ABC’s GMA Looks At Obama’s Hawaiian Christmas Vacation

At the top of Monday’s ABC Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo teased a story on Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation plans: "And Aloha, President-elect Barack Obama says Mele Kalikimaka on a bright Hawaiian holiday. We'll take to you to the $30 million retreat where the future first family is spending Christmas." Later, fill-in co-host Elizabeth Vargas introduced the segment: "Barack Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii over the weekend to a multi-million dollar ocean-front home, where they will spend Christmas." At no point in the story did anyone contrast Obama’s lavish getaway with the tough economic times. In fact, Cuomo seemed to dismiss any such criticism at the end of the segment: "I can already hear the rumblings, ‘who paid for the house? Who paid for the house?’"The report on the Obama vacation, by correspondent Yunji de Nies, seemed more like an episode of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ than a news story: "The Obamas are waking up to this, Kailua Beach, with 2 ½ miles of pure white sand. At the end sits the family's vacation paradise...The Obama's, along with close friends, rented three houses, worth more than $30 million. Each, a spaces 5,000 feet, with waterfalls and a lagoon pool that flows throughout." de Nies talked to the owner of the resort, David Zimel, who remarked: "It's a home fit for a king. It's a place where royalty actually gathered. So it's -- I think it's pretty fitting that we'd have our next president spend some time here and try to relax."de Nies also discovered an Obama-tourism industry developing: " If Mr. Obama ventures out to the places where he grew up, he may now find company...Barack Obama bus tours are springing up." She talked to one tour guide, Dennis Lynch, who explained: "I can't explain the joy and satisfaction that we have from a local boy who is now going to be the 44th president in a few weeks." de Nies continued: "The favorite stop? The site of this first job, where tourists can taste a new Obama-inspired flavor, ‘Whirl of Change.’" One happy customer proclaimed: "Change tastes good."Here is the full transcript of segment:

7:00AM TEASE:CHRIS CUOMO: And Aloha, President-elect Barack Obama says Mele Kalikimaka on a bright Hawaiian holiday. We'll take to you to the $30 million retreat where the future first family is spending Christmas.7:17AM SEGMENT: ELIZABETH VARGAS: So many people are heading home for the holidays, including the president-elect. Barack Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii over the weekend to a multi-million dollar ocean-front home, where they will spend Christmas. ABC's Yunji de Nies has a closer look.YUNJI DE NIES: The Obamas are waking up to this, Kailua Beach, with 2 ½ miles of pure white sand. At the end sits the family's vacation paradise. DAVID ZIMEL [PARADISE POINT ESTATES]: It's a home fit for a king. It's a place where royalty actually gathered. So it's -- I think it's pretty fitting that we'd have our next president spend some time here and try to relax.DE NIES: The Obama's, along with close friends, rented three houses, worth more than $30 million. Each, a spaces 5,000 feet, with waterfalls and a lagoon pool that flows throughout. Dave Zimel's company owns two of the homes and says the future first family is pleased.ZIMEL: They smiled a lot.DE NIES: After a flurry of press conferences last week, Mr. Obama is laying low on the golf course, and this is the only suit he's expected to wear. [FOOTAGE OF OBAMA IN SWIM SUIT]DE NIES: And when it comes to food, the president-elect loves this Hawaiian favorite, plate lunch, two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and meat. And don't forget the shaved ice. If Mr. Obama ventures out to the places where he grew up, he may now find company.DENNIS LYNCH: Good afternoon and Aloha. DE NIES: Barack Obama bus tours are springing up. LYNCH: The unit he lived in on the front right.DE NIES: Tour guide Dennis Lynch says he's got the best job in town.LYNCH: I can't explain the joy and satisfaction that we have from a local boy who is now going to be the 44th president in a few weeks.DE NIES: The favorite stop? The site of this first job, where tourists can taste a new Obama-inspired flavor, 'Whirl of Change.'UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Change tastes good.DE NIES: The family will be spending Christmas here and this could be the carol they sing that morning: UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: Mele Kalikimaka.DE NIES: A very Mele Kalikimaka, indeed. For Good Morning America, Yunji de Nies, ABC News, Honolulu.SINGER: Say Merry Christmas, Say a Merry Christmas to you. Mele Kalikimaka.VARGAS: Okay, that sun and sand looks really nice right now. The Obamas will stay there until New Year's Day and then head back to Chicago and then D.C. for the girls to start school.CHRIS CUOMO: I can already hear the rumblings, 'who paid for the house? Who paid for the house?'VARGAS: It's an awfully nice house.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC