Friday, December 26, 2008

"Obama drops in at Marine base in Hawaii to say Merry Christmas" (with video)

Honolulu Advertiser with video (01:08):
Season's greetings, small talk at on-base holiday meal--KANE'OHE BAY — Before sitting down to his own Christmas dinner yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama spent about an hour shaking hands and taking pictures with more than 100 Marines and sailors gathered for a Christmas Day meal.

"I just wanted to say 'Hi,' " Obama said to service members, shortly after walking into Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i, where mostly single Marines and sailors had convened for a Christmas feast of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and other holiday favorites.
Obama, wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt and dark slacks, walked from table to table greeting people, many of whom stood up to shake the president-elect's hand, snap a photo with him or grab an autograph.

Obama thanked the Marines and sailors for their service and wished them a "Merry Christmas." He also exchanged small talk with a few. "How's everyone?" he asked one table of four. "You guys have a good one," he told another.

Linh Tran, a cook for Anderson Hall who helped prepare the holiday meal for the service members, said he was delighted that Obama stopped by. "I'm impressed," said Tran, adding he never thought he'd get to see Obama up close. "I voted for him. I like him."

Obama didn't make any formal remarks or talk to reporters during the stop.

The Christmas Day appearance was Obama's only outing yesterday from the exclusive Kailua rental where he and his family are staying during their Hawai'i vacation. Aides said that the Obamas spent a quiet morning yesterday opening gifts with their daughters.

Last night, the family ate a Christmas dinner with turkey and ham.

Obama, his wife and two daughters are spending almost two weeks on vacation in the Islands. So far, the family has kept a low profile, though the president-elect and wife Michelle have become familiar faces at the Marine base this week, using its exercise facilities for early-morning workouts. The base is just minutes where the Obamas are staying.

Obama came back to the Islands for the holidays for a quick reprieve and to honor his grandmother, who died two days before his election victory. On Tuesday, Obama and his family held a private service for Madelyn Dunham, who died of cancer at age 86.

Dunham, whose ashes were then scattered at Lana'i Lookout, raised Obama.

Obama was last in the Islands in October, to visit his ailing grandmother.

He last stayed in Kailua in August, when he took a weeklong vacation with his family.

During that trip, Obama hit many of the major tourist highlights on O'ahu, such as the USS Arizona Memorial, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and Hanauma Bay, and threw in lots of typical local activities that included bodysurfing at Sandy Beach, having shave ice with his daughters and squeezing in a couple of rounds of golf.
Obama was born in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou School. He has routinely made Christmas visits to the Islands, but missed a trip last year.

No comments: