Obamas begin isle vacation


POSTED: Sunday, December 21, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama arrived in his native Hawaii yesterday for a holiday vacation that begins a month before he takes the oath of office.





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Beneath overcast skies, the president-elect's private United Airlines charter plane arrived at Honolulu Airport shortly after 3 p.m.

Obama departed the plane carrying two of his own bags and dressed casually with a black jacket, khaki pants, sneakers and his trademark Chicago White Sox baseball cap.

He was accompanied off the 767-300i with his younger daughter, Sasha. His wife, Michelle, and oldest daughter, Malia, followed. Obama waved at reporters and airport workers - who were kept a good distance away - before the family climbed in a stretch limousine as part of the motorcade that made its way to a rented vacation home in Kailua.

;[Preview] Obama Touches Hawaiian Ground

Obama arrives on the Hawaiian isles to enjoy a family vacation before his presidential inauguration.


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The president-elect arrived in Hawaii after a hectic week filling out his Cabinet and trying to distance himself from the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is charged with trying to sell Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.


Obama's island stay is set to be interrupted with the release of an internal investigation about his aides' roles in the Blagojevich matter.

An Obama aide said the review could be released early this week. Aides declined to discuss details, saying officials would honor prosecutors' request to keep it private until at least tomorrow.

Obama earlier said an internal investigation showed his staff did nothing wrong.

Aides said Obama planned to keep a low profile while in Hawaii, but will continue to have business meetings and intelligence briefings as he prepares to take office next month.

Obama and his family had no public events scheduled. He is expected to participate in a private service in honor of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died Nov. 2, two days before his victory on Election Day.

He also plans to visit with his half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her family, who live on Oahu.

“;I certainly don't envy Barack,”; Soetoro-Ng said in a statement released to the media. “;We have a lot of problems to solve in this nation, but I know that Barack has great reserves of strength.

“;I think he has already done so much that is truly transformative and meaningful. ... How wonderful that he and the family are able to spend Christmas in Hawaii.”;

;[Preview] Obama Will Stay At Luxurious Place

Obama is home for Christmas and will be staying at an upscale home at Castle Point in Kailua.


Watch ]





As Obama's motorcade traveled to the Windward side, scores of onlookers waved, snapped pictures and stood outside their cars along the side of the road. His arrival in Kailua was met by dozens of young soccer players who stood at a fence to wave.


Obama and his family have rented a $9 million, single-story oceanfront home in Kailua. The five-bedroom, wood-frame house sits on almost an acre fronting Kailua Beach.

About 100 yards from the end of the property, two security officers blocked off the end of the beach, including an area of rocks before the house that one woman called “;wishing rock,”; which residents touch for luck.

On the ocean side of the property, another resident said the beach was cleaned Friday for the first time in a long time.

Martha Burke, who has lived several houses down from the property since 1972, said she's thrilled and honored to have Obama nearby.

“;I'm sure he wants a lot of privacy, so I hope we can restrain ourselves from waving at him. But I doubt it,”; Burke said, laughing.

Don Dymond, owner of Kalapawai Cafe and Kalapawai Market, said it's particularly thrilling because the president-elect is local.

“;He knows enough about the state and the island that he would know if there's a better spot,”; Dymond said. “;The community is lucky that he picked here. And hopefully over the next eight years, he'll pick here some more.”;


Star-Bulletin reporter Rob Shikina, Associated Press and media pool reports contributed to this report.