US & Canada

Universities in bids to win Obama presidential library

Clinton presidential library opening
Image caption Bill Clinton's library opened to great fanfare in Little Rock in 2004

Rival universities are already vying to host Barack Obama's presidential library, which will store his papers and help frame his legacy as president.

The University of Hawaii has been pushing to host the first Hawaiian-born US president's archives and artefacts.

And the University of Chicago, where Mr Obama taught law and kicked off his political career, is also reported to have expressed interest.

But Mr Obama has at least two and up to six years left in the White House.

Asked to discuss Mr Obama's views about a presidential library, a White House spokesman simply said, "No comment".

'We have to think about it'

"This is something that presidents typically think about toward the end of their presidency, and Obama hopefully is still toward the beginning of his presidency," Robert Perkinson, a University of Hawaii American studies professor who is leading the school's bid, told the Associated Press.

"So it's not surprising that [Obama] doesn't want to think about it. But those of us who are interested in bidding, we have to think about it a lot earlier than he does."

In April, the Hawaii state legislature sent to the White House a resolution urging Mr Obama to select a site in the remote Pacific island chain, which in 1959 became the last state to join the union.

Last year, University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer told Bloomberg news agency the school was studying the benefits of having the library there.

Former President Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock has revitalised a once-depressed commercial corridor on that city's riverfront.

And George W Bush is expected to participate in a ground breaking ceremony at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in the state of Texas on 16 November.

The thirteen presidential libraries - spanning from Herbert Hoover to George Bush - are administered by the US National Archives.

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