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Obama visits military base on Christmas - AP

Yrys

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Obama visits military base on Christmas
Comes as he spends a private holiday with his family in Hawaii

KAILUA, Hawaii - President-elect Barack Obama visited U.S. military families
while they ate Christmas Day dinner, thanking them for their service and
posing for pictures.

Obama on Thursday visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii near his rented vacation
home and briefly chatted with enlisted members who ate turkey, ham and
roast beef. He didn't make formal remarks or speak to reporters during the stop,
one of the few public sightings of the president-elect on what aides call
a private family vacation.

"Hey," Obama said as he walked into the mess hall wearing a short-sleeved
shirt and slacks. "Just wanted to say 'hi.'" Obama lingered a few minutes at
each table as the Marines and sailors and their families stood to greet their
next commander in chief. At other tables, the visitors ate candied sweet
potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes and simmered corn
and broccoli.

"What part of Indiana?" he asked one person. To another: "This is the East
Coast table, huh?"

Obama and his family planned to spend their Christmas holiday mostly out
of sight, an accomplishment given his two-year, high-profile marathon to win
the presidency. Obama, wife Michelle and their two young daughters opened
presents earlier Thursday and planned their own dinner of turkey and ham,
according to aides. They did not release any other details.

Message to the military

The Obamas arrived in Honolulu on Saturday with four aides, his Secret Service
detail and a small group of journalists. Since then, he has been largely
sequestered at the beachfront estate.

On Christmas Eve, Obama's aides released a recorded message of appreciation
to the military "serving their second, third or even fourth tour of duty."
"This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted knowing
that a loved one is absent, and sometimes in danger," Obama said in the message,
set to air Saturday morning. "In towns and cities across America, there is an empty
seat at the dinner table; in distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and
women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home."

Obama asked the country to look to George Washington's improbable crossing on the
Delaware River on Christmas Day as inspiration to get through current tough times.
The president-elect said in a holiday message that Washington and his army "faced
impossible odds" as they fought against the British on Dec. 25, 1776, the day they
surprised Hessian forces and won victories that gave new momentum and hope to
American independence.

A very private holiday

With less a month before Obama takes office on Jan. 20, he is taking every step
possible to make sure this holiday is as private as possible — something he
bemoaned while walking to a driving range last Sunday. "OK, guys," Obama said,
recognizing the photographers snapping pictures. "Come on. ... How many shots
do you need?"

That was one of only a handful of trips Obama and his motorcade have taken.
He and Michelle Obama have visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii for daily morning
workouts. Twice, he and friends have played a round of golf. He attended a private
memorial service for his grandmother on Tuesday and scattered her ashes into
the Pacific Ocean.

And that's been it.

While the Democratic president-elect vacations in his native Hawaii through the New
Year, he and his aides have taken careful steps to minimize his profile. He has no
public schedule while vacationing, although he remains involved in transition plans
and has received intelligence briefings.

While Obama's aides have taken steps to keep the vacation low-profile, he hasn't
been entirely successful. Photographers captured images of him scattering his
grandmother's ashes from a rock ledge on Tuesday while the press corps waited
in a bus. Another photographer captured the future first family — including a
shirtless Obama — in the backyard.

The Secret Service has blocked the street where he is staying, citing security
concerns. A few cars a day have rolled into the dead-end street, but they did
not get past the checkpoint. And a few neighbors who tried to walk past the
house on Christmas Day were rebuffed by agents.

One man left with an aide a Christmas card addressed to the Obama family.
It featured a palm tree with the word "peace" written on it.
 

Yrys

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Obama says goodbye to late grandmother in Hawaii

HONOLULU - President-elect Barack Obama paid his last respects on Tuesday
to the woman he called the rock of his family, the grandmother who helped to
raise him, before scattering her ashes from a Hawaiian shoreline.

Madelyn Dunham, known to Obama as Toot, short for Tutu, the Hawaiian word
for grandmother, took him in when his mother went to work in Indonesia and
put him through private school.

Dunham was one of the main formative influences on Obama's life but she did
not live to see him win office. She died of cancer at 86 just two days before he
won the November 4 election.The demands of the presidential campaign meant
Obama was unable to fly to Hawaii for her funeral. But on Tuesday, he finally
bade her farewell at a memorial service attended by friends and family, including
his wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.

Obama is in Hawaii for a two-week Christmas holiday before he resumes his
preparations to take office as president on January 20.

Media were kept away from the First Unitarian Church in Honolulu on the island
of Oahu. After the service, Obama and about a dozen others traveled to Lanai
Lookout on the southeast corner of Oahu, scrambling over a wall and down to
the rocky shoreline to scatter his grandmother's ashes. It was the same place
where Obama had scattered his mother's ashes after her death more than a
decade ago.

Obama's sister said in a statement earlier that the memorial service would
allow him to "grieve and emotionally process" the loss of the woman he called
the rock of his family and whose name he frequently invoked on the campaign trail.

"She proved to be a trailblazer of sorts," Obama wrote in "Dreams from My Father,"
his best-selling memoir, saying his grandmother was "the first woman vice-president
of a local bank" after starting out as a secretary to help pay the costs of his
unexpected birth.

Obama last saw her in October, when he abruptly left the campaign trail and flew to
her bedside, saying he did not want to repeat the mistake he made with his mother,
who died of cancer in 1995 before he was able to see her.

In interviews and speeches, Obama has attributed many character attributes to his
grandmother, who raised him in the absence of his traveling mother and his father,
who lived in Kenya. "She's the one who taught me about hard work," Obama told
a packed stadium in Denver in August when he accepted the Democratic presidential
nomination. "She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself
so that I could have a better life."

At an election rally on November 3, the day after her death and the day before his
election as president, Obama gave his grandmother a poignant epitaph.

"She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America," he said.
"They're not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every
day they work hard. They aren't seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do
the right thing."
 

Fishbone Jones

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This stuff is great! With this, and everything else he's getting in the news for, he hasn't even been sworn in and he's already burning up his first 100 days ( a very important milestone in US politics). ;D By the time he takes his oath, he'll already be old news and the blame for everything that happens. He might has well been elected last year, cause he's acting like he's been there forever already.
 

Yrys

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Barack Obama's pictures of his visit to US Marines having Christmas dinner at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii are no 1 to 6.
 

Yrys

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Power blackout in Hawaii left Obama family in dark, Reuters

HONOLULU (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama was without electricity
for 12 hours at his vacation home on Oahu after a suspected lightning strike blacked
out Hawaii's most populous island, an aide said on Saturday.

The outage on Friday night left hundreds of thousands of people, including Obama
and his family, in the dark as an electrical storm rolled over the island. The Obamas
are staying at a heavily guarded beachfront villa in eastern Oahu.

"Power was restored to the residence during the 6 o'clock hour this morning. The
Obama family is grateful for the offers of assistance from local officials," said Ben
Labolt, a spokesman for Obama.

Those offers included a generator from the Hawaiian Electricity Company, but an
Obama aide said the family did not use one. It was not immediately clear why.

No additional security measures were visible on Friday night at the compound,
which is guarded by Secret Service agents, and no attempt was made to move
the Obamas through darkened streets to a nearby Marine Corps military base.

Hawaiian Electricity Company spokesman Peter Rosegg said power had been
restored to most of the island, home to about 900,000 people, by Saturday
afternoon. Full restoration should be completed by nightfall, he said. The
cause of the outage was still not known, but it may have been due to an
electrical storm that knocked out four power transmission lines, he said.

Bill Brennan, spokesman for Honolulu, said Mayor Mufi Hannemann relayed
a message to the president-elect's beachfront villa between 9 p.m. and 10
p.m. on Friday asking whether the Obamas needed anything. "He said they
were fine, safe and secure and thank you for asking," Brennan said.

Obama, who was born in Hawaii, arrived for a 12-day vacation with his family
on December 20. The Obamas are in Kailua with close friends from Chicago
and their families.

The outage knocked out traffic lights and snarled traffic on major roads. In
Waikiki, the hub of Hawaii's tourist industry, guests left their hotels in search
of food and water. Lines formed outside convenience stores, and some had
to wait an hour to buy supplies.
 
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