In an annual family-friendly rite of spring, President Barack Obama and wife Michelle kicked off the White House Easter Egg Roll today, joining tens of thousands of youngsters and their parents in a day of racing, reading, sports, and crafts on a breezy, sun-splashed South Lawn. "We are so thrilled all of you could join us," Obama said from the South Portico, flanked by the first lady, daughters Malia and Sasha, and the Easter Bunny.
The event dates to 1878, when it was first held by Rutherford B. Hayes. The Obamas put their own spin on this year's roll, creating the theme "Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move," encouraging physical activity as part of Michelle Obama's initiative to counter childhood obesity. The hosts took the message to heart, as the president did pushups, played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters and tennis with star Chris Evert. Reading was also an integral part, with the Obamas taking turns reading books to the children. Obama's book of choice? Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.