Obama split on location of presidential library

WASHINGTON - He holds a strong association with both places - Hawaii is his birthplace and winter retreat, but Chicago is his adopted home and where his children were born.

And on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said he's still not sure which location would be the home of his presidential library.

"Honolulu is my birthplace," Obama said on an interview with Honolulu station KITV. "It's the place where I grew up and I've got so many friends and fond memories and it helped to shaped me. I'd like to find a way after my presidency that connection remains, but I live in Chicago now and that's where I grew up professionally."

"It is a tough choice, but it's not one that I've made yet," Obama said. Reports in the last year have indicated that Obama's team is looking at space for a presidential library in Chicago, including near the University of Chicago where he taught before entering politics.

Universities have housed presidential libraries in the past, including the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station.

But the University of Hawaii has also made no secret of their desire to house Obama's presidential library, and the Aloha State's legislature passed a resolution in 2010 calling on Obama to choose his birthplace for the institution. An official committee of business and civic leaders -- the Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative -- was formed to try and lure the president back to the islands.

Obama acknowledged those efforts in his interview.

"Folks back home, back in Hawaii, have been very generous in talking about how much they'd like to figure out a way to participate post-presidency and I'm flattered by that and I'm going to look at every option," he said.

No matter where the library lands, it will likely cost north of $100 million, based on the whopping costs of past presidents' libraries. The money comes from private donations.

The libraries have the potential to become major tourist draws, particularly for an historic presidency like Obama's. While Chicago's central location would make a library more accessible to Americans, Hawaii is already a major tourist destination that millions of mainlanders visit every year.

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