Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Riding The Obama Wave In Hawaii" (with video)

CBS News with video (01:48):
A Cottage Industry Centered Around The Hometown Hero Has Emerged In The Aloha State--On his family vacation in Hawaii, just the sight of the President-elect trying to eat his tuna sandwich becomes a spectacle, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.
Those who can't capture a glimpse of the future president can now revisit his past.

Narrated tours of Obama's childhood, costing more than $40, are now big business in Honolulu. They stop at the apartment building he grew up in, a favorite lunch hangout and the local ice cream store.

Meanwhile, in the Waikiki Beach tourist shops, vendors are riding the Obama wave.

"We started off with one design, and it just was such a hit we decided to create another design," says Taylor Kwak of Crazy Shirts and T's.

It's all part of the growing Obama brand -- soon to be president but already global celebrity. His family's faces sell millions of magazines, and the paparazzi are making more than the bare minimum on their vacation photos.

And the attention is boosting his hometown of Honolulu. By body surfing at his favorite beach or going out for shaved ice, Obama is now the island's best ambassador.
"Since he is a local boy, he understands the islands and gets out and does the things locals do," says John Monahan of the Oahu Vistor's Bureau.

Honolulu already has a thriving tourist industry. The hope is that Obama will help people see the real Hawaii.
Howie P.S.: Day nine of Obama's "Holiday '08 Aloha Tour" featured a workout, golf and private time: "Another round for Obama," with video (00:30). The AP pool reporter teases with "Obama can't shake the bowling jokes." For comparison purposes, here's video (01:53) from the Western White House in Crawford, TX with an update on the current president's activities from Think Progress, "Gordon Johndroe on Bush's plans to deal with Middle East crisis."

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