HONOLULU - President-elect Barack Obama left behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him this morning when he and his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, headed to Sea Life Park, a marine amusement park near Waimanalo and Bellows Air Force Station.
It is the first time Obama's motorcade has traveled without his protective press pool during his vacation and perhaps since the election. Obama has largely avoided the press during his first half of his 12-day vacation on Oahu, and has not spoken to the reporters following him daily.
Obama's press aides sent reporters home for the day around 9:30 a.m., after the president-elect went returned to his Kailua vacation home from the gym. Reporters returned to Waikiki, which is about a 30 minute drive from Kailua.
Around 11:15 a.m. reporters on pool duty received an email saying that they were to meet again in the lobby of the hotel where they are staying because the president-elect was going somewhere. They made it to the amusement park at 12:10, an hour after Obama arrived there.
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt issued a statement explaining: "With no further scheduled events for the day, a lid was called until further notice. The President-elect decided to take the girls to a water park and we assembled the pool as quickly as possible."