Obama’s vacation came amidst fiscal wrangling
January 5th, 2013
06:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama’s vacation came amidst fiscal wrangling

(CNN) - About 90 minutes after publicly berating lawmakers for failing to reach a fiscal cliff deal before the holidays, President Barack Obama flew out of Washington. He landed in Hawaii 11 hours later - over 4,000 miles from Capitol Hill, and where the temperature was a balmy 80 degrees, twice what it was in Washington.

"As we leave town for a few days, I hope it gives everyone perspective," he said in those remarks on December 21, two weeks ago. "Everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones."

Obama's Hawaiian vacation, an annual tradition, comes to an end on Saturday after nine days.

The fiscal cliff proved inescapable: The effort to reach a deal, which eventually passed the Senate and House, called him back to D.C. the day after Christmas.

But his haste to return to Hawaii, Obama rushed to the podium even faster than before. He spoke about 20 minutes after the House approved the measure, and took off to resume his vacation less than an hour after the vote concluded.

While in the Aloha State, the president made few appearances in public, though he fit in at least five rounds of golf and worked out at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii gym nearly daily.

He stayed with his family at a house in Kailua on the island of Oahu, the third largest of the state's 132 islands.

Information about his trip comes from reporters who traveled with the president and from the White House. Obama's house was not visible from the location where reporters were allowed to work.

Among the restaurants Obama visited was one run by the chef Masaharu Morimoto of television fame. Obama made several dinner outings with his wife and friends.

On Christmas Day, the White House said the Obamas opened gifts then "ate breakfast and sang carols."

Later that day he visited service members and their families at the Marine base.

"This is where I was born and so we come back for the holidays, but one of our favorite things is always coming to the base on Christmas Day and having a chance just to meet you, those of you who have families here, " he said, according to reporters who were allowed to watch his brief remarks, “and to say thanks for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day."

The Obamas also went on hiking outings and visited the beach at least twice.

Between time with his family came presidential responsibilities. The White House said that Obama received a daily briefing ands placed calls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey regarding the Superstorm Sandy relief measure, which was working its way through Congress.

Obama also called the leadership of the new Congress to offer congratulations, the White House said.

On Thursday, he went bowling with his daughters and took them out for shave ice, the Hawaiian dessert treat. The White House only said the Obamas ordered "an assortment of flavors."

The pool reporter traveling with the president noted, "No details about strikes, spares, turkeys or other notable bowling feats were provided."

Obama is expected to leave the island late Saturday. He returns to Washington with several pressing issues on his plate, including the federal government’s debt ceiling. The president is also expected to make announcements on Cabinet positions soon.

Filed under: Hawaii • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. texan2

    Has Mr. Obama ALWAYS gone to Hawaii for Christmas or is this merely since he has been in the White House?

    January 5, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. Disgusted

    Yeap. Great leader! Yell at them for not doing their job (which is also his job) and then he takes off on ANOTHER vacation. Still spending our money. Make sure that debt ceiling has to be raised, yet again. Great election promise of reducing the debt. Hmmmmhmmmmm. Gotta love politicians.

    January 5, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Small fry

    When did this become an annual vacation? Did he ever go on his own dime?

    January 5, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. Guest 1

    9 days since december 21st???...only cnn

    January 5, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. Evergreen

    No matter how busy a person may be, this a good reminder to make time for family.

    January 5, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Randy

    Everyone needs a break...good for the president and his family.

    January 5, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. Harry Kuheim

    What hypocrisy...Obama and all Libs despise the Military and all they do and represent. The Military WAS the enemy when Bush was President. Remember when Senator Obama was saying we were," Air Raiding Villages and Killing innocent Civilians"...now he orders Drones Strikes and not a word is said.

    January 5, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |

    For the record..........congress also left for another vacation ....so what does everyone expect obama to do when the congress is away? He can't do anything. So get over it.

    January 5, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. Vidal Demonti

    Glad our President took some time out and was able to relax in Hawaii. He had a hard few months behind him and deserves every bit of time out. I wish him well!

    January 5, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. Jennifer

    No wonder O doesn't want to reduce spending...He might only get to take AF1 to Hawaii once instead of two times in one week.

    January 5, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. AK_steve

    This is news?

    January 5, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  12. Disgusted_Republican

    and why shouldn't the president return to his vacation? It was the feckless Congress that failed to do its duty.

    January 5, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  13. Name Sylvester

    It's a shame that President Obama enjoys less vacation time than either Bush, Reagan or Clinton.

    January 6, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. Meki60

    does not matter where he is, he is always a charlatan.

    January 6, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. Synthetically Thought...

    And the author's point of the story is...? There seems to be some underlying tone within the words of this article. What is the author suggesting...Presidents do not deserve vacations?

    January 6, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. bribarian

    Two-Part vacation, I assumed this was about his two terms in office.

    January 6, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  17. itson

    The President is a very hard working man and in order to do a good job for us he needs his rest. His enemies would think otherwise....

    January 6, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  18. Obama's stunt double

    "He landed in Hawaii 11 hours later – over 4,000 miles from Capitol Hill, and where the temperature was a balmy 80 degrees, twice what it was in Washington."
    Thanks for the the geography lesson and the weather report pap. Maybe you can tell me if Obama's hairstyle has changed any? Obama is just another celebrity. People think he is responsible for solving all their problems. What a laugh!

    January 6, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  19. Name jerry

    OMG this country elected this guy?

    January 6, 2013 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  20. Allan

    Dont worry about the cost of added security and cost of vacation. Our brother has extra funds now, thanks to the rich 1%...........

    January 6, 2013 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  21. UphomoPoomy

    Hello. And Bye.

    January 6, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. Marie MD

    wallace, and your point is? congress takes a week off for a one day holiday and they are pretty much on vacation every day. Just to bring you up to speed in this day and age a fax signature is as good as a live signature on any document.
    The President needs his time off with his family. If you remember they already gave up their summer vacation last year.
    You rather he buy an ugly ranch in Texas and spend 1/3 of his presidency at the ranch or at Camp David?

    January 6, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  23. Bill Miller

    Let them eat cake.

    January 6, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  24. steveiweevie

    Fantastic story!!! Genius!!!

    January 6, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  25. proudmemberofglobalzero

    Talk about vacations, what about congress? They have taken more time off than I have in my lifetime just these past two years. They need a salary and benefit package cut. If you check out the petitions on the WH website....we have maxed out the signatures to cut congressional pay. Check it out and sign it.

    January 6, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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