The Washington Times - November 13, 2011, 07:47PM

First lady Michelle Obama told spouses of international leaders at a luncheon in Hawaii Sunday that she feels welcome in America’s 50th state because of its “spirit of openness and tolerance.”

“I feel like this is my home away from home, a place where I feel welcome and open and optimistic,” Mrs. Obama said during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, at a lunch at the seaside resort of Ka’a’awa, Hawaii.

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“Folks here view their differences as strengths –- not as weaknesses.  And people of all different backgrounds live together and work together and seek to learn from each other.”

President Obama was born in Honolulu, and his wife joked that his birthplace was a compelling factor when she agreed to marry him.

“That’s really one of the reasons I married Barack,” Mrs. Obama said. “When I realized that this is where we’d be spending the holidays, I said, ‘Yes — I love you!’”