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. ThinkAgain

    @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.

    No, Clinton wasn't. That's just another Repub lie (something you folks do all the time, because Lord knows, you've got NOTHING to offer our country). Clinton went after bin Laden; he just didn't get him.

    Here is a FACT to chew on: The Clinton anti-terrorism transition team to the Bush administration (lead by Richard Clarke) tried to impress upon Bush and his cronies the threat of al Qaeda and specifically bin Laden, but they were rebuffed. Bush was planning an invasion of Iraq as early as January 2001; when 9/11 happened he and his people immediately started lying to the American public that somehow Saddam Hussein was involved.

    Oh, forget it. I'm using multisyllabic words and referncing events that happend before the last hysterical Fox "News" cycle. Too much for all your puny little brains ... I just wish your ignorance wasn't harming our country so much ...

    February 22, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. QuietStormX

    For me I think Chicargo where he has his adult life and Family started. Plus his post Presidentancy will be back to the home they had before. A place for his children and the start of his political life. In the center of this nation. People can travel to Hawaii to go way back to where he was born and vacation in the tropical place and travels around Asia as a child. I really think the Library will be located in Chicargo for everyone not some way across the pasific ocean. You see?

    February 22, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Hugh Jass

    "Regarding the 40,000 new regulations; please cite your source (and "Rush said it" doesn't qualify)" It was an anonymous email from nobody claiming Obama has issued 923 Executive orders which make the United Nations our official government. Really, the UN? The rest of the world thinks the UN is a sock puppet with the USA's hand in it, and you think it's a "government?" I guess they will send their building janitors out as an occupying army?

    February 22, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Bobby Bankston

    Hawaii is going to go all out to try and land this thing because they really need it to bring money into the state. I mean, what else does Hawaii have to draw tourists?
    ----------------------–
    I think Pres. Obama's childhood home would be a great tourist attraction. Reagan's childhood home is Dixon, Illinois is a perfect example. But, Hawaii has plenty of attractions, most especially the dining experiences.

    February 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Inciteful

    Shouldn't he be worrying about other, perhaps more imminent, stuff? I can't wait until he can devote full-time to working on his presidential library in between rounds of golf.

    February 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. just askin

    Rudy NYC
    I think Pres. Obama's childhood home would be a great tourist attraction.
    ---

    is he going to put the library in indonesia?

    February 22, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Inciteful

    Shouldn't he be worrying about other, perhaps more imminent, stuff? I can't wait until he can devote full-time to working on his presidential library in between rounds of golf.
    -----------------
    Reading is fundamental. Practice makes perfect, and this article would be a great starting point.

    He was asked a question by a reporter. In other words, he did not initiate the discussion and his non-committal answer indicates that he hasn't given any thought. Perhaps he's really had his mind on what you suggest.

    February 22, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. rick

    With his ego and spending, WHY NOT TWO LIBRARIES???

    February 22, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Michelle

    Chicago will be more accessible to more people without needing to blow thousands of dollars on an expensive tropical vacation. Also, I think it will mean more to the people of Chicago, where he dedicated his early professional years helping communities that were struggling with job loss, poverty, and violence.

    February 22, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. my suggestion

    put it in detroit.... you can buy entire city blocks for a few bucks. it will go well with the destruction and desolation his 8 years have brought the country.

    February 22, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. VEW2012

    Bobby B
    Hawaii has a lot of tourist attractions that is the very reason it should be built in a State where he was born, where his grandparents and mother died. Illinois already has Lincoln...Hawaii what is the chance (being and island state in the middle of the Pacific) they will have another opportunity for a Presidential Library?

    February 22, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Gonzoinhouston

    Build it in Chicago for easier access, but put a small annex in Hawaii, right outside of the hospital where he was born. The annex would hold the records for the conspiracy freaks.

    February 22, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    just askin wrote:

    "Rudy NYC think Pres. Obama's childhood home would be a great tourist attraction."

    is he going to put the library in indonesia?
    ------------------
    I would not be surprised if some people got tegether there and do exactly that. But, I'm sure his childhood home in Hawaii may become a landmark tourist attraction, irregardless of whether or not a presidential library is built in Hawaii.

    February 22, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. cbr

    Why is this an issue now? Does every President need a library or is it time to rethink how these libraries are funded, where they are placed and who will build them?

    Reporters seem to ask questions that are not timely and are meant to start a little bit of controversy as if there is not enough right now.

    February 22, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Penobscot11

    Guantanamo Bay.

    February 22, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. CryBabies

    Who cares? How about we get a library for a true, patriotic American...George Washington, done first and then worry about BO?

    February 22, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Why is this an issue now?"

    I'm only guessing here, but I suspect it (this article) has more to do with giving the TeaPers something to really sink their teeth into. God knows, they try really hard to impress each other with how much they hate President Obama.

    February 22, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. simplyput

    Still think a Nook Library would be a great way to avoid spending any more money on mortar and bricks by people who *didn't build that.* He would be transformational in this, save paper, money, time, effort, and in general have a transformational library we could ALL appreciate. I put him into office the first time, and abstained the second. Ask me how Obamacare has worked out for me. Can't wait to read his *writings* from Harvard. Think they'll be included? The O-questration will be fun....like he threw a horse's head at Congress and made a deal they couldn't refuse. Transparent as mud.

    February 22, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. hannah

    Some Republicans are still mad that Romney lost the election. Some are probably very racist as well. I say in the interest of the country let's get behind him and work together to rebuild our country, schools, get alt feuls and get off of oil so we don't have to have anymore oil wars. For eight years under the Bush presidency, nothing was done for the people here at home. It's time now to take care of building our schools instead of those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    February 22, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Liz the First

    I vote for Chicago. i'm sure a ton of folks will want to see it and we can't all get to Hawaii. of course, the haters wouldn't dream of going and learning how wrong they are about this good man and good president.

    February 22, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    God knows, they try really hard to impress each other with how much they hate President Obama
    -------------------------------------------------
    Isn't that the truth Lynda?
    Such hate barely disguised as something, anything else, but it is just hate; some of it politically motivated, most of it brought on by the FACT that a Black man became President of this country, became THEIR President. They don't want to have to respect him, they don't want them near their children (remember them pulling their kids out of school when he wanted to visit and talk to them about the importance of education? Remember THAT Lynda? How shameful), they don't want him to govern them, they don't want to listen to him, they don't want to negotiate with him, now it kills them that they cannot stop him from having his library.
    Well we have news for you zygotes. THIS President is loved, respected, appreciated, and admired more than any other President in recent and ancient history. Wrap your two-celled brains around that and reach out for this: he will not only have his library, he will more than likely have SEVERAL because the millions here and world-wide that see what he has done, and is still trying to accomplish for and by the people wants to claim him.
    Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii, Chicago you say? YES WE CAN, and don't be surprised if there is a library in everyone of those places.
    Don't believe me, look around he's already accomplished something that was considered quite an impossibility: He's President of the United States of America...twice.
    Yes We Can.

    February 22, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. LiberaLIowan

    I heard (I think my hero Glenn Beck said it) that that Kenyan obummer is going to tear down the RONALD REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY and put his in the exact same place. I swear it's true! Lindsey Graham told me so!

    February 22, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican Mama

    They don't want to have to respect him, they don't want them near their children (remember them pulling their kids out of school when he wanted to visit and talk to them about the importance of education? Remember THAT Lynda? How shameful), they don't want him to govern them, they don't want to listen to him, they don't want to negotiate with him, now it kills them that they cannot stop him from having his library.
    -------------

    What a great post ... ! And yes, I remember it all and ALL OF IT disgusts me.

    Yes We Did, my friend. YES WE DID.

    February 22, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. marctheduck

    Someplace outside of United States would be nice...

    February 22, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. nick, houston

    He should put it in Chicago right next to where he used to be a community organizer.

    February 22, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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