Tales from the Trail

Obama on conspiracy theories, birth certificates

obama_lightsPresident Barack Obama says most Americans are confident that he is American-born and bred and says the “birther” issue could be a problem for Republican challengers in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Obama addressed the persistent questions about his place of birth when he was invited, during an ABC News interview, to size up his potential opponents.

He was also asked his thoughts on Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican field on “fantasies” about the president’s background.

Obama seemed amused.

“Over the past two-and-a-half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans — but creates, I think, a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the president was born where he says he was, in Hawaii,” Obama said.

“He doesn’t have horns,” he added, laughing.

Obama said people may disagree with him on some issues and worry about the unemployment rate and gas prices but they are “not really worrying about conspiracy theories or — or birth certificates.”

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.

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.

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.

Well it’s nice to be in Hawaii anyway…

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought her diplomatic cavalcade to Honolulu, where on Tuesday she and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada traded notes on South Pacific paradise. USA-PACIFIC/CLINTON

Clinton welcomed Okada to Hawaii, noting the state’s particularly close connection with one of its most famous sons, President Barack Obama — who recently spent his Christmas break nearby.

“He was born here. He grew up here. So we’re especially pleased to have this opportunity to be in Hawaii together,” she said at the start of their talks.

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.

Senate gives Obama Christmas present and then he gets Hawaiian holiday

How much better could it get?

President Barack Obama won a hard-fought victory on his signature domestic issue — healthcare reform — first thing in the morning with the Senate vote and then he left the frozen tundra of Washington, D.C., (we’re talking about the weather) for the balmy tropics of Hawaii. OBAMA/

A sweet start to the Christmas holidays for the first family.

Air Force One landed at Hickam Air Force Base on the island of Oahu (even some of the Secret Service agents on the ground were in Hawaiian shirts) and everyone in the first family was greeted with the traditional lei around their necks.

Then it was off to their Kailua home, past lush green rolling hills, with gawkers stopping to take pictures, wave, call someone, flash the “hang loose” sign and essentially give the Obamas a warm welcome.

Washington Irony Alert!

USA-WEATHER/SNOWSTORMWashington D.C. is usually known as a town that takes itself very seriously. You know, policy, politics, money, relieved by the occasional scandal. President Barack Obama appears to be doing his part to alleviate this metropolitan irony deficiency.

As morning TV showed closed airports, closed schools, snarled traffic and grumpy commuters and holiday travelers, there was video from the White House showing First Dog Bo frolicking in the snow left from a massive weekend storm.

But Obama didn’t stop there. His official schedule has him delivering remarks on making government more efficient and effective. Who doesn’t want that? It’s only slightly ironic that the federal government is closed today, thanks to the snow piled up all over the place, most notably on the city streets.

Hawaii’s favorite son commemorates its new saint

Father Damien de Veuster, one of Hawaii’s most revered figures, was remembered on Friday by the state’s most famous — U.S. President Barack Obama.

The 19th century Roman Catholic priest from Belgium cared for people with leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease, who had been placed in government-sanctioned quarantine on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Father Damien, who eventually contracted the disease and died of it at age 49, is honored around the world as the “leper priest.” He is also considered a patron saint of those who suffer from HIV/AIDS and other diseases.POPE

Hotel will be Obamas’ first home in Washington

KAILUA, Hawaii – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and his family will trade their plush Chicago home for a Washington hotel this weekend when they formally move to the capital.USA-OBAMA/
The Obamas are still vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Oahu but are due to return to Chicago on Thursday in preparation for the relocation to Washington. Obama’s daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, are set to start classes at Sidwell Friends school on Monday.
“They will stay at a Washington hotel through the 15th and then they will move into the Blair House,” a transition aide said, referring to the guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
The Obamas had asked to move into Blair House two weeks before the traditional date of Jan. 15 because of their daughters’ Jan. 5 start at their new school, but the White House said this was not possible because of previously scheduled events.
Obama will formally move into the White House on Jan. 20, the day he is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.
The transition aide said Obama would continue to work on his economic recovery plan to rescue the United States from deep recession in the days leading up to his inauguration.

Photo credit: Reuters/Hugh Gentry  U.S. President-elect Barack Obama with daughters Malia and Sasha in Hawaii, Dec. 30, 2008

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