When we asked if he gets gifts for the annual maligned event he said, “Oh sure,” before stating, “I don’t want anything.”

An aide then recalled one of the best presents Hatch has received. “Oh yeah,” said the smiling senator, “they gave me a statue of a tough old bird. Which, of course, I made very clear in the last election — I’m a tough old bird.”

During a primary challenge last year from a Tea Party candidate, Utah state senator Dan Liljenquist, Hatch bestowed the fowl-inspired name on himself.

The aide later described the gift as a statue of a red-tailed hawk given to Hatch by his staff as a Christmas present — not a birthday gift.

Hatch also cracked about what his 79th birthday celebration might entail, saying, “Well, my son wants to take us to dinner.” He paused before adding with a smile, “I said bring some food over.”