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Obama pushes re-election bid to hometown crowd at Ko Olina

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 03:50 p.m. HST, Nov 14, 2011

President Barack Obama spoke to about 250 campaign donors at a brunch late this morning at the Aulani Disney Resort at Ko Olina.

"It is wonderful to be here, not just because the weather is perfect, but this has been a little trip down memory lane," he told attendees who paid at least $1,000 a person. He mentioned seeing several old classmates and one of his teachers from Punahou School, and noted that the family plans to be back for Christmas.

"It is great to be home — great to just feel that aloha spirit. Michelle and the girls will be back shortly for Christmas vacation, as we do every year. We'll see if Washington gets its business done so I can get here in time."

The crowd included U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Entertainment included Hawaii singer John Cruz, who also performed at one of Obama's inauguration events in 2009.

The president spoke about several familiar campaign themes and of his accomplishments, including winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay troops, and health care reform.

Regarding bailouts for the auto industry, he said, "We are now seeing fuel efficient cars rolling off the assembly line stamped with the three proud words: Made in America."

On the fight against al-Qaida, he said his administration has worked "smarter and more effectively on national security" and has "decimated" the terrorist network to weaker than its ever been before.

Obama mentioned his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, when he spoke on efforts to save medicare.

“I speak as somebody who it was only a couple of years ago when I was here watching my grandmother fade away. And she had had a successful career at Bank of Hawaii. She had the kind of retirement that a lot of people don’t have these days," Obama said. "But knowing that Medicare was there for her made all the difference in the world."

He talked of gridlock in Washington and he criticized congressional Republicans for working to defeat him.

"We've got so much more work to do. Everything we fought for in the last election is now at stake in the next election," he said. "When you've got the top Republican in the Senate saying that his party's No. 1 priority ... is to try to defeat me, you've got a sense that things in Washington aren't really on the level.

"They might think it's a smart political strategy, but it's not a strategy to make America stonger."

He recalled words from his inauguration: "I said real change — big change — is hard. It takes time, It takes more than a single term. It takes more than a single president."

He ended his talk at 11:37 a.m. to a standing ovation and a singular chant at back of the room calling for "four more years."

Obama last held a fundraiser in the islands during his presidential campaign in August 2008. The event at the Kahala Hotel & Resort raised $1.3 million.

Also attending today's event were Hawaii first lady Nancie Caraway, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Jennifer Sabas from U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's office, and Ko Olina master developer Jeff Stone, one of the event's organizers. State Rep. K. Mark Takai and former Honolulu City Council Chairman Todd Apo, now the public affairs director for Aulani, were also among the attendees.

The event benefits the Obama Victory Fund, the joint committee for the DNC and the campaign.

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waikiicapt wrote:
You mean they actually found 250 people in this state who had a $1000 to throw away to see this bozo and support his effort to get back in office again for four more years? Honestly? Or were many of these people actually groupies supplied to fill the room so as not to embarrass the prez and his wifey? The ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me.
on November 14,2011 | 12:52PM
fishguy wrote:
Sad to say but he will win again. Blame the tea party on this one.
on November 14,2011 | 02:27PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I love the irony of your last sentence.
on November 14,2011 | 02:30PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I love the irony of your last sentence.
on November 14,2011 | 02:30PM
DHappyAngel wrote:
Agree with DowntownGreen LOL!
on November 14,2011 | 02:41PM
Anonymous wrote:
what happened to the other 50? You would think that all 300 seats would be sold...
on November 14,2011 | 03:21PM
false wrote:
Wish we were there. Some of us are just celebrating sleeping down the street. Watching the "suits" crawling around on the ground is really impressive. So glad that we live up to a high regard for our president. Each one has carried the challenge without celebration. The job is not valued or understood by any of us who cannot wear the shoes. The continuing degradation and always demanding spontaneous resolutions makes it incomprehensible as a position for managing a global consequences. Some of us need to hamau and let him do his job. It's the biggest nightmare anyone would volunteer to live.
on November 14,2011 | 04:49PM
butinski wrote:
He's going to be back by Christmas? Renting a private ocean house in Kailua again? Do the right thing by staying on base this time and save the taxpayers money spent for security. Sheesh!
on November 14,2011 | 01:08PM
HD36 wrote:
on November 14,2011 | 02:02PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Did you get so excited you couldn't spell one of two words correctly?
on November 14,2011 | 02:29PM
HD36 wrote:
Yea, my eye's goin bad.
on November 14,2011 | 07:28PM
shshimizu wrote:
4 more years!
on November 14,2011 | 02:04PM
DHappyAngel wrote:
on November 14,2011 | 02:41PM
Classic_59Chevy wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 14,2011 | 07:33PM
KahalaMoon wrote:
Ummm. I was born at Kapiolani Hospital too, about ten years before Mr. Obama.
on November 14,2011 | 08:36PM
Oilpan wrote:
I was also born @ Kapiolani Hospital - 1947. Gotta get your facts right about what existed!
on November 14,2011 | 09:45PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Obama GO HOME... to Chicago. Good riddance.
on November 14,2011 | 07:49PM
Mach2 wrote:
I guess Obummer was worried he wouldn't look business like in an aloha short but had no problem playing golf in the spotlight with his dear friend picked up for patronizing hotel street.....speaks volumes about who we are dealing with.... Sr military or business person wouldn't do this, but Obummer, no problem!
on November 14,2011 | 11:00PM
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