Obama plans break in isles
The presumptive nominee looks forward to relaxation, Abercrombie says
It's not 100 percent finalized, but U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie says its a "virtual certainty" that Sen. Barack Obama will vacation in Hawaii next month before the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 25.
Obama, the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, is looking forward to a rejuvenating vacation in his birth state before starting the "unholy sprint" in the presidential race, Abercrombie said.
"It's very likely that he'll be taking a little R and R before the convention," he said by phone from his home in Honolulu yesterday. "We'll know soon. It's under consideration and a virtual certainty."
He would not say how he learned of the Illinois senator's possible tropical getaway, but said it would likely be a short trip in late August.
Abercrombie said Obama may participate in a couple events while in Hawaii, but mostly will spend time with family, including his half-sister and grandmother who live on Oahu.
"He's got to have some down time. Hawaii is home. People in Hawaii understand that this is where he can relax," he said.
It would be Obama's first visit to Hawaii since announcing his candidacy for president in early 2007.
Abercrombie said Obama's people are putting together plans for the "enormous undertaking" of bringing the senator's entourage, including the Secret Service, to Hawaii.
Obama last came to Hawaii in December 2006 for a two-week vacation when he was spotted playing golf.
"There was no Secret Service," Abercrombie said. "The logistics of him moving now, it's like moving a battalion."
Andy Winer, state Obama campaign chairman, declined to comment and referred questions to the national Obama campaign office in Chicago. A spokeswoman there also declined to comment.
Chuck Freedman, state Obama campaign spokesman, said the local campaign was scheduled to speak today with a national campaign representative about the state delegation to the national convention in Denver. He did not expect any announcement about Obama's trip to Hawaii.
"If the national people are considering it seriously, they have not talked to us about it," he said, but added, "It would be a pretty high moment of pride for the Islands for him to be returning here. We certainly consider them extended family so it would be a homecoming."
Abercrombie said an announcement would likely need to be made shortly so the campaign can move forward with completing plans.
"He (Obama) can come here knowing he's in the bosom of people who love him and care for him," Abercrombie said. "It's going to be a vacation if he comes out here. It's going to be for purposes of building strength through rest and recreation."