November 13th, 2011
07:03 PM ET

Occupy sympathizer plays APEC dinner

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - As President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the heads of 18 other nations dined together Saturday night, they were unwittingly serenaded for almost 45 minutes by a musician playing a song about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"We occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few," sang Matthew Swalinkavich, a well-known local guitarist who calls himself Makana, the Hawaiian word that means "the gift".  Makana was invited by the White House to perform during the APEC leaders' dinner.

Dressed in a suit, Makana at first played traditional Hawaiian-style music as leaders arrived at Honolulu's Hale Koa Hotel.  He continued his performance during dinner, positioned next to the four tables where leaders and their spouses dined.  Eventually he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a t-shirt that said, in handwritten letters, "Occupy with Aloha," and began playing a song he recently wrote called "We Are the Many".

Video recorded on a cell phone by Makana's sound technician showed some leaders turning their attention toward him as he sang the song, but most appeared not to notice.  "I started out very cautiously because my intention was not to disrupt their dinner. My intention was to subliminally convey a message that I felt was paramount to the negotiations," Makana told CNN.  "Eventually I got enough courage to go into it for an extended period of time. And I ended my show with the line 'the bidding of the many not the few.'  I sang it about fifty times in different ways for them to hear."

Makana said President Obama's table, located on the far side of the tent from where he performed, appeared engaged in conversation throughout the meal and it was unclear if the president heard the protest song.  Aides were not present at the dinner, Makana said, and the wait staff only made brief appearances to deliver courses.

The White House declined to comment on the incident.

CNN's Stacia Deshishku contributed to this report.


Topics: APEC • Hawaii • The Buzz
Protestors hit the beaches in Hawaii
November 13th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Protestors hit the beaches in Hawaii

Protesters took to the beach in board shorts and bikinis to protest APEC. About 10 sign-carrying protesters marched down the beach in Waikiki to the Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel where the White House Press Corps Filing Center is located. Tourists floated along in inner tubes watching the protests.


Topics: APEC • Hawaii
Ahead of APEC Summit, Obamas spend Veterans Day aboard USS Carl Vinson
November 12th, 2011
05:07 PM ET

Ahead of APEC Summit, Obamas spend Veterans Day aboard USS Carl Vinson

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama spent Veterans Day aboard the USS Carl Vinson attending the first ever college basketball game played on the deck of and aircraft carrier.  It was the UNC Tar Heels vs The Michigan State Spartans.  The Obamas sat center court, talking animatedly during the game, watching with as many as seven thousand servicemen and women and guests on the carrier docked outside San Diego.  The Tar Heels prevailed.  The Obamas left for Hawaii where the president is attending several meetings including hosting world leaders at APEC.  He travels to Australia and Indonesia later this week.


Topics: APEC • Michelle Obama • President Obama
Lothianisms: Press corps sleepwalking through Asia
November 13th, 2010
10:12 PM ET

Lothianisms: Press corps sleepwalking through Asia

YOKOHAMA, Japan (CNN) –Traveling with the president is always a plum assignment that becomes even sweeter during long trips to wonderful cities around the world.
FULL POST


Topics: APEC • Lothianisms • The Buzz • White House
November 13th, 2010
05:21 AM ET

Final briefing on President's trip to Asia

Delivered by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Press Filing Center in Yokohama, Japan

MR. RHODES: Thanks, Mike. Thanks, everybody. We had a good morning this morning with bilateral meetings with Japan and Australia. The President has gone into APEC leaders meetings, and the rest of today he'll have APEC leaders meeting this afternoon; then there’s a cultural program tonight, followed by a dinner that the President will attend.
FULL POST


Topics: APEC • Asia • Japan • Press Briefing • The Vault
Obama's iPad: iReggie
November 13th, 2010
04:04 AM ET

Obama's iPad: iReggie

Washington (CNN) - Apparently President Obama doesn't need an iPad; he's got an aide for that: iReggie.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' retreat in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday, a print pool reporter was within earshot of a brief exchange between the president and an iPad owner, Thai Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva.

"So you like your iPad?" Obama asked.

The Thai leader nodded and asked Obama if he had one.

"These days mostly I have someone carrying my books.  So that's my iPad," Obama said, referring to personal aide Reggie Love.
FULL POST


Topics: APEC • President Obama • The Buzz • White House