Holiday Vacay

Obamas Embark for Hawaii

With health care (temporarily) taken care of, President Obama ditched his winter coat for an aloha shirt and set out on his fourth trip in less than 18 months to the state of his birth, Hawaii, to enjoy Christmas with his family. Hawaii, meanwhile, is enjoying greater prominence on the national stage—and not just as a vacation destination. The president was born and raised in Hawaii, graduating from the Punahou School in 1979, and his affection for the 50th state hasn't dimmed. Obama's influence seems to have led to Honolulu's selection as the host city for 2011's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders meeting, and several high-level appointments in his administration are Hawaiians, including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. But it's a two-way street: "He rejuvenates and regenerates when he's in Hawaii," says state Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie. "He comes as president, but his time in Hawaii is spent as a returning son of Hawaii."