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Obama’s Hawaii Arrival

Sen. Barack Obama had a quiet arrival in Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother. His wife, Michelle, and running mate Sen. Joe Biden continue to campaign intensely back on the mainland.

The usual pomp of Obama’s visits was replaced with a “subdued” spirit, according to the pool report:

It was a subdued arrival, with no waving and no welcoming party… A scaled-down motorcade — about six cars — made its way through easy traffic to the apartment building where Madelyn Dunham lives…. About three-dozen people stood across the street watching the small spectacle. Several residents of the apartment building stepped out on their balconies, looking down on Obama’s arrival…. Throughout Obama’s visit, several more people passed by, including a group of women who held a small, hand-made sign, “Best Wishes Obamas!”

Obama’s break from the trail is unlikely to cost him much politically. In a radio interview with Peter B. Collins yesterday, I responded to a question on this point:

Politically, I actually don’t think — post debates — that we’re in a period where what the candidates say and where they go matters very much. It is true that in the middle, between the two debates, for example, we saw a lot of energy around … the tit for tat, “say it to my face,” and Bill Ayers. That was a period where the ability to give an interview in two hours and get your message out was very important. I haven’t seen anything like that back and forth between the candidates, because we’re just in a different stage.

Also, of course, I doubt the McCain campaign will push hard to draw Obama into a sharp exchange while he is visiting his grandmother.

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