Obama arrives in Hawaii for holiday

December 20, 2008 5:31:28 PM PST
President-elect Barack Obama and his family arrived Saturday in his native Hawaii for a holiday vacation set to be interrupted with the release of an internal investigation about his aides' roles in allegations of public corruption. An Obama aide told reporters that the review could be released early this coming week. Aides declined to discuss details, saying officials would honor prosecutors' request to keep it private until the week of Dec. 22.

Obama has said he is eager to release their internal investigation about what contacts his aides and advisers had with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces federal allegations he tried to sell Obama's former U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. Obama earlier told reporters an internal investigation showed his staff did nothing wrong, but the release was put off when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked it be delayed.

Prosecutors say Obama and his team did nothing wrong; federal wiretaps include Blagojevich using profane language to describe Obama.

On Friday, Blagojevich said he did nothing illegal and vowed to fight the allegations.

The release of Obama's internal report comes during Christmas week, when many people tune out the news to spend time with families. The report could be lost amid holiday cheer, something not unfavorable for Obama and his aides looking to move past the Blagojevich story.

Obama, for his part, planned to keep a low profile during his 12-day trip to Oahu. Aides said the Obama family would have no formal events during the trip. Obama will continue to have business meetings and intelligence briefings as he prepares to take office in just a month.

Obama has spent recent weeks at a breakneck pace, barreling through appointments. During the last week, Obama met reporters every day to announce his picks for Cabinet posts, rounding out the bulk of his top economic, national security and domestic policy officials in his administration-in-waiting.

And he boasted on Friday that he had assembled his top economic team more quickly than any other of his predecessors, a sign that the nation's economic woes would define Obama's agenda as he takes office.

Still unfilled are his picks for CIA director and national intelligence director, along with other sub-Cabinet appointments.

Aides say the president-elect would continue working on those as he left behind his home in Chicago.

Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two young daughters spent most of the 10-hour, nonstop flight from Chicago in the front cabin of the United Airlines plane. Younger daughter Sasha wandered back to visit with Secret Service agents in the back of the plane, within view of the roughly two dozen journalists making the 4,200-mile flight to the Pacific islands.

The president-elect and his wife did not visit the rear cabin.

The family during past years spent the December holidays visiting Obama's maternal grandmother, who died Nov. 2, before Obama's historic Nov. 4 victory. The Obamas are expected to have a private memorial service for Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him, early this week.