Entries in Hawaii (33)


Obama’s Hawaii Vacation by the Numbers

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- President Obama departed Hawaii on Sunday morning for Washington, after spending nine days vacationing with family and friends in his native state.  Here’s a quick look at how he spent his vacation:

  • Obama played five rounds of golf with seven different partners, spending roughly 30 hours on two different courses on Oahu.
  • The president made five early morning trips to the gym at the nearby Marine Base at Kaneohe Bay.
  • The first family spent two afternoons enjoying the beach on the base and went for one hike to a local waterfall.
  • The president spent one father-daughter afternoon with Malia and Sasha, bowling and going out for shave ice, an annual tradition.
  • The Obamas ventured out for dinner with friends four times, leaving their Kailua vacation home for gourmet Japanese meals at Nobu and Morimoto, high-end Hawaiian fare at Alan Wong’s, and a final meal at Buzz’s Original Steak House, a popular local spot off the beach.
  • The president interrupted his vacation for six days to negotiate the “fiscal cliff” in Washington.  All told, he will have spent roughly 40 hours on Air Force One flying between D.C. and Hawaii.
  • Only one family member made all the trips back-and-forth with the president: Bo, the dog.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama’s Father-Daughter Day in Hawaii

Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images(KAILUA, Hawaii) -- Over the past two weeks, President Obama has passed his days in Hawaii hitting the gym, golfing with friends and relaxing on the beach with his family.

On Thursday, he enjoyed some father-daughter time, bowling with Malia and Sasha and going out for Hawaiian shaved ice, an annual tradition.

After spending the afternoon at the bowling alley at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, Obama and his daughters stopped at Island Snow Shave Ice, a small eatery in a shopping center near their Kailua vacation house.

A long line quickly formed outside as onlookers tried to get a glimpse of the president in what was his first public appearance of his annual holiday vacation in his native state.

After several minutes inside, Malia and Sasha and several other children, presumably family friends, emerged with cool treats in hand. The casually dressed president soon followed, holding a large green and red shaveD ice in an assortment of flavors.

“How are you doing?” he asked folks gathered outside as he began shaking hands.

Then it was back in the motorcade and off to their vacation house, where the Obamas are spending the evening in.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Returns to Hawaii Vacation Post-Cliff Deal

White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Less than an hour after Congress and the White House resolved the fiscal cliff, President Obama boarded Air Force One to return to his planned Hawaiian holiday vacation.

He boarded the plane at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs, Md., shortly before midnight Wednesday following a New Year’s Day of political drama on Capitol Hill.

The 10-hour overnight flight was scheduled to arrive in Oahu around 5 a.m. local time Wednesday when he will reunite with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, who have been vacationing there since just before Christmas.

The president began his family holiday -- his first extended personal time outside of Washington since the presidential campaign -- on Dec. 21.  But he had to cut the trip short due to unresolved talks over the fiscal cliff, returning to the White House two days after Christmas.

While in his native Hawaii, Obama his expected to spend time with his family at their private rental home; golfing on a local Marine base; and enjoying the outdoors on the beach or area hiking trails.

No word from the White House on when the president is expected to return.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz Picked to Replace Late Sen. Daniel Inouye

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced on Wednesday Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye as the U.S. senator from Hawaii -- not Sen. Inouye's first choice.

On the day he died, the late senator wrote a letter to Abercrombie asking that he pick Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, to replace him.

Hanabusa made it to the final round of consideration, but she did not win the nomination.

"The charge of the central committee was to take all points of view into account, from Sen. Inouye and from the rank and file -- the Democratic grassroots," Abercrombie said during a news conference on Wednesday evening. "No one and nothing was preordained."

Schatz served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006. In 2006, he launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

Schatz served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii from 2008 to 2010. He was sworn in as lieutenant governor in December 2010.

Schatz named two priorities for his new appointment that rarely see action on the Senate floor: native Hawaiian recognition and climate change.

"For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real, and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation," Schatz said.

Schatz planned to leave on a flight Wednesday night and be sworn in sometime Thursday afternoon. He would bring his wife, two children and both his parents to Washington.

The Hawaii Democratic Party met Wednesday morning to select three finalists to take the seat left vacant by Inouye's death.

Hawaii News Now reported the names on the short list. They included Hanabusa, Deputy State Land and Natural Resources Director Esther Kiaaina and Schatz. The HDP chastised whoever gave the names to the paper on its Facebook page shortly after the Hawaii News Now article was updated.

"Apparently, some of us DO NOT respect the process. The list was leaked to the press. tsk ... tsk ... tsk ...," the post said, linking to the HNN piece.

About half an hour earlier, the group had made a post saying it would not announce the names, leaving that responsibility to the governor.

Though she did not make the short list of replacements, more than 150 people signed an online petition urging the governor and the Democratic Party to nominate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to take Inouye's spot.

Gabbard is a veteran and the first Hindu woman elected to the House of Representatives. She has yet to start her first term as a member of Congress.

Actor and former White House staffer Kal Penn tweeted his support for Gabbard, linking to the petition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obamas Greet Troops on Christmas

The White House(HONOLULU) -- In what has become a holiday tradition, President Obama and the first lady spent Christmas afternoon greeting service members at the Marines Corps base near their Hawaiian vacation home.

Spreading some holiday cheer, the Obamas wished the troops and their families a Merry Christmas and thanked them for their service.

“This looks like it was a nice rather than naughty crowd so I’m sure Santa treated you well,” Obama joked as he walked into the mess hall at the base in Kaneohe Bay.

“One of our favorite things is always coming to the base on Christmas Day and having a chance just to meet you, those of you who have families here, and to say thank you for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day,” he said in his brief remarks.

Obama noted that “we’re still in a wartime footing” even as troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

“Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there.  Some of you may be about to be deployed there.  And so we know that it’s not easy,” he said.

“But what we also want you to know is that you have the entire country behind you, and that all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you guys provide,” Obama added.

After his remarks, the president and first lady posed for pictures with the troops.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Golfing in Hawaii with Pal Arrested in Prostitution Sting

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- Taking a break from the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama spent the first day of his holiday vacation golfing with friends and aides, including longtime pal Bobby Titcomb, who was arrested last year on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

After arriving in Hawaii late Friday night, the president spent Saturday morning at his family’s vacation residence along the shores of Kailua, a quiet town on a stretch of beach on the east end of Oahu.

Shortly before noon, the president made the trip to the Kailua Marine Corps Base, where he hit the links at the Kaneohe Clipper course.

Obama golfed with close aide Marvin Nicholson, White House chef Sam Kass, and childhood friends Mike Ramos and Titcomb, whom the president has known since they attended Honolulu’s Punahou School together in the 1970s.

Titcomb was arrested in April 2011 in an undercover prostitution sting operation. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge, and the conviction was reportedly later expunged from his record.

With negotiations over the deficit at a standstill and Congress closed for the Christmas holiday, the first family left Washington late Friday for their annual vacation in Obama’s native state, his first vacation of the year.

The president told reporters in a hastily scheduled appearance in the briefing room that he would “see you next week.” His return date is still to be determined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Attend Inouye Memorial in Hawaii

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend a memorial service for the late Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on Sunday in Hawaii.

This is the second memorial that Obama will attend for his native state Senator. The President spoke Friday at a service for Inouye at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tulsi Gabbard, Mazie Hirono Break Congressional Barriers for Non-Christians

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard - Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tuesday's election brought some religious firsts for Congress, with a victory for Tulsi Gabbard, who will be the first Hindu congresswoman, and Mazie Hirono, the first Buddhist senator. Both are Democrats from Hawaii.

For a country whose founding principles include religious freedom, the American government has a history of being almost homogenous with respect to religion.

Half a century ago it was almost unthinkable for some that a Catholic could win the presidency.

But just as leaders have broken racial and gender barriers over the years, so too are non-Christian candidates moving forward.

Former Deputy Historian for the House of Representatives Fred Beuttler pointed to the 110th Congress, elected in 2006, as a win for religious plurality. That's the year a Muslim, Keith Ellison, D-Mich., and two Buddhists, Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Hirono from Hawaii, were elected to the House.

Hirono is now leaving her House seat to become a senator. Tulsi Gabbard will succeed her.

"Tulsi never ran as a Hindu or thought of the campaign in that way," Gabbard campaign spokesman Jim McCoy said in an email. "However, after her victory there was a huge outpouring of joy and elation from Hindus throughout America and even in India. So although Tulsi has never seen it as a 'victory for Hindus,' it's clear that Hindus in America now feel less marginalized than they had prior to her election."

Beuttler attributed the changing makeup of the government to religious changes in the American population.

"The House is a very representative institution by its design," Beuttler said. As Americans become more diverse, "you expect to see more religious diversity in the House."

During the campaign, Congresswoman-elect Gabbard took some heat for her religion. In an interview on CNN, her opponent said her beliefs don't align with the U.S. constitution. But McCoy said Gabbard refused to get caught up in that issue.

Now that the race is over, Gabbard is still directing the public away from her personal beliefs.

"While I understand all of the interest about my being the first Hindu elected to Congress, I feel that of greater importance is the fact that Tammy Duckworth and I will be the first women combat veterans ever to serve in Congress in our country's history," Gabbard wrote to ABC News in an email. "Thousands and thousands of women in our armed forces have given their lives and made tremendous sacrifices, so to have the voice of women combat veterans in Congress is a very important milestone."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Democrats for Lingle’: Hawaii Senate Candidate’s Ad Features Republicans

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(HONOLULU) -- Hawaii GOP Senate candidate Linda Lingle’s newest ad is purported to feature Democrats who support her -- and it does. But the TV spot, originally posted online under the headline "Democrats for Lingle," also features several Republicans.

"I’m a Democrat, and I’m voting for Linda Lingle," says Elaine Slavinsky, the first person to appear onscreen. Slavinsky ran for state Senate as a Republican in 2004.

"I know she’s gonna work with both parties to get things done," says Jan Shishido, who formerly headed the Maui County Republican Party and ran for state House as a Republican in 2004.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee produced research on five other people with varying degrees of GOP affiliation who appear in the ad.

The ad itself does not identify the speakers as Democrats, and the campaign has since changed its online banner to read, “People Across the State Agree.” Slavinsky is the only person in the ad with previous GOP affiliations to identify herself on camera as a Democrat.

The Lingle campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When contacted by the Honolulu Civil Beat, Lingle spokeswoman Corrie Heck told the paper:

"What the DSCC ignores is the three very prominent Democrat leaders featured in the spot: a former Democrat state Senator, the former State protocol officer who worked for 5 of Hawaii’s Governors (four of whom are Democrats), and a self-identified Democrat supporter who plans to vote for President Obama.

While the spot was labeled 'Democrats' during the transfer to the stations, no where in the spot do we state that all individuals featured are Democrats. The spot is about people across the state -- from diverse backgrounds, political affiliations and perspectives -- that agree Linda Lingle is the clear choice for U.S. Senate. As your research will point out, there are several current and retired public school teachers included in the spot, as well as a native Hawaiian community leader, in addition to the Democrat supporters. These individuals are representative of the broad spectrum of supporters who are backing Linda Lingle for U.S. Senate."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Secretary of State Satisfied with Obama Birth Documents

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- The state of Hawaii has confirmed the birth of President Obama in the state, so now his supporters in Arizona who wish to vote for him will get their chance.  Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who earlier this month threatened to keep the president off the Arizona ballot and called for more information about the president's birth certificate, said Wednesday that Hawaii had provided the confirmation he was seeking.

"Late yesterday, our office received the 'verification in-lieu of certified copy' from officials within the Hawaii Department of Health that we requested in March.  They have officially confirmed that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for the President matches the original record in their files," Bennett said in a statement Wednesday.

Birthers believe President Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and have sparked debate about his eligibility to be president.  Bennett has insisted that he is not a birther, but defended his request Wednesday, saying that it was his "responsibility to certify the ballot to the state's 15 counties."

"At the request of numerous constituents, I merely asked Hawaiian officials to verify the information contained within President Obama's original both certificate.  They have complied with the request and I consider the matter closed," Bennett said.

Bennett has not confirmed whether he will request a formal verification of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's Michigan birth certificate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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