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Hawaii is not New York

Obama's demeanor illustrates the difference between Hawaii and New York.

As he traveled across the United States mainland during the presidential race, campaigning on a promise of a different kind of politics, Mr. Obama was repeatedly asked by voters and reporters whether he had the stomach to win the contest. His standard answer? He learned how -- and when -- to use his sharp elbows from navigating the thorny terrain of Chicago politics.

Left unsaid was that he learned his composure from Hawaii.

"He has more Hawaii in him than Chicago; he's laid-back, cool and collected," said Neil Kent, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who has lived on the island for three decades. "It's hard to express anger here. It's a very small, enclosed environment in which you have to live with other people."

Obama's Zen State, Well, It's Hawaiian
Published: December 25, 2008
As Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii, his friends say his mood embodies the Aloha Spirit.


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