KAILUA, Hawaii -- Many in this upscale, oceanside suburb of Honolulu are expecting it to again serve as the holiday getaway for scores of reporters, photographers, federal agents -- and one president.
The White House hasn't formally announced that President Barack Obama and his family will be celebrating Christmas in Hawaii -- or anywhere else -- in part because the health care reform debate in Congress may delay his departure. Gov. Linda Lingle's office and Honolulu police also are remaining silent.
But there are many behind-the-scenes indications that plans are being made, and Kailua is abuzz with anticipation, hoping for an economic boost from another visit by the Hawaii-born president.
''The word is out,'' said John Stallings, a real estate agent who runs the Web site OurKailuaTown.com. ''I'd say it's more than the talk around town that they are returning.''
Stallings said he knows for a fact that preparations are being made to house Secret Service agents during the holidays in rental homes near where Obama stayed a year ago. There have also been several news reports indicating a possible presidential vacation starting Dec. 23.
A visit would be Obama's first as president to Hawaii, where he was born and spent many of his childhood years. It's also the first time he's coming home with no relatives living here. Obama's grandmother passed away last year just days before he was elected and his sister has since moved to Washington.
Many expect that Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters will vacation in the same multimillion-dollar beach home where they stayed in a year ago. It's located on the Windward side of Oahu at the base of the towering, green Koolau mountains, about a half-hour drive from downtown Honolulu. The five-bedroom home is in a long cul-de-sac and features Kawainui Stream on the other side of the road and the white sands of Kailua Beach out back.