Obama split on location of presidential library
February 22nd, 2013
08:25 AM ET
2 years 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. Chiniquy

    Why not 2 Obama Presidential libraries. Hawaii was where he was physically born and Chicago Ill, is where he was politically born. One library should be about his family history and one for his political life from community worker, state senator, USA Senator, presidential campaign, president etc.

    February 22, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. critical thinking

    What a joke

    February 22, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh come on...everybody knows that Kenya is the capital of the nation of Africa.
    -------------------------------------------------
    ...And Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of Jeezus...stay with me now!

    February 22, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. J Russ

    long as I don't pay for it I couldn't care less

    February 22, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. rs

    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.
    _____________________
    Sure- but you act like hating Obama because he isn't in his office 24×7, is cool even though the last GOP President was basically "on vacation" for about a year and a half out of his 8 years in office. Where he vacationed is almost immaterial given the associted costs. As far as Bush and 9/11- he was traveling (which in your mind equates "vacation")- and he was off the 5 weeks prior-obviously missing the CIA's warning.

    February 22, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. sassysticks53

    What a joke, this is important, gas over $4.00, unemp up AGAIN, and this jerk off is worried about a library
    The IDIOT comes to mind
    ----------------

    lol! It must be killing you right-wing nuts and bigots that a black man will have a Presidential Library somewhere in the United States of America! I say build the library in Chicago and Hawaii. That ought to really tick you haters off.

    February 22, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Chiniquy

    Why not 2 Obama Presidential libraries. Hawaii was where he was physically born and Chicago Ill, is where he was politically born. One library should be about his family history and one for his political life from community worker, state senator, USA Senator, presidential campaign, president etc.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Fabulous idea and good reasoning behind it.
    One thing is for certain we support, respect and appreciate this President so much that raising the money to build them WILL NOT be a problem.
    Heck, we'll raise enough money to build one in Hawaii, Chicago, and a special one for the Birthers in Kenya.

    February 22, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. The Stoopid Party

    UDidntBuildThat

    We have looming Sequestration that Obama created himself,

    -–Do you mean the one that Boehner said "I got 98% of what I wanted"? The one 174 Republicans voted for? That sequestration?

    February 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. "who will build it"...????

    Obama's campaign slogan "you did not build it and therefore you don't deserve it"...Our sentiment in Pres Obama's own words...

    February 22, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Zandigra

    Like anyone will want to go there anyway.

    February 22, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. tk

    I can say this, he will be one of the best former presidents ever!

    February 22, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. rs

    UDidntBuildThat

    We have looming Sequestration that Obama created himself
    ____________________________
    No, he didn't. Just the latest Republican lie. The bill was written in the House, passed by the House and Boehner "got 98% of what he wanted".
    You guys are just scared now what will happen with the Pearl Harbor like attack on America you're about to carry off will affect whats left of your popularity. How will Americans feel about the GOP then?

    February 22, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Justin

    Isn't it obvious? Barak's will go in Hawaii and, after Michelle's term is over, her's will go in Chicago.

    February 22, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. sortakinda

    Has he considered taking a page from Pope Bendict, and he'll retire early? Oh no–NOT a BIDEN presidency!

    February 22, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. freedom

    @rs
    CIA's warning?? Why don't you ask Bill Clinton about that – he was busy in the Oval Office doing you-know-what with his intern instead of paying attention to the threats leading up to 9/11. That travesty happened right after Bush took office – those terrorists were planning that attack for years – under Clinton's watch. Bush actually kept our homeland safe for 7 years after that horrific day. I'm grateful for his service.

    February 22, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    As far as Bush and 9/11- he was traveling (which in your mind equates "vacation")- and he was off the 5 weeks prior-obviously missing the CIA's warning
    -------------------------------------------------
    Kinda hard to miss something that's been laying on your desk unread for months. It was more like willfully IGNORING the CIA's warning.

    February 22, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. ST

    He better built it in Hawaii. It will boost their economy as a lot of tourists will flock there.

    February 22, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Nick

    I don't care where it's built because I have no intention of ever visiting it, but I think from this point forward they should all be self-sustaining and receive zero taxpayer dollars.

    February 22, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Dan

    Library? Hawaii to ensure few visitors and even fewer researchers.
    Home? Chicago to keep close to the Chicago political machine and his cronies.

    February 22, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Babyboomer

    @freedom
    The terrorists may very well have been planning those attacks while Clinton was in office but clearly they waited until "Bozo the Clown" got in the White House to carry them out. He walked in on day one with GOOFY written all over his face. All GWB ever wanted was to out do Daddy Bush. What a poor excuse for a President. He cared nothing for the American people. Obama bets that waste of time hands down...

    February 22, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Ron in California

    Who cares–it will a library of speechs and teleprometer ad libs–nothing of consequence!

    February 22, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Nick wrote:

    I don't care where it's built because I have no intention of ever visiting it, but I think from this point forward they should all be self-sustaining and receive zero taxpayer dollars.
    -----------------–
    Why should suddenly do that now? Never mind the fact that presidential libraries have always been privately funded. I'm just curious, though, because if they were publicly funded, thn why should we make that change now? What's the motive?

    February 22, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Mickey Mouse

    Here's an idea you can build it in fantasyland. Inside that library you can place his Noble peace prize along side a US Predator drone. Or how about pictures of him & Hillary during the Bin Laden Raid & next to a memorial of all the seals that were killed when there helicoper was shot down on their next raid. Or maybe you can include the 40,000 new regulation his administration has placed into effect this last year on business. Or maybe a copy of his health care bill. Yes the possibilities are endless. Or how about building it you know in one of the those other 56 states that claim are part of the U.S.

    You know that the 56th state of US.

    February 22, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Just Saying

    Presidential library in Hawaii huh? I wonder how many people want to visit a library on a trip to Hawaii...

    February 22, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. kayla

    and the hate goes on.

    February 22, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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