ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Upon landing in Honolulu, Sen. Barack Obama held a welcome event at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park.
Obama starts his weeklong vacation today and warned the Hawaiian crowd that he is not going to be mixing too much political business with pleasure while on the island.
“I just want to give you a little secret here: I am actually here on vacation,” Obama said to the thousands of Hawaiians who had gathered. “So I want you to know that we’re not here to politic.”
Obama told the crowd that his plans were to eat at Zippy’s, have a “plate lunch” at the Rainbow Drive Inn and gets some shaved ice — all local favorite spots.
“I’m going to go body surfing in an undisclosed location,” he added jokingly.
Obama said in addition to enjoying his vacation playing on the beach with his family, he is also here to say "thank you" to Hawaiians who caucused for him during the primary. This is Obama’s first visit to the island since December 2006; he has not yet campaigned on the island.
“The main purpose of me being here right now before I head off and see my grandma is to say thank you to all of you, because all of you worked so hard to put me in a position where I may have the honor of serving as your President of the United States.”
Obama gave an abbreviated stump speech, speaking for nearly 20 minutes — hitting on energy policy, education, health care and the Iraq War — never mentioning McCain.
The Illinois Senator who was born on the island highlighted his own biography as an example of how government should be working for people.
“This is a government of the single mom who, like my mother, who when living here in Honolulu, had to get food stamps sometimes but still was able to get me an education and still was able to send me to college,” he said. “This is the government that when my grandfather came back from WW II gave him a GI bill …and gave him the kind of burial he deserves on Punchbowl cemetery.”
Tonight Obama, his two daughters and his wife, Michelle, are visiting his "Tutu" — his grandmother — at her home on Oahu.