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.