In rainy Washington, Obama lights national Christmas tree

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 6, 2013 8:23pm EST

1 of 7. U.S. President Barack Obama applauds as he is joined by daughters Malia (L) and Sasha and First Lady Michelle Obama, after lighting the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington December 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Braving rain and cold, President Barack Obama and his family ventured across the street from the White House on Friday to preside over the lighting of the U.S. national Christmas tree.

Obama, his wife, daughters, and mother-in-law took part in the annual tradition, which featured music by singers Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, and the group Train.

"You are lucky I'm not singing," Obama joked to the rain-soaked crowd.

The president used the occasion to pay tribute again to Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died on Thursday.

"This year, we give a special measure of gratitude for Nelson Mandela, a man who championed ... generosity of spirit," Obama said to applause. "In his life, he blessed us with tremendous grace and unbelievable courage. And we are all privileged to live in a world touched by his goodness."

At the beginning of the ceremony, Obama initiated a countdown that concluded with the lighting of the large tree - but he started from five rather than 10 to speed up the proceedings in the cold.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (6)
hawkeye19 wrote:
Isn’t there one of his Muslim holidays he can tie it to? Or he could call it a Mandela Tree.

Dec 07, 2013 4:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Hawk eye, please seek help for your Obama derangement syndrome.

Dec 07, 2013 10:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SovereignMary wrote:
I received this article and a comment from an e-mail friend. This is what the friend stated and I fully agree with them:
“…. “Obama and family BRAVED the rain and cold to light the annual tree”. Braved? How about George Washington BRAVED THE ELEMENTS FOR DAYS ON END, RISKED HIS LIFE, AND FOUGHT FOR THE COUNTRY. Idiot journalists who write this crap.

Dec 08, 2013 6:16am EST  --  Report as abuse
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