Obama split on location of presidential library
February 22nd, 2013
08:25 AM ET
8 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. chilly g

    I think the president should have a library in chicago and hawaii because of his association with both states.

    February 22, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. petemg

    Library in Kenya and Kenya only.

    February 22, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. callmecrazy

    I can already hear it from the birthers. "Why not put the library in Kenya?". Beat ya to it.

    February 22, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  4. yolanda

    How about dealing with the problems facing the country....who cares where the library is located?

    February 22, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  5. Babyboomer

    As much as I would love to see his library get built in Hawaii, more people will likely get to see it if it's located in Chicago. A trip to Hawaii certainly sounds good though...

    February 22, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Obama4Slushies

    The picture for this article is priceless. Once again CNN amplifies it's integrity with stellar photo journalism.

    February 22, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. arkmark

    Well if it fails to be anything short of spectacular its the republicans fault and specifically Bushes

    February 22, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. mb2010a

    The vast majority of people in Dallas did NOT want the George W. Bush library here...but the rich people at SMU got their way again. As far as Obama's is concerned, I think he should wait until we see how the rest of his terms in office go...the people of Hawaii & Chicago may change their minds before this is all over.

    February 22, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. UDidntBuildThat

    I just love these puff pieces of adoration and love for our President. We have looming Sequestration that Obama created himself, signed into law and is now campaign against it calling it stupid, not good idea and blaming the repubs and the sheeple at CNN just refuse to report it in the same rabid way they would if a republican had done this. Hundreds of thousand will lose their jobs according to Obama. Well if u cared so much about them why did u use them as tools for your Sequestration idea Obama and put them in harms way?

    Where is the pressure on the President? CNN u r suppose to be the watchdog of the govt. Not their lapdogs! No lets report on where Obama's library will be. Way to go CNN! This goes way pass journalistic malpractice.

    February 22, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. AirForceVet

    Really people? Really? He was asked a question in an interview and he answered it. Is the hate for this man so deep? You begrudge the President his vacation time? The most difficult job in the world and you can't cut the guy a break? "multimillion dollar taxpayer paid vacations"? Hardly. So he vacations in Hawaii, so what? He was born in Hawaii, contrary to whack-a-doo thinking. Are there now only pre-approved places in the United States that he can go on vacation?

    February 22, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Put it and leave it on the mainland. It would be more accessible to everyone.
    Cannnot tell you when next I'll be flying across the country en route to Hawaii, but I can be in Chicago in a NY minute.
    My vote is for Chicago.

    February 22, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. freedom

    Is that all he's got on his mind these days??? Narcissism library.

    February 22, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Put one in all blue states.

    February 22, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    UDidntBuildThat wrote:

    ... We have looming Sequestration that Obama created himself, signed into law and is now campaign against it calling it stupid, not good idea and blaming the repubs ,,, ,,, ,,,
    You gotta love this stuff. Blaming Pres. Obama for signing into law the only bill that came out of the Tea Party controlled House that was not a "tactical bill" that was passed for talking point purposes. Do you think this person even realizes that 3/4 of the House Republicans voted "FOR" the sequestration bill? Do you think this person realizes that Boehner later bragged about the vote to "60 Minutes" that it got "98%" of what he wanted?

    February 22, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. ellid

    1. He was born in Honolulu, not Kenya. Birtherism has been debunked so many times it makes my head hurt, so why people continue to believe this nonsense I have no idea.

    2. EVERY President takes vacations at taxpayer expense. It's called "The Secret Service," and given that unlike the rich Kennedys, Reagans, or Bushes, Obama doesn't own a luxurious estate in the country, what is he supposed to do? Check into a La Quinta for a week?

    3. Detroit was a wreck long before Obama took office. If anyone's to blame for the current state of the city, it's the American car industry, which crashed and burned during the 70s and 80s while the Japanese cornered the affordable car market.

    February 22, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. rs

    Another Republican lie ("he's putting his library over a home wher Ronald Reagan once spent 4 weeks") dies in a ditch.

    Meanwhile consider this Birthers- unlike Mr. Bush's library, Mr. Obama's library will contain more meaty material than Reader's Digest Condensed editions and that children's book he was reading while 9/11 unfolded.

    February 22, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Moose

    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

    February 22, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. rs

    I don't know about the "adoration", but from some of us there is a deep appreciation for Mr. Obama for at least trying to undo the nightmare of the Bush years- unneccessary wars, and economic disaster hyper overspending, the wrecked foereign relations, all of the TEA Party radicalism, the attacks on the Constitution. What has the GOP done? Pander to the rich and punishment for the working American for not being rich.

    February 22, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. rs


    Is that all he's got on his mind these days??? Narcissism library.
    Read the piece. Someone asked him. In case you can't comprehend "I don't know" means he hasn't thought about it.

    February 22, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Tony

    You misinformed right wing wack jobs on this post the discussion is not about vacation, it is about a Presidential library reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaad

    February 22, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Monument to the dictator.......do we really CARE where it goes?

    It will simply document, how one man tried to destroy America.

    February 22, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Well, now . . .!

    I think Benghazi would be appropriate.

    February 22, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Larry L


    Library in Kenya and Kenya only.
    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.

    February 22, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Iam sure they could find a burned out lot in detroit

    February 22, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. Larry L

    The "W" Bush Library should have been located in Arlington, VA. That way it would be close to many of the 4,500 Service-members he killed when he started the Iraq War with false intelligence data.

    February 22, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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