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, 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.

On rainy Martha’s Vineyard, Obama hunkers down — and reads

USA/So much for perfecting that golf game.

President Barack Obama has spent a lot of time indoors during his vacation. The posh island of Martha’s Vineyard has had a spot of bad weather — as in rain, rain, and more rain.

That means the sporty president, who likes to spend his free time on the greens, hasn’t made it to a golf course since Sunday, when his game almost got canceled because of impending storms.

Since then he’s been hanging out at the rented compound he is sharing with his family, playing games and reading books.

Obama unwinds into summer vacation, reading list revealed

Finally,  the presidential summer reading list is revealed — well, one book anyway.

OBAMA/President Barack Obama took his daughters book browsing on Day 2 of the First Family’s summer vacation on the upscale Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Obama, casually dressed and sporting a baseball cup of his beloved White Sox, greeted and shook the hands of surprised shoppers in The Bunch of Grapes book store on Main Street in the pretty seaside town of Vineyard Haven, before leading Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, upstairs to browse.

Politics beckon again as Obama’s Maine getaway ends

After a laid-back family getaway on Maine’s scenic shoreline, it’s back to political reality for President Barack Obama.

The first family wrapped up a three-day mini-vacation in the upscale Bar Harbor resort and boarded a small presidential jet headed for Washington, where Obama will again face the daily pressures and policy battles. OBAMA/

In the coming week, he will weigh the latest dose of good news together with lingering concerns about the BP oil spill, sign a Wall Street overhaul into law and hold talks with new British Prime Minister David Cameron. Enduring problems like the struggling economy, high unemployment and the war in Afghanistan also remain on his plate.

Obama’s “winter White House”

USA-OBAMA/President Barack Obama’s “winter White House” has a few perks that even the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can’t claim. Purple taro chips, for one. A breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, for another.

The Obama family is renting a $4,000-a-night Hawaiian home in Kailua, on the windward side of the island of Oahu. Centered on a lagoon-like pool, it’s got plenty of open space and privacy for Malia and Sasha. ABC’s Good Morning America offered a video tour of the place, which is on the market for $8.9 million.

Kailua beach is one of the most gorgeous in the Hawaiian Islands, though less reliably sunny than Waikiki. It’s also familiar to the first family: they stayed here last year after the 2008 elections. They also are renting two neighboring houses for family and friends.