Obama interrupted his weeklong family getaway for the event at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, where 500 people donated at least $2,300 apiece to his presidential campaign to hear him speak. Posted at the entrance was a photo collage of Obama's youth in Hawaii, featuring his poofy teenage hairdo and his jump shot on the high school basketball team.
Donors who gave $10,000 or more were included in a VIP reception where they got to mingle and pose for pictures with Obama and his wife, Michelle. The pair didn't get too buttoned-up on their vacation and went uncharacteristically casual for a high-dollar fundraiser, him in a short-sleeve shirt and her in a sun dress.
Obama joked that his wife married him only when she found out he was from Hawaii. He said he's been yearning to get back to Hawaii ever since he began running for president a year and a half ago.
"I kept on telling my staff, I'm worried about Hawaii," he said. "It's going to be really embarrassing if we don't pull it out. I think I need to spend two or three days campaigning. They said no."
He thanked Hawaiians for campaigning for him in his absence.
Earlier on Tuesday, Obama played basketball with his Chicago buddies and some high school classmates, reports CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic. Also on hand was former high school dean, Paula Kurashige, who Obama said helped him get into college.
Obama spent the rest of his afternoon on the beach with his family and friends.