2013 White House Egg Roll, USA Today
Washington-- For President Obama, the White House Easter Egg Roll turned into one of those "best of times, worst of times" kinds of deals.
The best: Hanging out with the Easter Bunny.
The worst: Going only 2-of-22 on the basketball court.
"Oh man," Obama said at one point, as shots from the free throw line and three-point lines clanged off the rim or -- once -- missed the basket altogether.
Eventually, the president asked 10-year-old Kahron Campbell of Landover, Md., for help, and the boy made a layup.
"He couldn't make one," Kahron told reporters later. "I had to help him out."
On a happier note, Obama got to introduce the Easter Bunny to thousands of children who gathered on the South Lawn for the 135th annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
"Give the Easter egg bunny a big round of applause!" Obama told the crowd.
First lady Michelle Obama urged the children to have fun and "run around," but also to learn something about healthy eating, pursuant to the theme of this year's egg roll: "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!"
"We want you guys to have a good time and keep moving and be healthy," the first lady said. "And, kids, eat your vegetables, okay?"
Mascots with names like Colby Carrot and Eric Eggplant helped drive home the healthy eating message.
In addition to the traditional egg rolling and egg hunting, visitors could listen to music, dance at the "Hop To It Stage," and learn sports from professional athletes.
More than 30,000 people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia -- winners of a special lottery -- were expected to roll through the White House lawn during the day Monday.
Among the guests: Relatives of children killed during the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The White House did not provide names, citing privacy concerns.
Mrs. Obama noted that "the Easter Egg Roll is the biggest event that we have here on the South Lawn of the White House each year."
After a heavy morning fog gave way to bright sunshine, Obama congratulated his guests on bringing good weather, saying they did "a good job sending a message upstairs."
Both Obamas later cheered on groups of egg rollers, who were deploying some of 19,000 eggs provided for the event. The White House said 14,500 hard-boiled eggs were dyed for rolls and hunts, while 4,500 others were available for children to decorate.
Some special eggs made a bird chirping sound so that children with poor eyesight could participate.
Children at the White House Egg Roll could also listen to story readings -- including one from the president himself, accompanied by the family dog Bo.
Obama's selection: Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom, a rhyming alphabet story involving the climbing of a tree. ("A told B/ and B told C/ "I'll meet you at the top/ of the coconut tree.")
"If you know how to read, then the whole world opens to you," Obama told children who attended his performance.
The president then headed for the basketball court for his 2-of-22 performance.
In addition to the famous bunny, the event featured Robbie Novak, who plays "Kid President" in a series of popular YouTube videos, and who introduced the first couple. Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and muppets from Sesame Street also made appearances.
A number of sport stars worked with children in the "Eggtivity Zone." They included Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
Some ticket recipients had worried that the egg roll might be canceled, either because of sequestration -- the series of automatic budget cuts that led to the cancellation of White House public tours -- or the threat of a government shutdown.
But Congress and the White House struck a short term budget deal last week, and Obama administration officials said the egg roll was never subject to the sequester.
The National Park Service, which organizes the event, says it's largely funded by sales of commemorative wooden eggs, as well as some private donations. The park service has not announced the full cost of the event.