(CNSNews.com) - It seems like a nice gesture – an e-mail message from a loving wife, urging thousands of people to join her in wishing her husband a happy 49th birthday by signing an electronic birthday card.
But in Washington, D.C., nothing is that simple.
The wife, in this case, is first lady Michelle Obama, and the message is being sent by the Democratic Party to people on its list nationwide. And underlying the birthday wishes, the message is political: The electronic card to Barack Obama also is a Democratic Party fundraiser.
“Every year, our family tries to come up with a fun way to wish Barack a happy birthday,” the message from Michelle Obama says. “And this August 4th, when he turns 49, I have something new in mind.”
Her message, which went out Tuesday, is being sent out by Democrats.org, the online presence of the Democratic National Committee.
The first lady, meanwhile, acknowledged that her husband has been “busy.”
“This has been a big -- and hectic -- year for him,” she wrote. “After signing the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform into law -- and completing his first year as president -- I think it's safe to say we will remember it for a long time.
“And I know full well how much he credits this movement, and the work of supporters like you, for the change that we've accomplished,” reads the message.
“So I'm putting together a birthday card that I would like you to sign,” it says. “Together with supporters -- and me, Malia, Sasha, and Bo -- we'll wish him a happy birthday and let him know that we're ready to take on the year ahead alongside him.”
Clicking on the link -- “Will you wish Barack a happy birthday with me?” – sends you to “MyBarackObama.com,” the Organizing for America Web site, which describes itself as “a project of the Democratic National Committee.”
But typing in your name, address and E-mail, and hitting “Sign the Card” takes you directly to another page -- a donation page, which states:
“Thank you for standing alongside us, with the President. Now can you make a donation to help us take on the year ahead?” -- and a disclaimer that funds would not go to political candidates.