Obama split on location of presidential library
February 22nd, 2013
08:25 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama split on location of presidential library

(CNN) – He holds a strong association with both places – Hawaii is his birthplace and winter retreat, but Chicago is his adopted home and where his children were born.

And on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said he's still not sure which location would be the home of his presidential library.

"Honolulu is my birthplace," Obama said on an interview with Honolulu station KITV. "It's the place where I grew up and I've got so many friends and fond memories and it helped to shaped me. I'd like to find a way after my presidency that connection remains, but I live in Chicago now and that's where I grew up professionally."

"It is a tough choice, but it's not one that I've made yet," Obama said. Reports in the last year have indicated that Obama's team is looking at space for a presidential library in Chicago, including near the University of Chicago where he taught before entering politics.

Universities have housed presidential libraries in the past, including the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station.

But the University of Hawaii has also made no secret of their desire to house Obama's presidential library, and the Aloha State's legislature passed a resolution in 2010 calling on Obama to choose his birthplace for the institution. An official committee of business and civic leaders - the Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative - was formed to try and lure the president back to the islands.

Obama acknowledged those efforts in his interview.

"Folks back home, back in Hawaii, have been very generous in talking about how much they'd like to figure out a way to participate post-presidency and I'm flattered by that and I'm going to look at every option," he said.

No matter where the library lands, it will likely cost north of $100 million, based on the whopping costs of past presidents' libraries. The money comes from private donations.

The libraries have the potential to become major tourist draws, particularly for an historic presidency like Obama's. While Chicago's central location would make a library more accessible to Americans, Hawaii is already a major tourist destination that millions of mainlanders visit every year.


Filed under: Hawaii • President Obama
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. ChiTownArt

    Quite simply, more people would come see it in Illinois than in Hawaii.

    February 22, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. rs

    Anonymous, Freedom,UDidntBuildThat-
    I guess while we've echanged ideas in this forum for awhile (something I think we all enjoy), I had no idea that you were so driven by hate and irrationality. Your points are lost in this case because what you say has no basis in reality and utterly lack reason. Is this racial, or merely tribal?

    February 22, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Hopefully one day all the conservative right wing Bush/Cheyney supporters would be able to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to see the Bush/Cheyney Freedom Library erected in those countries. Among the artifacts to be viewed, pictures of 1 million civilizians murdered by the Bush/Cheyney war machine...pictures of the women and children raped and traumatized as a result of the sectarian uprising ignited when we invaded and destabilized that country. Pictures of those blown up at market places and in homes through sectarian uprising, pictures of the abuse and atrocities committed at Abu Ghraid, the cultural and historic artifacts confiscated from their museums and government facilities and auctioned off on western markets, the millions of dollars stolen and hidden in private off shore accounts in the west, pictures of the...

    February 22, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Thinkergal

    I withdrew all support and left the Methodist church when SMU allowed the Bush library. I hope the president chooses Chicago, but wherever the library is placed I will be proud to visit it.

    February 22, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Babyboomer

    The hatred from the folks on the right is palpable. (i.e., So intense as to be almost touched or felt.) Ya'll need help, I mean some real help...

    February 22, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    O' and by the way, Bush/Cheyney also have museums at Ground Zero, NYC, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville PA.

    February 22, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. freedom

    @rs
    it's about narcissism, unaccountability, and Obama's agenda to have our country implode – while golfing and skiing in luxury resorts on taxpayers money, while he has imposed higher taxes on everyone (he lied), while he's planning his library. Get it?

    February 22, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Oops, by the way thy're called the Bush/Cheyney Legacy Libraries.

    February 22, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Racial hatred is powerful and only attrition will remove them from our society.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Let's hear it for death due to natural and unnatural causes then, and for "attrition" of any type that will rid us slowly but certainly of this freakin' scourge of people that plagues our country.

    February 22, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Name lynn

    Obama skin color is cute an outstanding what about the bushes colors. Explain their colors while you have on your hands.

    February 22, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Just a thought

    We have to Celebrate President Obama's success. The entire GOP/Tea fools have spent the last 4 years trying to destroy the president. Every other president in history got "some" support from the opposing party. But if Any Republican Supports any idea PResident Obama puts forward, they will be destroy for colluding with the enemy. These GOP/Tea fools are about nothing useful....just hate and divisive ness, in other words, destroy this country at all costs....no success while we are on Obama's watch......Get it?

    February 22, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. PatheticCNN

    The Barack Obama Library should be located near NY City Unemployment Office Buliding, NY. That way it would be close to many of the million Unemployed American who stop looking for a JOB and rising 16+ Trillion US Debt, American Tax Payers will have burden on their shoulders Under Obama's Watch.

    February 22, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. amf140

    I think it should be a mobile, driven by electric, library. Park it at every golf course he will have played in his 8 years in the WH. We'll have to start up all those coal-fired plants he has closed to power it. Already worried about his library. Complete arrogance. When does he pose for Mt. Rushmore?

    February 22, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. rs

    freedom

    @rs
    it's about narcissism, unaccountability, and Obama's agenda to have our country implode – while golfing and skiing in luxury resorts on taxpayers money, while he has imposed higher taxes on everyone (he lied), while he's planning his library. Get it?
    --------
    Get this- we still have the lowest taxes in more than 60 years. You'r rampling about vacations is just stupid- especially after Bush spent on average 9 weeks on vacation each year he was in office. He was on vacation when 9/11 occurred.
    Accountability? Did anyone go to jaol over the lies that were the foundation of the Iraqi war? How about for the 4,800 dead service men, or 125,000 Iraqis?

    February 22, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. rs

    PatheticCNN
    Where are all those Republican jobs bills promised in 2010? Unless you guys think that bills defending rapist's rights make jobs, I guess there aren't any-right?

    February 22, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. rs

    amf140-
    Name the location of 1 coal power plant closed because of the President's actions.

    February 22, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    For our courageous, intelligent and progressive President, we'll build a museum at the bottom of the Indian Ocean so We The People could witness the remains of one...OBL and reflect back on that historic night when Americans waved Ole Glory, sang patriotic songs and chanted Obama got Osama, Obama got Osama, Obama got Osama.

    February 22, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    LarryL wrote:

    Here in Texas I've met more than a few birthers. They've allowed hate and racism to cloud their judgement to a point you could consider them mentally impaired – certainly spiritually impaired. Most are "good Christians" who believe the earth to be less than 6000 years old. Racial hatred is powerful and only attrition will remove them from our society.
    --------------------–
    A study released over the past weekend showed that the overwhelming majority of "worst" tweets in the nation come from the state Texas. Texas topped the list for the most Twitter made this conclusion by looking for certain words and phrases within tweets, most especially the colorful metaphors.

    Do you think the Flat Earthers who claim that climate change is a natural occuring, cyclical process [for example, ice ages] even realize that these cycles they believe in are thousands of years longer than the 6000 years that they believe the Earth has existed?

    February 22, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. BlueDem1

    I'd be very surprised if the Obama Presidential Library doesn't end up in Chicago. Although Obama's roots are in Hawaii and he certainly has strong ties to the state of his birth, it just doesn't make sense economically to have the library in Honolulu instead of in Chicago, simply because of the location. I mean, which city is easier for people to travel to and see the library?

    The Clinton Library was torn between Hope and Little Rock, but in the end Little Rock was chosen simply because it was the location where more people would be able to easily visit it.

    February 22, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. markfromdover

    Build two

    February 22, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. rs

    Babyboomer

    The hatred from the folks on the right is palpable. (i.e., So intense as to be almost touched or felt.) Ya'll need help, I mean some real help...
    ---------
    Well, many posting here have nothing- I mean nothing to crow about. Bush was an unmitigated disaster. Instead of trying to rebuild their brand, the GOP essentially decided to declare war on the Americcan citizen. Here we are 5 years post Bush- what can Republicans claim as an accomplisment? Zip.
    They may be on the verge of successfully wrecking the economy again for the second time in less than a decade. Polling indicates they'll get hammered for it. What have they got left? Rush-like comments about the President (lacking Rush's wit and IQ, ahem) and racism- why the Birthers are even back today.
    They are lost, lost fools.

    February 22, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. angel baby

    I vote for Havana.

    February 22, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. rs

    BlueDem1

    I'd be very surprised if the Obama Presidential Library doesn't end up in Chicago. Although Obama's roots are in Hawaii and he certainly has strong ties to the state of his birth, it just doesn't make sense economically to have the library in Honolulu instead of in Chicago, simply because of the location. I mean, which city is easier for people to travel to and see the library?
    ___________________________
    While Obama made no commitments (despite the Right's overt hatred), I am not sure Hawaii wouldn't be better. After all archives are putting more and more material on the Web- and so location really becomes more of a function of "heart" rather than actual access. Sure, archives cannot put 100% of their material online- but for tourists and casual researcher that might be all that's needed. Just a thought.

    February 22, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    We'll also build a museum to display the Noble Peace Prize awarded to our Great President and films and documents commemorating his historic journey and great legacy. Yes We Can.

    February 22, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Hopefully one day all the conservative right wing Bush/Cheyney supporters would be able to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to see the Bush/Cheyney Freedom Library erected in those countries.
    -----------

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry at your comment.
    It is one of the best I've read yet ... !

    February 22, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7