MAYOR'S AD WITH OBAMA CLARIFIED
Mayor's ad with Obama clarified
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
A campaign advertisement featuring Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was not sanctioned by the Obama campaign and does not amount to an official endorsement, local Obama campaign officials said.
The advertisement, featuring images from Obama's public rally last month at Ke'ehi Lagoon Beach Park and audio of Obama praising the mayor, also includes a picture of Obama with Hannemann and his wife, Gail Mukaihata Hannemann.
The ad quotes Obama saying "I want to thank one of the best mayors in the country who has just made Honolulu even better than it was before, Mufi Hannemann."
Staff members for Obama's Hawai'i campaign said they have been fielding calls about the ad and questions about whether Obama formally endorsed Hannemann.
Hannemann's campaign did not make a formal request to use Obama's likeness or public comments in a paid campaign advertisement, Obama campaign officials said.
"Senator Obama has not endorsed any candidate for mayor of Honolulu," said Andy Winer, Obama's Hawai'i campaign chairman.
A.J. Halagao, who serves as Hannemann's campaign coordinator and campaign spokesperson, was also a volunteer for Obama's local campaign prior to working for Hannemann's re-election campaign.
"We are not aware of an objection from the Obama campaign regarding our commercial. In fact, earlier this week, we were contacted by the Obama campaign to have Mayor Hannemann speak at an upcoming rally in Hawai'i and in addition, travel to Mainland municipalities to speak on Senator Obama's behalf," said Halagao. "Earlier in the year, Mayor Hannemann endorsed Senator Obama, who responded, 'Mahalo to Mayor Hannemann for endorsing my candidacy for president. I have known Mufi since my basketball playing days in high school, and I appreciate all of his efforts to make Honolulu a better place to live.' "
The ad featuring Hannemann and Obama was made at a rally at Ke'ehi lagoon — a public event that already had been broadcast throughout the country, according to the Hannemann campaign.
During his Hawai'i visit last month, Obama reiterated his praise for Hannemann during a fundraiser a few days after the rally, referring to Hannemann as an "outstanding mayor."
The fundraising event, which Hannemann co-chaired, generated more than $1.3 million in donations.
Reach Peter Boylan at firstname.lastname@example.org.