as ongoing unrest in Syria.

From the White House:

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon concluded a three day visit to Israel today for consultations with senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, Chief of the General Staff Gantz, and National Security Advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror. Mr. Donilon and his delegation addressed the full range of security issues of mutual concern. The visit is part of the continuous and intensive dialogue between the United States and Israel and reflects our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. Mr. Donilon relayed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the President looks forward to meeting with him at the White House on March 5.

Topics: Israel • The News
POTUS' Day Ahead: A day off in the White House
February 20th, 2012
08:05 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: A day off in the White House

Good morning from the White House. The president is taking it easy this Presidents Day with no events on the schedule.

Topics: Daily Schedule