President Obama, "will be back shortly for Christmas vacation" - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

President Obama, "will be back shortly for Christmas vacation"

Governor Abercrombie greets President Obama.  Source: Leslie Truglio Governor Abercrombie greets President Obama. Source: Leslie Truglio
John Cruz - Source: Leslie Truglio John Cruz - Source: Leslie Truglio
Source: Leslie Truglio Source: Leslie Truglio
President Obama's fundraiser invitation President Obama's fundraiser invitation
APEC barriers coming down in Ko Olina. APEC barriers coming down in Ko Olina.

KO OLINA (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been tricky trying to get around the barricades and that kind of thing, but it's also been very exciting," said Ko Olina resident Bonnie Blair.

With yesterday's APEC events behind them, some Ko Olina residents and visitors are trying to take it all in stride even as President Barack Obama threw a $1,000 a plate brunch fundraiser this morning at the Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa.

Some 300 contributors in Aloha attire attended the function in the Kaiona ballroom. Aulani Chef Patrick Callarec got some help today with famed chefs, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi.

According to the fundraiser's invitation, it was organized by Governor Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Governor Brian Schatz and Hawaii's Congressional delegation. Co-Chairs were listed as Ko Olina developer, Jeff Stone, Leighton Mau and Pam Hamamoto. Co-Hosts are Stanford Carr, Wendy Crabb, Janie and mark Davis, Walter Dods, Jr., John Farias Jr., John Komeji, Colbert Matsumoto, Catherine Park, George Paris and Hank Wuh.

Though $1,000 got you brunch in the room with the President, $5,000 contributors to the Obama Victory Fund enjoyed a photo opportunity with the President, while those donating $17,900 got a special meet and greet with Mr. Obama during a pre-reception. According to the invitation, the first $5,00 of a contribution to OVF 2012 will be alllocated to Obama for America with the next $30,800 of a contribution allocated to the Democratic National Committee.

Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner John Cruz was called upon to serenade the group. Cruz played at all of the Hawaii Obama campaign stops during the President's first campaign and has returned to help with his re-election campaign. This morning, Cruz sang six songs, including some new ones, and Island Style said to be one of Obama's favorites.

"His sister told me that its on his iPod. Its one of his favorite local songs I guess," said Cruz.

Cruz has been in the same room as Obama in the past, but today Cruz is excited because its the first time, he'll actually meet him.

For residents and even those attending the event, trying to get to the fundraiser this morning posed some problems when traffic started backing up around 8 o'clock.

Making matters worse, APEC barriers started coming down. At times, traffic came to halt from either the barrier work or security issues.

U.S. Secret Service and Honolulu police maintained their Olani Street closure and checkpoint to monitor traffic between Aulani Resort and next door's JW Marriott Ihilani Resort, where the President is staying.

Thomas Telfer just moved to Ko Olina from San Diego and learned APEC was happening in his neighborhood from friends.

"I took my golf cart out and was trying to go down the road and they were taking mirrors looking under the golf cart and they had dogs sniffing it and it looked like they were taking out all these detectors trying to see if I had any bad stuff on me," said Telfer.

Ko Olina resident Arlene Kelly was prepared to stay inside this weekend and stocked up early at Costco for Sunday's APEC events.

"How often do you have a chance to have the President of the United States staying right across the street from where you live," said Kelly.

Telfer added, "If it brings some revenue to the island, its gotta be a good thing."

During the fundraiser President Obama said, "It is great to be home - great to just feel that aloha spirit. Michelle and the girls will be back shortly for Christmas vacation, as we do every year. We'll see if Washington gets its business done so I can get here in time."

President Obama will depart Honolulu tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. and head to Australia. Expect traffic delays in and out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor/ Hickam and along the H-1 freeway during his motorcade arrival to base.

Sunrise on Hawaii News Now will be covering Tuesday's Obama departure LIVE. We'll have the latest in any resulting traffic delays.

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