Tales from the Trail

Does Obama have hidden talents? New Year’s Eve may bring ‘em to light

Barack Obama may have some talents that the rest of the world doesn’t know about but only a few friends and family members are going to see them.

OBAMA/The Obamas and their friends were to hold an annual talent show Friday night in Hawaii to celebrate New Year’s Eve, a White House spokesman said. No word on what talents would be on display.

Thoughts, anyone? Does Obama’s famous speaking voice also carry a tune?

Meanwhile, the president has been busy golfing, dining out and reading on his vacation in Hawaii.

The three books he is working his way through:

“President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime” by Lou Cannon, “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet” by David Mitchell and “Our Kind of Traitor” by John le Carre.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama waves in Honolulu)

Obama up, Palin down in 2012 poll

President Barack Obama’s reelection prospects seem to be rosier, while former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s chances of being the Republican nominee were souring for 2012, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. But it’s early yet.

USA-ELECTION/Obama is expected to run again in 2012, and CNN said the poll suggests that his tax-cut deal with Republicans, pushed through at year-end, did not hurt him with Democrats.

Among Democrats, 78 percent said Obama should be renominated as the party’s presidential candidate, while 19 percent said they wanted a different candidate. Those readings were the highest and lowest respectively since March 2010, when the poll first asked the question.

Obama, to beat damp Hawaiian weather, takes the kids bowling

President Barack Obama on Monday sought the time honored refuge of any parent dealing with damp vacation weather. Clad in shorts and flip-flops, he took the kids bowling and then bribed them with shave ice.obama_vacation

Marshaling a gang of around 10 children, including his own daughters Sasha and Malia, the president spent several hours bowling and playing basketball with family friends before retreating to a favorite haunt, Island Snow ice parlor in Kailua, for a tasty treat of flavored ice.

“Why don’t you guys go outside so you don’t spill in here,” he instructed the milling children after distributing numerous towering and luridly colored treats, whose exotic flavors included ‘lolo lilikai’ and ‘godzilla grape’. Sasha got a yellow and red shave ice and Malia a tropical blue one.

One less New Year’s resolution for Obama

President Barack Obama can cross at least one New Year’s resolution off his list … quitting smoking.

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, it’s been about 9 months since the president indulged in that habit.

Gibbs tweeted last week “POTUS hasnt’ had a cigarette in about 9 months.” (sic on apostrophe placement)

Obama, facing resurgent Republicans, reaches for Reagan bio

President Barack Obama, facing a divided Congress when he returns to Washington from vacation in early January, has invoked Republican hero Ronald Reagan during his own presidency to muster bipartisan support.

OBAMA/Perhaps he thought he could pick up some tips on how to deal with the other party, which takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives next month. Democrat Obama is now reading a biography of the former Republican president during his Christmas stay with the first family in Hawaii.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs revealed in a tweet on Friday that Obama was reading a biography of Reagan by journalist Lou Cannon.

Washington Extra – Obama has left the building

obama1A very non-lame Lame Duck is just about done and President Barack Obama is off to his Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Aloha, Mr. President, and congratulations on December. Let’s take a moment to recap.

The Senate approved START today. It’s a big deal for U.S.-Russian relations and sends a clear message to Moscow: Work with us, not against us. The president killed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. It was a priority for Obama who promised on the campaign trail to end the ban on gays openly serving in the military. Democrats caved on taxes and approved Obama’s compromise with Republicans — giving the president a chance to take credit, whether it was an optical win or something more substantial notwithstanding.

Now, some of my colleagues in the media biz think all of this adds up to a Comeback Kid moment for Obama. They see this as a great showing for a man who had the cards stacked against him after Democrats’ November drubbing. It’s not a completely off-base analysis, but it is a bit too dramatic for Extra.

This lame duck sure can fly

Congress seems to work better under deadline pressure (like journalists).

Democrats are racing to cram as much through the post-election lame duck session as possible, before their majority turns into a pumpkin when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

HUNGARYRepublicans are grumbling about all the rush, but President Barack Obama went to their pond with some bread — tax cut extensions for the wealthy — so they aren’t quacking too loudly.

The lame duck session of Congress has produced — tax cut extensions have been signed into law, the repeal of “Don’t Ask , Don’t Tell” to allow gays to serve openly in the military will be signed into law tomorrow, and the START treaty is moving toward ratification.

Bo braves rabies shots to share Obama Hawaii holiday

Bo may lead a life of perks and treats at the White House, but the first dog still had to get rabies shots like any other canine visiting Hawaii in order to share the holidays with the president and first family. OBAMA/

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Bo received two rabies vaccinations, an implanted electronic microchip and had to have a blood test to ensure that he was rabies-free.

Janelle Saneishi, spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture, told the newspaper that the White House started the process for Bo after the first family completed their Hawaiian Christmas vacation last year.

Washington Extra – Whose bipartisanship?

The feeling appeared mutual when President Barack Obama shook hands with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell after signing the tax cut bill. It looked like the picture of what Obama called a “bipartisan effort.”  OBAMA/TAXES-SIGNS

McConnell tried not to grin too much over the Republicans winning the war in their efforts to extend tax cuts to the wealthy.

But when it came to Capitol Hill Democrats, there wasn’t much display of unity with even Obama, let alone bipartisanship with the Republicans. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were no-shows at the bill signing.

Palin: White House decision months away

USA/Sarah Palin said in an interview aired on Friday that she is months away from deciding on a run for president but would not be fazed by weak poll numbers if she chose to seek the Republican Party nomination.

“It’s a prayerful consideration,” the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Other folks can jump in and that kind of helps you get that lay of the land. But my decision won’t be made for some months still.”

Palin has become a celebrity of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement over the past two years by gaining recognition as a  best-selling author, a television pundit and the host of her own TV reality show. She is currently promoting her second book, “America by Heart.”