The Republican Party’s leadership plans to watch President Barack Obama’s
State of the Union speech tonight from a Hawaiian resort’s South Pacific Ballroom.
More than 100 RNC members are at the
conference at the oceanfront Hilton Hawaiian Village amid
swimming pools and lagoons in the city where Obama was born.
Bob Bennett, 70, an RNC member from Cleveland, Ohio, said
there is no shame in meeting in a palm-tree-lined locale, though
he also said, “If you took a poll of members, they probably
would have held it a little closer to home.”
Michael Steele, the RNC chairman, told the Associated Press
he isn’t concerned about gathering in a lush place and wants to
recognize the efforts of Republicans from Hawaii and U.S.
territories in the Pacific Ocean who usually must travel to the
mainland for such events. “Hawaii’s going through a recession, too,” Steele told
AP. “So we’re going to help the economy a little bit.”
After the State of the Union, RNC members plan a luau with
a speech by Hawaii Lieutenant Governor James “Duke” Aiona, a
Republican candidate for governor in the state.