Obama's Accepting Outlook Forged in Diverse Hawaii

Island state's tolerant spirit helped shape candidate's worldview
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2008 12:00 PM CDT
This photo provided by the Punahou School shows Barak "Barry" Obama, second row right, in a 1978 senior yearbook photo at the Punahou School, the prestigious private academy in Honolulu, Hawaii.    (AP Photo/Punahoe Schools, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama spent his formative years in Hawaii and islanders say the unique and diverse nature of the 50th state helped shape the candidate's outlook on life, the AP reports. Obama's racial identity was forged in the state where everybody belongs to a minority group, and the accomodating nature of island politics helped shape his policial outlook.

"In Hawaii, because we have a confined space in terms of being an island state, we perhaps have to learn how to cooperate and compromise more," said a longtime family friend. "We learn how to listen to each other and work on things in a positive manner."  Obama has written that the state's tolerance—while far from perfect—became the foundation for the beliefs he holds dearest.