Washington: US President Barack Obama started the first presidential debate Thursday by greeting his wife and the First Lady on their 20th marriage anniversary.
"There are a lot of points that I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me," Obama said as he was asked by moderator Jim Lehrer of the PBS news to start the debate with his point of view on jobs.
"I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now, we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people," Obama said.
Obama`s Republican rival Mitt Romney too greeted the First Couple of the United States in his opening remarks.
"Congratulations to you, Mr President, on your anniversary. I`m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine here with me, so congratulations," he said.
Michelle was seated in the audience for the entire duration of the debate.
Earlier in an interview to the CNN, Michelle acknowledged that she had never thought that they would be celebrating their 20th anniversary at a presidential debate.
"And in fact, you know, I told Barack this; you know, attending a presidential debate on my 20th anniversary is probably the worst way for me to spend -- I get so nervous at these debates," she said.
"You know, I`m like one of those parents watching their kid on the balance beam. Just standing there, just trying not to, you know, have any expression at all," she said.
Obama earlier greeted the first lady in a romantic tweet.
"Twenty years ago today, I married the love of my life and my best friend. Happy anniversary, Michelle - BO" read the message sent by Obama from his @BarackObama Twitter account to Michelle and to his 20 million followers on Twitter.