Back home in Hawaii, Obama awaits report into Illinois Senate scandal

President-elect takes first break since election victory

Peace and privacy are the two gifts Barack Obama, the President-elect, will be looking for this Christmas as he and his family, trailed by aides, reporters, photographers and secret service agents, begin a 12-day break on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The soon-to-be First Family landed in their chartered Boeing 767 at Honolulu's international airport late on Saturday before heading across the Koolau mountain range to a bungalow beach home in the town of Kailua. It will be his first substantive break since election day. He arrived on the island, where he spent 14 of his first 18 years, after finalising his choices for his cabinet in record time and completing a long stretch of press conferences.

How tranquil his time at the rented $9m (£6m) home with a swimming pool and grass lawn down to the beach will actually be remains to be seen, however. Reporters travelling with him – surely grateful to be feeling sand between their toes instead of the scrub of Crawford, Texas, where President George Bush has spent often protracted holidays – will be limited in their access to him. The roaming paparazzi may be more difficult to control.

It presumably did not escape the Obamas when they pondered the brochures – and certainly not the President-elect for whom Oahu holds few mysteries – that local laws demand that the beach at Kailua must always remain open to the public. Screening members of the family, including the President-to-be, when they venture into the Pacific from casual digital snappers may not be achievable.

Recreation is certainly in the diary, however. On Sunday, Mr Obama, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, headed first to a Marine camp gym for a light work-out. He then played some holes on a local golf course with an aide, at one point suggesting to waiting members of the press that they retire to the clubhouse and order some beers on his tab. The journalists, for the record, declined the offer.

But even in Hawaii business will surely intrude also. Mr Obama is slated to receive national security briefings daily and aides said he is working privately on key issues, most notably the economy which he has promised to tackle with a far-reaching stimulus package from the moment he takes office.

His transition team, moreover, are expected to release today an internal report into all contacts that took place between Mr Obama's close aides, including Rahm Emanuel, his appointed Chief of Staff, and Rod Blagojevich, the Governor of Illinois, who has been accused by federal prosecutors of corruption.

While the report is being keenly awaited, officials said Mr Obama would not be making a statement about it. The document will seek to dampen suggestions that Mr Emanuel, a congressman from the Chicago area, may himself be incriminated in an affair which centres on allegations that Governor Blagojevich intended to extract some material advantage from his selection of a successor to fill the Senate seat Mr Obama will vacate.

According to sources, Mr Emanuel may have spoken to the governor only once, and the issue of Mr Obama's Senate seat was barely raised. It is believed, however, that he spoke several times to the governor's chief of staff, John Harris, and that in those conversations he mentioned Mr Obama's preference for filling his seat with an adviser and old family friend, Valerie Jarrett.

Ms Jarrett, who has since been appointed to serve as a senior adviser to the President-elect in the White House, will, as it happens, be among a number of close associates invited to spend Christmas with the Obamas in Kailua. She and her host will both be anxious to see all links between them and the Blagojevich affair vanish before they return home.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick