WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and his family opened the annual Easter Egg Roll Monday, cheering on a large throng of children lined up for fun and games on the South Lawn of the White House.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and his family opened the annual Easter Egg Roll Monday, cheering on a large throng of children lined up for fun and games on the South Lawn of the White House. Obama and his wife, Michelle, appeared along with daughters Malia and Sasha on a balcony overlooking the grassy area where hundreds of kids scurried for positioning for the much-sought-after egg-rolling competition. The president initially could only wave to the crowd, thanks to nonworking microphones. He looked around for help and finally the sound system started working. Arrayed in front of the Obamas was a large crowd of kids bundled up against the early-spring chill. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, also were present. Obama greeted the crowd, extolling the event as a great White House tradition and one that "reminds us that this is the people’s house." Obama said his job was to introduce the first lady to the crowd — and Mrs. Obama said that "our goal today is just to have fun. We want to focus on activity, healthy eating … We’ve got Easter Egg decorating, we’ve got basketball, we’ve got soccer … We want everybody to think about moving their bodies." Music star Fergie sang the "National Anthem" after the president spoke. The White House allotted tickets for the event to gay and lesbian parents as part of the administration’s effort to reach out to diverse communities. For the first time, it distributed tickets over the Internet, rather than requiring interested participants to stand in line for hours to get in. The administration also distributed tickets to large numbers of schoolchildren in the District of Columbia and in neighboring Maryland and Virginia. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.