The first lady tweeted a photograph of herself, smiling while
holding up a card from the group, which with its approximately 38
million members cuts an influential swath in the nation's capital.
"Excited to join Barack in the 50+ club today ... check out my @AARP
card," she said in a post signed with her initials.
Her husband, President Barack Obama, is 52.
AARP, previously the American Association of Retired Persons, now
goes simply by its acronym. One of the most powerful lobbying groups
in the country, it was a strong backer of the president's signature
health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
People are eligible for AARP membership on their 50th birthday, even
though most Americans do not retire until their mid-60s. But you do
not need to be a retiree to join, and getting the group's membership
offer, for some, triggers dark humor about the inexorable march of
time and the ravages of age.
The first lady is an example of how youthful people still are at 50,
said AARP chief executive Barry Rand.
"Not only is Mrs. Obama helping to change and reshape the way people
look at aging in this country, but she's also showing folks how
great 50 looks today," he said in a statement.
"We're proud to be able to call her a member of the AARP family and
know that she will continue to set a great example to all by showing
that age sets no boundaries on what you can achieve in life," Rand
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The group has not always been on the same page as the
administration. It previously described as "irresponsible" one of
the president's budget proposals to rein in the costs of retiree
programs by linking benefit increases to a less generous measure of
Michelle Obama's 50th birthday has drawn additional public scrutiny
to the first lady, previously a lawyer and a hospital executive, who
has used her White House position to launch a campaign called "Let's
Move" to fight childhood obesity.
In an interview with People magazine, she said she aspires to remain
fit and active into her 70s and 80s.
Asked what she thought about Botox or plastic surgery, she said she
could not envision such procedures for herself, but that she has
learned to "never say never."
And she still likes to dance. Her invitation to a birthday dance
party advised guests to "wear comfortable shoes," the magazine
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; editing by G Crosse and Ken Wills)
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