4698693Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has rarely let facts get in the way of gossip. Still, his latest and apparently baseless speculation about Michelle Obama has generated international baby buzz.
On Wednesday, an item appeared on PerezHilton.com (filed under Baby Blabber – Conspiracy Corner) with the headline: "White House Baby???"
"We're hearing talk in D.C. that Michelle Obama is pregnant," the post read.
Despite Hilton's blunt disclaimer ("this is completely unconfirmed"), the rumor has picked up steam. A Google search for the words "Michelle Obama" and "pregnant" churns out 826,000 results. Meanwhile, Gawker has begun scrutinizing recent photos of the First Lady for signs of pregnancy.
So did the gambling world. In the wake of the rumor, Ireland's biggest bookmaker Paddy Power slashed the odds on Michelle Obama giving birth this year from 10-1 to 2-1. You can also wager on the sex of the baby and even if the birth will produce multiple babies (it's 20-1 that Michelle Obama will have twins and 10,000-1 that she will have octuplets).
Paddy Power's Ken Robertson tells CBSNews.com that at this very moment, there are 166 bets on "Yes, there will be a new first baby" (for a total stake of 2412 Euros) and 222 bets on "No, there will not be a new first baby" (for a total stake of €3996).
Of course, the baby bets also include what the Obamas would name their third child, after Sasha and Malia. Barack Jr. is the favorite at 3-1; Michelle is 10-1; and the 250-1 long shots include Paris, Perez and Jesus.
Roberston says so far the most widely backed name for the new baby is Barack Jr., which has 98 bets for a total stake of €784.
If the dubious rumor does prove to be true, the baby would be only the second born in the White House. That sole distinction now belongs to the daughter of President Grover Cleveland, who was born in 1893. Her name? Esther.