30,000 join Obamas for Easter egg roll

2013-04-02T00:00:00Z 30,000 join Obamas for Easter egg rollKatherine Skiba Chicago Tribune Arizona Daily Star
April 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

WASHINGTON - Families that lost loved ones to gun violence were among 30,000 guests who joined the Obamas on Monday at a sun-soaked White House Easter Egg Roll.

One of them, Nathaniel Pendleton Jr., 10, whose sister Hadiya was gunned down in January near the Obamas' home on Chicago's South Side, played doubles tennis with President Obama.

"I kind of messed up a lot," the boy said later. The fifth-grader, a novice player, said he takes a racket in hand only about once a year. The president, however, judged his attempts to hit the ball as a "good job."

Another attendee was Neil Heslin, who lost his 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre in December.

Celebs who turned out included wunderkind Robbie Novak, the "Kid President" from YouTube; Mr. Potato Head; race car driver Danica Patrick; and, of course, the Easter Bunny.

Addressing Novak in front of the crowd, first lady Michelle Obama had an April Fools' Day joke: "You're going to spend a little time in the Oval Office just fixing things up for this president, aren't you?"

Most guests at the 135th annual egg roll won tickets in a lottery, but some went to military families. A native of McHenry, Ill., Marine Staff Sgt. Brad Castle, 28, brought his wife and son, Anthony, 6. They live in the Washington area.

Anthony Castle got to ask President Obama a homework question: How many teams from his bracket made the Final Four?

The answer was one. And Obama's performance on the basketball court with his guests was even further off. He made only 2 of 22 shots, according to a press pool report.

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