Hawaii— Where Obama Got His Mellow

"Aloha spirit" unmistakable in president-elect, say Hawaiians
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 2, 2009 10:35 AM CST
In this Dec. 26, 2008, file photo, President-elect Barack Obama leaves with some shaved ice at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai, Hawaii.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – You can’t understand Barack Obama if you don’t get Hawaii, writes Philip Rucker in the Washington Post. The island state is famous for its “aloha spirit,” a mellow and tolerant outlook on the world. “That's Hawaii,” says Congressman Neil Abercrombie (who’s known Obama since birth). “Every time Obama comes on television now, the collective blood pressure in the United States goes down 10 points.”

The president-elect describes Hawaii as a place where he got “a sense of being loved.” Hawaiians—racially heterogeneous like Obama—say that island life teaches them to stick together. Islanders also tend to avoid being overbearing, says one author, who notes that even politicians hold back. For further proof, drive around a bit. "You don't hear honking here," said one Honolulu resident, a transplant from mainland US.