Andrew Sullivan points out, via a reader, the "often overlooked point" that we can understand Barack Obama best in the context of his Hawaiian upbringing: "Everything that's essential and appealing about him is Hawaiian in character, and reflects his years growing up there."

For further elaboration on Hawaii and its impact on Obama's ideas about racial and socioeconomic divides, see Allegra Goodman's beautiful essay from our February 13 issue, "Rainbow Warrior," describing the background she and Obama share as graduates of Honolulu's Punahou school.

 -- Britt Peterson