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Power outage hits during Obama’s Hawaiian vacation

SHARE Power outage hits during Obama’s Hawaiian vacation

HONOLULU — The Hawaiian island of Oahu was plunged into darkness by a power outage, but President-elect Barack Obama reportedly had power generators at his vacation house, officials said.

Hawaiian Electric Company spokeswoman Jan Loose said the company sent an emergency power generator to Obama's beach house after power to the entire island was knocked out Friday evening leaving 800,000 people in the dark.

But Bill Brennan, a spokesman for Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press early Saturday that there were already three generators at the house and when the one sent by the governor arrived electric company employees trying to deliver it were turned away.

Brennan said Hannemann offered assistance to Obama through Honolulu police helping with his protection and was told he didn't need any.

"Mr. Obama said thank you, but no, he and his family were just fine ... and we're going to bed," Brennan said, adding that the mayor advised residents to do the same.

Loose said power had been restored to about 88,000 customers by 5 a.m. local time, but power to neighborhoods on the eastern shore, where Obama was staying with his family, would likely not be restored until later Saturday.

Obama officials on Friday night refused to comment on reports that the house had been equipped with a generator in preparation for Obama's visit.

Obama, wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha are staying in a $9 million single-story oceanfront home in a laid-back neighborhood on a mountain near downtown Honolulu where the president-elect grew up.

The five-bedroom wood frame house sits on almost an acre of land fronting Kailua Beach, a favorite spot for windsurfers, kayakers and dog walkers.

Obama and his family have tried to keep a low profile during the vacation, although the man who becomes president on Jan. 20 is finding that difficult.

He took his daughters and friends to an aquatic center, Sea Life Park, on Friday. One onlooker shouted, "Swim with us and the dolphins!"

Visitors to the aquatic park said the Obamas attended a dolphin show, and some showed reporters snapshots they took with the president-elect. Reporters were not allowed inside the aquatic park during the 90 minutes the Obamas were there.

Later, Malia and Sasha ate shave ice at Kokonuts Shave Ice and Snacks while their dad downed a tuna melt. A few dozen onlookers craned to take pictures.

It was one of only a handful of trips Obama and his motorcade have taken since they arrived Dec. 20. The president-elect and his wife have visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii for daily morning workouts. Twice, Obama and friends have played a round of golf. He also attended a private memorial service for his grandmother on Tuesday and scattered her ashes into the Pacific Ocean.


Associated Press writer Shirley Smith contributed to this story.