Tales from the Trail

Obama remembers Gandhi, and King, in Mumbai


U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first day in India visiting a museum dedicated to the memory of one of his heroes, Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and walking in the footsteps of another, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as he did so.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, located in a home where Gandhi stayed during his nonviolent campaign for India’s independence from the British.

The two Obamas were given a tour of the museum, stopping in the library in front of a bronze relief of Gandhi’s face to sign a guest book.

Obama wrote, “I am filled with hope and inspiration as I have the privilege to visit this testament to Gandhi. He is a hero not just to India, but to the world.” Mrs. Obama wrote: “This visit will be one that I will always remember. …” before signing it.

As he stopped to sign, Obama took note of another signature, from 1959, in another guest book. It was signed by King, who visited India in 1959, 11 years after Gandhi was slain, to draw lessons from the Indian leader’s nonviolent struggle to end 200 years of British rule.

First Lady proposes coup as Obama family finishes Hawaii vacation


All good things must come to an end, including presidential vacations.

After several golf games, beach days and dinners out, President Barack Obama and his family are leaving Hawaii to head back to Washington and the waiting White House.

Unless First Lady Michelle Obama has anything to say about it,  that is.

“I’m trying to mount a coup,” Mrs. Obama joked to reporters about staying in the sunny island state. “Are we all in?”

The president may wish that coup had succeeded when he gets back to Washington on Monday. A debate about U.S. national security in the wake of the attempted  bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day awaits him upon his return.

Which Obama will be Gift Giver-in-Chief?


First lady Michelle Obama’s favorite childhood Christmas present was a dollhouse, a gift that may have presaged her current role as  the nation’s tastemaker, admired and followed for her stylish clothing and the mark she is making on the White House.

“It was a metal dollhouse with plastic furniture,” she told U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey for her upcoming “Christmas at the White House” television special that  airs on ABC at 10 p.m. Sunday.  “… I remember I really didn’t know how to set up a house, so I had all the furniture lined up along the walls as opposed to nestled around the fireplace, but I loved that little dollhouse.”

President Barack Obama’s favorite present? A basketball given by his father, who was absent for most of his childhood, and which the president later realized probably had a lot to do with his lifelong love for the sport.

Mrs. Obama’s Neighborhood

michellehugFirst Lady Michelle Obama’s “new neighborhood tour” landed at a community health center a short distance from the White House on Tuesday.

 She has stopped by a few federal agencies in the three weeks since Barack Obama became president. The nearly hour-long visit to Mary’s Center was Mrs. Obama’s first solo venture into a Washington neighborhood.

“Why did you want to come out and meet us?” asked one of the teens who sat with her. 

Obama takes a break at Kennedy Center show


By Ayesha Rascoe

After a tough week of haggling over an economic stimulus package and cabinet nominee dramas, President Barack Obama took some time to unwind on Friday night and stepped out for a dance show with his family.

Obama, first lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia attended a 50th anniversary celebration performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

The audience at the sold out show greeted the Obamas with raucous applause as the first family waved from a red VIP box decorated with the presidential seal.

Mom wants them to make their beds, but…

The Obama girls had other ideas during their first visit to the White House since their father was elected the next president of the United States. Aided and abetted by President George W. Bush’s daughters, Barbara and Jenna, Malia and Sasha Obama did a little bed jumping during their visit.

First Lady Laura Bush told the story ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t the Lincoln Bedroom,” she explained. “It was another bedroom with a very tall bed that we usually put a step out for people to step into when they stay in that room. But instead the little girls did the running jump, and Barbara and Jenna of course aided and abetted that jumping.”