Posted by: LZ | December 30, 2009

How coverage of the Obama vacation has changed

When then-Senator Obama visited Hawaii in August 2008, I thought it might be a good way to get some extra hits on my website.  And I was right.   I figured that people planning trips to Hawaii might be interested in what he did while he was here.

Photo of Obama's August 2008 rental house

Thus began my coverage of the “Obama Hawaii Vacation”.  He rented a house in the middle of Kailua Beach which was shown on TV the night he arrived.  I figured he would probably take a jog on the beach the next morning, so I headed over to check it out.  

I recognized the house immediately from TV and the couple of Honolulu police guys standing around.  The beach was not blocked off in front.  I looked up at the house and saw Michelle standing in front of the large window looking out over  the ocean.   

A short time later, I saw Senator Obama jogging by with about 5 or 6 guys jogging alongside.  Some were friends; some Secret Service.  I also saw him walking back the opposite direction about 45 minutes later with three Secret Service agents.  There were no crowds around. 

Dec 2008 -This was as far as you could walk down the beach

He returned to Hawaii last December as the President-Elect.  This time he rented the three houses at the far end of  the beach (the same ones he is in now).  Beach walkers could not go all the way to the end of the beach.  They were stopped by two Secret Service agents a hundred yards plus from the house.   The street he was on was not blocked off at the entrance.  You could walk down the street  some before the point where it was closed.

Dec 2009 - Boats patrolling the waters around Obama compound

Now that he is President, security has obviously become a lot tighter.  Still only two Secret Service agents on the beach (in the same spot as last year).  But now there are a couple of boats constantly patrolling the water near his home.  His street is completely blocked off.  There is also a 10-mile no-fly zone over the Windward side.

There are noticeably fewer photos published on this trip.  Most of the photos only show the President entering or leaving an area.  In previous trips, we saw photos taken of him on the golf course, body surfing, at the zoo, at the Arizona Memorial, at the Pali Lookout, etc.   (*Note:  I am not saying that the public SHOULD be allowed to see the President on vacation; I am just noting the differences between his past three visits here)

Dec 2008 Bauer-Griffin photo

And last but not least.  Remember the shirtless photos taken of President-Elect Obama last year outside his house (and who could forget…).  Those photos were taken by some guy with a long lens camera standing on the public side of Kailua Beach.  They were displayed on the paparazzi Bauer-Griffin website, whose slogan is “Bauer-Griffin is the Hollywood Hunt Club”.

Yes, they scored big last year with the shirtless photos.  And they are back again this year.  A few days ago, their Twitter account posted a link to photos of “Obama’s Daughters’ Christmas in Hawaii”.  Don’t bother clicking on the link because the page has been taken down.  So there, Bauer-Griffin.  Next time stick to POTUS pecs.



  1. The photographer who took Pres. Obama’s shirtless photos last year was a former colleague of mine at Bauer-Griffin.
    While I’m not at liberty to name him, all I can say is that he’s from Honolulu and was vacationing in the islands when those pictures were taken.
    He said that he did not expect to take Pres. Obama’s picture, but just the same he brought his camera with a zoom lens and started walking on the beach.
    He said when he got within shooting distance from the house where the Obama’s where staying—that’s when he saw Pres. Obama walk out of the house to go to the beach.
    I just hope Bauer-Griffin will pay him for what the pictures sold for—or what is due to him. Bauer-Griffin tends to be so secretive when it comes to information as to how much a particular set of pictures sold worldwide.
    In several instances in the past involving a few of my former colleagues, Frank Griffin and Randy Bauer would not disclose total sales of a set—even to the photographers who got the pictures. For example, the pictures of Britney Spears shaving her head in Feb. of 2007. There were some disagreements and anomalies involved that the two shooters who got Britney’s pictures quit working for Bauer-Griffin three months after the shaving incident.
    Several months later, Frank Griffin bought a boat, while Randy Bauer purchased a house in Manhattan Beach.

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