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. Mark in Seattle

    Only Presidential library I had interest in going to was JFK's in Boston. Have gone twice now. I would make a point of visiting the Obama library.........and maybe a vacation in Hawaii.

    February 22, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    rs wrote:

    amf140- Name the location of 1 coal power plant closed because of the President's actions.
    -----------------–
    Uh. Yellow River Island #3 in Beijing, China?

    February 22, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. PatheticCNN

    @ Blah Blah
    Stop Being Obama's Propaganda Machine instead Educate American People that Obama won because of the Stupidity of American People Not Standing Up to the Fiscal Responsibility.

    February 22, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...Don't forget about the SHOES blah blah. The shoes that were thrown at him to aptly describe how hated and what non-existent regard the WORLD had for the murderous village idiot from Crawford Texas called Dubya.

    February 22, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. rs

    Rudy NYC

    rs wrote:

    amf140- Name the location of 1 coal power plant closed because of the President's actions.
    -----––
    Uh. Yellow River Island #3 in Beijing, China? :-)

    February 22, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    My bad. Can't forget the shoes.

    February 22, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    @PatheticCNN

    Oh, I don't know about that. When push comes to shove some might argue that the American people finally woke up from their trickle down austerity coma, smelled the ... er, tea ... and moving forward ... opted for coffee instead.

    Some might also argue that "rule by hate" is well past its Grand Old Party expiration date. Quite de trop actually.

    February 22, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. adam

    It should be in built in Chicago, for more people can visit, opposed to Hawaii where not too many will be able to travel.

    February 22, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Joan

    Split the libraries!!!! Both Hawaii and Chicago!!! I think he should put the library in Hawaii at his Punaho School!!! Beautiful campus!!! He has nothing in common with The University of Hawaii!!

    February 22, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Larry L

    @Rudy NYC

    LarryL wrote:

    "Here in Texas I've met more than a few birthers. Most are "good Christians" who believe the earth to be less than 6000 years old."
    ===============

    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?
    ========================
    That paradox doesn't seem to bother them. We likely have more geologists and petroleum engineers per capita than any other state – yet their knowledge of the age of oil formations etc. somehow doesn't conflict with the belief system of our religious right-wing. Sadly, the religious right-wing controls our State School Board and their fear of science is reflected in our curriculum. We've plummeted down the ranks of state education systems – cushioned only by a few other red states.

    February 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. bcrunner

    I think it's too early to worry about that... I am sure that's the last thing on his mind these days. I will visit either place. Love Chicago and Love, Love Hawaii!!

    February 22, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. PatheticCNN

    @ Dominican Mama 4 Obama
    This means He is not going to work on any issues rest of his Presdiency except to focus on his Mobile Library which will be seen on every Unemployment offices in American Cities Now tnd Then.

    February 22, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Wilson

    Reagan was known as the "Great Communicator." Obama will be known as the "Great Media Manager."

    February 22, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "only now we're learning of black in OH voting multiple times."

    And I suppose it's all a giant conspiracy that this "news" isn't all over the airwaves and running rampant through Congressional impeachment hearings and what not? Let the racism flwo thru you.....

    February 22, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @tarura

    Romney lost by default. He didn't show his tax returns and his birth certificate.

    February 22, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. tarura

    Hawaii is better – far away from the mainland with a chance for some lava or tsunami

    February 22, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Brad

    Sounds like he's already decided, but doesn't want to break Hawaii's heart by flat out saying no to them. I'd say it makes more sense for him to not clog Hawaii with more Haole-attracting destinations.

    February 22, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Expat American

    There are some Trump-Birthers out there who will jump up and suggest building the President's Library in Kenya or Indonesia....whilst not possessing a passport nor the knowledge of where these places actually are.

    February 22, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This means He is not going to work on any issues rest of his Presdiency
    -------------------------------------------------
    Um okay, yeah, if it will make your wittle head explode, that's exactly what that means, yeah that's it....lol!
    Lawd Gosh. Seriously?!

    February 22, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @tarura

    Sure. If its built in Hawaii, it would be built so strong and at such an advantage point that local seismologists could study tsunamis and even take pictures of Mt. Kilavea lava. Thanks for the ideas.

    February 22, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    tarura wrote:

    Obama won by voter's fraud – only now we're learning of black in OH voting multiple times.
    Democrats cheat everuwhere.
    ------------------–
    Excuse me if I am wrong. But, didn't Tagg Romney own those machines?
    So, who found this compelling evidence of which you speak?

    February 22, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. freedom

    @rs
    You don't have your facts straight. Pres. Bush was in a classroom reading to children when 9/11 happened. And he built his own home with his own funds in Crawford where he would vacation. He wasn't in luxury resorts – like these two. We'll never forget the "date night" on air force one to NY during his first term. How grotesque. Anyway, we aren't talking about Bush here – this is ALL Obama's mess.

    February 22, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Fubarack

    Still four years away, but I guess we can just dream of the day he is out of office.

    February 22, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Ken in MD

    Illinois already has the Lincoln Library. Obama is Hawaii's first President. It should go there.

    February 22, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "There are some Trump-Birthers out there who will jump up and suggest building the President's Library in Kenya or Indonesia....whilst not possessing a passport nor the knowledge of where these places actually are."

    Oh come on...everybody knows that Kenya is the capital of the nation of Africa.

    February 22, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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