Hawaiian ‘shaka’ greeting comes natural to Obama

December 27, 2008

USA-OBAMA/KAILUA, HI – Barack Obama may be the first U.S. president who can successfully pull off the shaka, a Hawaiian greeting Hawaiians say has various meanings, from “hang loose” and “cool” to “thanks.”
    
The hand gesture, also a common greeting in surfer culture, consists of curling the three middle fingers and extending the thumb and little finger.
    
The president-elect, looking uber-cool with his White Sox baseball cap on backwards, flipped the shaka to a crowd of about 30 people as he left a gym on a Marine Corps base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he is vacationing.
    
Obama, born and largely raised on Oahu, then walked over to greet the crowd, which had waited through a brief cloudburst to see him. Righting his baseball cap as he walked, he shook hands before posing with four babies.

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57 comments

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catchers in baseball wear hats in that fashion. usa needs more hitters and pitchers than catchers. berra was good, but mantle, dimaggio, williams, and the babe understood. repect is earned and not to be confused with imagery. leaders should be considerate of photo’s showing one catching rather than hitting or pitching. the usa needs……….?

please do not wear hat backwards in public

Posted by terry sousa | Report as abusive

I wonder if the President-Elect speaks any other languages.

Posted by dmjakers | Report as abusive

this photo still concerns me, he is my president. he is not our buddy or the guy next door. having traveled this planet, i understand how, in difficult times this sort of innocent photo op. can be used. surround him with those with int’l street smarts. try using the usa hand sign for ok in brazil and LEARN!

Clothes do NOT make the man. We need to give our President Elect a break and let him be relaxed (in a seriously casual and laid back place). The press and people looking for a photo are the ones exploiting innocent carefree moments of a private vacation he and his family are attempting to have before picking up the reins of government. We need to be asking ourselves what we can do to support him and the heavy load he has taken on to serve the American people not invading his privacy then criticizing him for
not dressing the we deem appropriate.

Posted by Virginia Carnohan | Report as abusive

Please give our new President a chance and stop talking like idiots

Posted by Joseph | Report as abusive

I’d like to change the focus from the photo to the reporter.
Does this qualify as objective reporting when the author states that the prez-elect is “uber-cool”

Posted by TimB | Report as abusive

Joseph,
He is not our president. George W. Bush is our president until January 20, 2009.

Classy. My unemployed 21 year old gave up the backwards hat after high school. Now If I can get him off of the Xbox long enough for him to fill out a job application….
maybe after his NBA 2009 basketball game? He thinks the P-E is cool.

He looks like an aging rapper. keep on smoking those cigs O – that should help your work out.

Posted by GANSTA | Report as abusive

Good grief. An “uber-cool” president is just what we need. The PEBHO needs to grow up.

Posted by Sue | Report as abusive

Ross Calvin, you should get a job at Tiger Beat, and give up your job at AP. Our president-elect is “uber-cool”? What are you, 13?

Posted by SK | Report as abusive

What a clown! Does this fool remember he represents America now? Not just inner-city Chicago.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

All that’s missing is the bling. Maybe he’ll cut a rap album and ignore this President thing. what remains to be seen is how much he can degrade the Presidency.

Posted by drjohn | Report as abusive

Bush can run a marathon and all we hear is how great shape this guy is in. He still smokes.

“uber cool”?

Give me a break. Journalism is definitely dead. Colvin clearly is looking for a bromance.

Posted by drjohn | Report as abusive

Ross, we know the press is about 85% Democrat, but please stop salivating whenever you write about Obama.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Uber cool? The honeymoon clearly isn’t over yet.

Posted by David123456 | Report as abusive

I’m trying to get my 22 year old to stop dressing like a teenager. It counts. This is not “cool”, but, if that’s all ya got.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Will the MSM please stop its fawning adulation of the yet to be inaugurated president *elect*. Will the MSM dare disturb/criticize the new prez who will just need to “finish his last set” after terrorists strike again (as foretold by the veep elect) ?. To the poster who said we need to give the Prez Elect a “break’, when pray tell did the lefty media *ever* give GWB a break?. (crickets)

Posted by antne | Report as abusive

“Please give our new President a chance and stop talking like idiots”

Obama should get all the support he gave to his President.

Posted by drjohn | Report as abusive

Oh great now the world sees our future president with his hat on backwards. Guy never left Chicago I guess.

Posted by Scorch | Report as abusive

Uber cool?

Ross… try and control yourself.

Posted by Buck | Report as abusive

Obama seems to think he is the winner of America’s Next Idol and forgetting he is the President of the United States…

Any other near 50-year olds wear their baseball cap backwards in public???

Posted by Waiikiikii | Report as abusive

Grow up America, Obama is just the fun loving uncle who was your favorite as a child, and reality is about to put your adolescent ass out on the street alone and clueless.

Posted by Pigeater | Report as abusive

He may relax while he has the opportunity. He is about to embark on one of the most thankless tasks in the world. He’ll not have as much time to try to convince us that he is fit. Just watch as his hair goes grey over the next 4 years.

Posted by Paul UK | Report as abusive

This is not what America needs right now. All the pics of Obama with his shirt off, the plethora of halo and messianic pics, and now this picture, reveals the narcissistic and immature side of the O – but it certainly resonates with the emotional heart-strings of media and the 18-30 crowd. Someone needs to explain the word ‘dignity’ to Obama.

Posted by Dee | Report as abusive

That backwards hat makes him look uber stupid. He can’t seem to escape the clutches of the soutside of Chicago which is not good for America. Talk about low class. Ugh. This is getting uber ugly and he’s not even in office yet. Grow up Barry.

Posted by Spanky | Report as abusive

Ross, if you can stop fawning and slobbering for a minute, wipe the drool off your chin and dig out the grammar book. Look up “adverbs”.

Or better still, seek more suitable employment. Something in the food service or housekeeping industries would keep you in cookies, and then you can spend your free time genuflecting in the direction of Dear Leader.

Posted by novaculus | Report as abusive

[...] on the company blog, though. Rest assured, for wire stories they put their Serious Journalist caps [...]

I am not an Obama fan, but I have no problems with the hat being on backwards. Nor, do I it is immature. The guy was coming out of a gym. If he wore the hat backwards to a G8 summit or something important, then it would be dumb.

I am pleased that all I have to do to be super cool is wear my hat backwards and “flip the shaka”.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

What more concerns me is the show of temper lately. Clearly he is a thin skinned, angry person. If this is what he is like at the beginning, what will he be like after a couple of years. The Media used to criticize Reagan for being old with his hand on the nuke button. I far more fear an immature, backward hat wearing socialist fool than an older man that brought down the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

So the President elect of the most powerful Nation in the world, the Nation that is the mentor to billions in the world that worship freedom, the man who will have in his possession the nuclear codes that could incinerate the world, the man expected to protect much of the world from the murderous dictators in the world, walks around with his head on backwards – oh excuse me – his hat on backwards….like some two bit gang banger that pulls up alongside you with his hat on backwards and rap music blaring as loud as he can get it on his car stereo.

Posted by mary | Report as abusive

You have got to be kidding me, with all that is happening in the world this is what Reuters things is news? If you want to know why the public no longer trust or has faith in the media this article is just another example.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Wow! Now THAT’S reporting.

Great job!!!

Posted by GEAH | Report as abusive

[...] “The president-elect, looking uber-cool with his White Sox baseball cap on backwards, flipped the shaka to a crowd of about 30 people as he left a gym on a Marine Corps base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he is vacationing.” ~ Ross Colvin, Reuters [...]

He looks like a “gangsta” kid. Does not have the appearance or gravitas of the soon to be President of the United States. Echoing what someone else previously said, this in not what our country needs right now.

Posted by a mom | Report as abusive

[...] HERE. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Media Bias You Can Believe InSpeaking of biting [...]

Another media tongue-bath for the PEBO.

And as previously mentioned…you get what you receive. After 8 years of left-wing BS directed at MY president, you’ll take some in return. Fair’s fair.

Excepting PEBO’s pecs & stuff, of course.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

[...] the media slurpfest continues. Although, this appeared “only” on the the company blog, you gotta love Ross Colvin’s excitement. This “uber-cool” statement reminds me [...]

Yikes.
More hero worship, and to such a ridiculous degree. Folks, we have the first American Idol president.
Simon: “You have something unique, and that’s that you look good”
Paula: “Oh.. I need time to judge you, Mr. President-elect. Could you come to my house?”
Randy: “You the president, Dog!”

Yikes.

-John

Posted by John | Report as abusive

C’mon, guys. When you’re uber-cool, you can wear your ball cap any darn way you want. If the EUniks don’t like it, too bad for their wimpy selves. We can conquer them anytime we want, because we’re uber-cool, too!

Posted by Carlos22 | Report as abusive

Sweet Weeping Willow. Could Mr. Colvin raise his loins any higher in the direction of Obama’s face?

This is bad for a high school girl, but for a professional journalist? I’m cringing for him.

If he wants to write about a bad-ass whom he could never hope to be, he should write about a marine, not this ivory-towered poseur with less street cred than Barry Goldwater.

First off “uber” is German for over not super as SNL would have you believe. So you think Obama is over-cool. Not even close. He is a socialist. Nothing cool about that. He wears his hat backwards? Just another case of someone not knowing how to dress himself.

oh my word … our future president looks like an over-age rap star wannabe …. what is this country coming to?

Posted by kmarie86 | Report as abusive

Journalism is truly dead.

Posted by Infidel | Report as abusive

You guys need to get a grip. Have you read the other stories here? It’s no big deal. Take a hit from the clue bong and relax. I would rather have the President shaka me than run me over with some fake brush clearing in Texas or lock me up for saying something President Cheny didn’t like any day.
Big difference I think. I can relate to the president-elect. The current and soon to be former resident? Not so much.

Posted by Kaua`i Don | Report as abusive

oh my god, the right wing will do anything to put down this president…you guys tried to elect a 70+ old man and a brainless governor, (not the one from illinois, they have their own problems) the one just within sight of Russa, which somehow qualifies her for what??. you guys just can’t get it yet…you lost and it’s over. stop being so petty. we’re tired of old men who live in another world other then ours…we finally have someone who has some common sense not comic sense.

Posted by johnd | Report as abusive

I don’t remember any fawning media missives on Bush’s brush-clearing skills. But wear your hat backwards and flash some quasi-native hand gesture, and professional journalistic integrity goes down on its knees and opens its mouth wide in adoration. Forget that he has no idea what he’s doing. He wears his hat backwards. And that’s important.

Oh, and how is Obama more qualified than Sarah Palin or McCain? What business did he run? What state has he run? What prison camp was he tortured in because he fought for his country? How has his state benefitted from his magnificent presence? What has he done in Illinois that we would want to see done to the rest of the country? Chicago is not a hopeful city, nor is Illinois a hopeful state. Maybe we should be asking why that is the case when they’ve been blessed with The Glorious and Uber-Cool One for so long.

Granted these questions should have been asked before the election, but better late than never. Maybe if enough people people comment, we can put the brave, objective, ever-inquisitive press on the trail of some real stories with a little risk.

Thanks for the greet President Elect Obama, much love to you also. I hope you continue to enjoy your fun in the sun and looking forward to seeing you on January 20 2009 at the Inauguration. God Bless America!

Posted by Nisey01 | Report as abusive

What an interesting article about our future President. President Elect Obama, all I can say is that you are on the minds of millions to the point that “they can’t take their eyes off of you”. However, in this world of uncertainity and all the luggage left from the Bush administration, you deserve a relaxation break to prepare for such a mess, yet I know you will do “just fine” and thanks for the superb cabinet that you handpicked to be their for your assistance. You go President Elect Obama and all that the world can do to help, I feel the spirit of unity “right here” in your corner including myself. Everything is going to be alright. God Bless America!

Posted by Nisey01 | Report as abusive

[...] zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz but Obama is uber-cool! Front Row Washington

What fun these next four years are going to be!

It is sad and scary that the late night and Comedy Central comedians will be eerily silent on this president. Their typical jokes about this kind of subject matter will be absent.

We’re all just supposed to smile and say, “Everything is good! Do not mock the ruler! Doing so is unpatrioti…er…unfair!”

Posted by Tariq Aziz | Report as abusive

We’ve achieved the cultural nadir in this country. Uber cool? I truly believe this man is in love with playing the role of the president. He’s Narcissus- elect: the hat on backwards, the bare chest, publishing the note he left in the Western Wall, the fake presidential seal. Can’t you just see him practicing in the mirror for his role?

Posted by liam | Report as abusive

gosh, I’m so glad that we elected a President who brings dignity and regal bearing to the office.

Grown men don’t wear their hats backwards. Neither do hip urban kids, for that matter.

Posted by Matt in Va | Report as abusive

You silly commentators. Get Hipped, like the Main Scream Media. The hat just means that while, the economy is in the dumps, (and he has no idea how it got there and how to revive it), Russia and China are plotting, Iran is Nuclear, Castro and Chavez will have the same system that Europe is acquiring, to defend, (attack), the Imperialist invasion, Israel is in a real war with Hammas, (Iran), Imigration has not been resolved, and his part in the Blago case is still unclear, Lame Duck President-Elect is looking the other way and trying to look cool. Looking cool is not going to cut it, he will have to get down and dirty before the term is over, or it will be the USA that will be over.

Posted by Your Cousin Vinnie | Report as abusive

johnd, that’s an interesting post… considering that the left (and probably you, too) has been squealing about G.W. Bush since the 2000 election. The Left and their trite little “bumper sticker” sayings: I can clearly recall “Bush was Selected, Not Elected” (only because I’ve seen and heard it for eight danged years). Now it’s OUR turn. Deal with it!

As for Obama, he’s a socialist (and his citizenship has yet to be conclusively proven — a matter for another debate) who not only bought the election, but will think nothing of disarming this country’s citizenry, curtailing freedom of speech, re-writing or completely disposing of the Constitution, reducing our defenses to next to nothing and leaving our country open to her enemies. Have you not heard him say how he wants to create a “civilian defense force?” You have to ask: Why do we need this? To defend against the citizens of our country? Is what he has planned so sinister that, after we’re all disarmed through “gun control,” he’ll need a “civilian defense force” to keep us all in line?

Jeez! Give it some thought and do some research, will ya? Mainstream media isn’t going to report it because, like the author of the article above, they’re too busy worshiping at the altar of The One.

Only no-brainers who can’t think past the next episode of American Idol or America’s Next Top Model or America’s Got Talent voted for this man. If you’d cared enough to look beyond the rock star image (or maybe now it’s the rap star image), you’d see just how corrupt this man and those around him really are.

Finally with regard to “Change We Can Believe In…” another “bumper sticker” catch phrase (that ends in a preposition, by the way). What does it mean? No one really knows, but it SOUNDS good, doesn’t it? I suspect that the reality will more likely be something like “Change Like You Won’t Believe!”

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the picture used for this story makes Obama look like a punk. It reminds me of how much Dukakis looked like a dolt when he wore that oversized helmet in the tank during the 1988 presidential election.

Besides it is very unpresidential. Remember when Carter tried to wear a shirt with no tie and blue jeans during the first few years of his term? That was unpresidential also.

Democrats always do stuff like this. I don’t know why.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

[...] Reuters: Barack Obama may be the first U.S. president who can successfully pull off the shaka, a Hawaiian greeting Hawaiians say has various meanings, from “hang loose” and “cool” to “thanks.” The hand gesture, also a common greeting in surfer culture, consists of curling the three middle fingers and extending the thumb and little finger. The president-elect, looking uber-cool with his White Sox baseball cap on backwards, flipped the shaka to a crowd of about 30 people as he left a gym on a Marine Corps base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu… [...]

The president whose from Hawaii uses the shaka!! Horrors!! He must be a secret, chicago machine funded, socialst, Gangsta!!! Eeek! Those preschoolers and grandmas (and every other Hawaian and every tourist whose spent more than two minutes in Hawaii) who use the shaka greeting…Also secret, chicago machine funded, socialist, Gangsta’s!
A backwards hat!!!! What in tarnation has come of this here country?!? Why pretty soon wimmens will be a’wearin’ pants.

Posted by Em | Report as abusive

Why are people offended by a Hawaiian acting like a Hawaiian, but not by a fake cowboy doing a bad imitation of a good ole boy?

Posted by Em | Report as abusive

Wow, I didn’t know “über-cool” was wearing a hat backwards! By the way, Reuters, if you took your journalists/typists heads out of Obama’s butt long enough, you’d realize that, Mr. Bowling isn’t that cool. Maybe it’s the stuttering when not in front of a teleprompter or how he seems to stumble on basic facts (57 states, anyone?), but “cool” ain’t it. He can deliver a speech, though. And he’s Hawaiian. And uh, umm, uh, he’s about as qualified as Princess Kennedy-Schlossberg. How many times did she say “ya know” in a TWO AND A HALF MINUTE INTERVIEW? ONE HUNDRED FORTY-TWO TIMES, ya know. If that was Palin, Reuters would have that as a lead story for weeks. Here’s what AMERICA thinks is cool, Reuters, a woman that can shoot a gun, change local and state politics for the better, raise her kids, look hot and not give a damn about what stupid, self-serving typists in the very liberal media say about her. You liberal “journalists” (just typists, really) have no integrity to report hard news stories with damaging implications about your precious Democrats, going so low as to refuse to indicate party affiliation (D) just because you idiots WANT TO LEAVE IT OUT! That’s why your services are not going to be needed soon. REAL journalists, not the typists at Reuters, don’t care who gets caught in a story and report the facts. You may now return your heads to Uhbama’s butt where you feel safe.

Posted by Tider1701 | Report as abusive

[...] I don’t mean ’cause Mr. Hope and Change was elected. I mean like [...]

People here are missing the point. We’re arguing that the media is not being the media. Have they even analyzed Obama’s plans or how he’s going to lead? What about what Obama has done for Illinois? You know, like a journalist for Reuters is supposed to do?

Journalistic integrity is dead in this country.

Posted by Jethro | Report as abusive