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Obama presidential library search kicks off

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press


WASHINGTON >> The formal process to build a library housing President Barack Obama's presidential records and artifacts began today with the formation of a new foundation, launched by top supporters with Obama's blessing, that will develop and build the monument to his legacy.

The nonprofit Barack H. Obama Foundation will be led by Marty Nesbitt, a close Obama friend from Chicago who has also golfed with the president in Hawaii, and Julianna Smoot, a former White House social secretary and top official in Obama's re-election campaign.

A vigorous competition to host the library is already underway. Hawaii, where Obama was born, and Illinois, his longtime home, have been lobbying the Obamas both publicly and privately. New York, where Obama went to college, also has expressed interest.

With so many of Obama's aides and supporters calling Chicago home, the focus has increasingly turned to the Windy City, where Obama was first elected and came into his own as a national political figure. The involvement of Nesbitt, a Chicago businessman, in forming the foundation is likely to amplify speculation that Chicago has an inside track to getting the library. The third founding member of the nonprofit's board, Kevin Poorman, is also based in Chicago and runs a company formed by Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, who is now Obama's commerce secretary.

"No specific site, institution, city or state is advantaged over another at this point," Nesbitt said. "The ultimate site will be chosen based on the merits."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, said Chicago is "undeniably a natural fit" to host an Obama library and museum.

"Though we're excited to welcome the president home, we are not resting on our laurels and will put forward a competitive proposal so that his choice is an easy one," Emanuel said.

In February, the foundation will ask parties that want to host the library to make their interest known. That list will be culled and in May, the foundation will notify the groups that will be invited to submit formal, detailed proposals. The president and first lady Michelle Obama will make the final decision, and the foundation will announce it in early 2015.

"He has asked us to lead the planning and development of a library in a way that reflects his values and priorities over the course of his career in public service," Nesbitt said in an interview -- values like expanding economic opportunity, promoting peace and dignity abroad, and inspiring the ethic of American citizenship. "He picked a team of people to lead the process that he feels are close enough to him to understand that vision."

The foundation plans to hire fulltime staff later this year. Although it will start fundraising right away to cover its own costs, most of the money to build the library won't be raised until after Obama leaves the White House. While Obama is still in office, the foundation won't take donations from foreign nationals, lobbyists or organizations that aren't nonprofits. It also plans to disclose all donations over $200.

The president, Mrs. Obama and White House staffers won't raise money for the foundation until Obama leaves office, the group said. Obama will be kept up to date but won't be closely involved in the screening of the site proposals.

Although it's not unusual for presidents to kick off the search for their library this early -- both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton started early in their second term -- the foundation will also serve as a reminder that the clock is ticking on Obama's presidency, with three years to go.

At the White House, Obama's deputy chief of staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco, has been tapped as the point person for all things related to the library. Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser and Obama confidante from Chicago, also is involved.

In addition to serving as the official repository for presidential records and artifacts, the libraries often have an accompanying presidential center as a vehicle for ex-presidents to promoting policies and coordinate humanitarian efforts after leaving office. Some groups already vying for Obama's library have proposed that he build a center or institute in one location and the library in another.

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lee1957 wrote:
I think Chicago would be an excellent choice, but that would upset alot of toady academics from Manoa.
on January 31,2014 | 10:25AM
kuroiwaj wrote:
I second the motion.
on January 31,2014 | 10:54AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Third the motion...Chicago is a logical choice
on January 31,2014 | 11:03AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
Fourth the motion.. Robert's rules?
on January 31,2014 | 03:46PM
Coldwater wrote:
Done next item on list.
on January 31,2014 | 04:21PM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Not yet! If the decision is to have one here, let those who want it pay for it.
on January 31,2014 | 07:21PM
hanalei395 wrote:
The Obama library will be built wherever Obama wants it to be built. It is up to Obama, and NOBODY else.
on January 31,2014 | 11:04AM
lee1957 wrote:
Ya think? Duh.
on January 31,2014 | 11:17AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The ones who "second the motion", ETC., of your "suggestion" ...... didn't think. (Duh).
on January 31,2014 | 11:24AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
on January 31,2014 | 03:45PM
roadsterred wrote:
Chicago gets my vote.
on January 31,2014 | 10:48AM
calentura wrote:
I can't think of a better place to donate my collection of Freak Brother comics.
on January 31,2014 | 10:49AM
HOSSANA wrote:
It would be utterly absurb and ignorant not to say a waste of monies to build the Obammy library here. For what purpose?? To draw more tourists!! That's the most ridiculous premise yet. Who the hell is going to spend the monies to fly all the way here to do research...yes, maybe 2-3% but the HTA is talking about an influx of tourists and that is a scam on the people in this state for a President who is probably one of the most unpopular Presidents that even his own party is telling him not to get close to the candidates running for elective office this year. JUST PLAIN STUPIDITY TO WASTE PRECIOUS LAND IN KAKAAKO TO BUILD THAT LIBRARY!
on January 31,2014 | 10:51AM
JBIV wrote:
It's a slam dunk. Chicago is the only logical choice.
on January 31,2014 | 10:53AM
Jerry_D wrote:
Yeah, put it in Chicago. Or more appropriately, Indonesia.
on January 31,2014 | 10:56AM
sukebesan wrote:
Chicago gets my vote too! Land in Kakaako is too prime, valuable and limited to house a useless facility that very few people will visit or use.
on January 31,2014 | 11:07AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The smart money around town believes the Library will go to Chicago and a presidential center will be built on the Kaka'ako makai lands on the corner by Point Panic where the UH has a facility right now. I mean, come on, this shows up in the existing makai lands development concept.
on January 31,2014 | 11:12AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
on January 31,2014 | 03:47PM
coyote wrote:
on January 31,2014 | 11:58AM
HOSSANA wrote:
on January 31,2014 | 03:35PM
scooters wrote:
on January 31,2014 | 12:22PM
scooters wrote:
How about in one of his beloved Muslim countries.
on January 31,2014 | 12:23PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Another idi0t suggested Kenya. How about that one?
on January 31,2014 | 12:28PM
thepartyfirst wrote:
hanalei395-why is idi0t a famous word of late?
on January 31,2014 | 01:27PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Not you. Another one.
on January 31,2014 | 01:37PM
steveoctober wrote:
Sorry, but not a single penny of tax dollars should be spent on this. Not when buildings at UH have had their roofs leak since the 1990s.
on January 31,2014 | 12:56PM
Watergate_Mike wrote:
So many comments here not in the spirit of aloha. Such comments from people outside the Hawai'i ohana. Your bigotry is unwelcome here. Go back to your Confederate states from where your heritage and opinions obviously spring. (And at least I pay more respect than you by capitalizing Confederate)
on January 31,2014 | 02:07PM
hanalei395 wrote:
When Obama and his family were here recently, most or all of the hateful comments were from outsiders who moved here, not born here, and telling a President, .... who WAS born here ....... "to go back to Chicago".
on January 31,2014 | 03:11PM
calentura wrote:
Maybe you should go live in the south for a while. Take in some of that southern hospitality. It kinda resembles aloha, if you know what I mean. Bigots everywhere, brah.
on January 31,2014 | 03:40PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
I happen to be an unfortunate Kamaiana
on January 31,2014 | 03:49PM
bigislandkurt wrote:
It's going to be in Chicago. Hands down. But I'm sure Obama gonna try to have a meaningful "consolation prize" for Hawaii. I'm sure some kind of Obama institution will grace our shores eventually.
on January 31,2014 | 02:38PM
DanLBoom wrote:
Yeah! Bigislandkurt. That would make sense. I see a little diplomacyhere.. Acknowledging both Hawaii and Chicago. But YES!! CHICAGO is the Best site. Give props to the State that launched his career. Wouldn't have made it that far if had he stayed here,thats for sure !! Imua
on January 31,2014 | 03:03PM
sukebesan wrote:
Nairobi, Kenya would be a perfect location for the hut.
on January 31,2014 | 05:39PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Why hasn't Jakarta, Indonesia been mentioned as a possible site? After all, it was his hometown for a few years.
on January 31,2014 | 06:27PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Digitize all his papers and put them on the internet, then just setup a computer kiosk at the UH-Manoa Hamilton Library or at the East West Center......and there you go!
on February 2,2014 | 01:15AM
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