Saturday, December 18, 2004

Obama urges kids
to ‘dream big’

U.S. Sen.-elect Barack Obama challenged about 400 Punahou School students yesterday to "dream big dreams."

"Think big about what you'd like to do with your life," said Obama, a 1979 graduate of Punahou. "If you want to be a doctor, dream about finding a cure for AIDS. If you want to be a musician, pursue it with the passion of writing a song that will be a No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts."

Tentative 3-book deal worth $1.9 million

CHICAGO » U.S. Sen.-elect Barack Obama, whose 1995 book jumped onto best-seller lists after his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, has landed a three-book deal worth $1.9 million.

Crown Publishing Group and Random House Children's Books, divisions of Random House Inc., announced yesterday that Obama will write two books for adults and one for children.

He will be paid an $850,000 advance for each adult book and $200,000 for the children's book, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. Proceeds from the children's book, which Obama will work on with his wife, Michelle, and their two young daughters, will go to charity, Gibbs said.

The contract is contingent on the approval of the Senate Ethics Committee, he said.

Associated Press

Obama, 43, met with students and faculty members for about an hour yesterday morning at Punahou's Thurston Chapel. Fourteen students, one each from grades six to 12, asked him questions about his experiences at Punahou and his political career.

The Hawaii-born Obama overwhelmingly defeated Republican Alan Keyes in November's election for an Illinois Senate seat.

He will be the only senator of African-American descent and only the third since Reconstruction.

Obama jumped onto the national stage earlier this year after delivering the keynote address at the National Democratic Convention in Boston, where he spoke of national unity.

"As a son of Punahou, Sen. Obama has become a source of genuine pride for his former Punahou schoolmates and teachers," said Jim Scott, the school's president. "He is also inspiring a new generation of young people."

Obama has been in the islands for about a week to visit with family, and plans to stay until after Christmas. His grandmother and sister live on Oahu.

Yesterday's appearance was his second this week. On Thursday night he spoke to isle Democrats at the Hilton Hawaii Village about his experiences growing up in Hawaii.

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