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President Barack Obama turns 50 on Thursday. So what does he want for his birthday?

“What I really want right now is to, to get a debt-ceiling deal for my birthday,” Obama said recently.

The months-long debate over the debt ceiling had threatened to force him to skip his own party, a pair of birthday campaign fundraisers planned for Chicago on Wednesday, including an event featuring Chicago natives Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson.

“I feel real good about 5-0,” Obama said. “I’ve gotten a little grayer since I took this job, but otherwise I feel pretty good.”

Obama added that his wife, Michelle, has told him that she still thinks “I’m cute.”

“And I guess that’s, that’s all that matters, isn’t? it” he said.

The gray hair around Obama’s temples is about the only obvious sign of aging. The 6-foot-1 president is as lanky as he was when he took office. He’s gained no noticeable amount of weight. He’s stuck to a regimen of near-daily exercise that includes treadmill runs, weightlifting and weekend games of pickup basketball, golf or substitute-coaching daughter Sasha’s basketball team.

Of the gray hair, he says: “Malia and Sasha say it makes me look distinguished. Michelle says it makes me look old.”

Words by Alexx Dupri