December 26th, 2008
08:03 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama greets military troops, families on Christmas

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/26/obama.holiday/art.obamaxmas.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Obama shakes hands with troops having Christmas dinner at a military base in Hawaii."] (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama visited military personnel and their families enjoying Christmas dinner at a Marine Corps base in Hawaii Thursday during his holiday vacation.

Obama went to Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay on Oahu where he mingled with Marines and sailors. Obama and the troops also had a traditional dinner including turkey, roast beef, ham and trimmings.

Obama, dressed casually in a blue polo shirt and dark khaki trousers, chatted casually, shook hands and posed for photos with men and women in the dining hall, which had been decorated with Christmas trees and Santa figurines.

Watch: Obama's holiday message urged Americans to remember the troops

Shortly before Obama entered the room, a Marine shouted to the crowd scattered across 25 tables, "You need to take you seats, the president-elect is going to be coming."

Obama, who spent about an hour at the Marine base, worked his way around the room, table by table.

"Just wanted to say, 'Hi, hey guys,'" Obama said at one point while reporters were allowed in the room.

"Hey guys, Merry Christmas," he said to another group.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Molly

    I hope there is a renewed focus on our military members. They deserve a lot of credit and respect which they seldom get.

    December 26, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Proud American

    He didn't have to do this. He's not the president; he's not even running for office. What a great guy! I'm proud of my fellow REAL American.

    December 26, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. WIlly Brown

    I bet Obama is wondering where and why he's in one of those 57 states today...

    December 26, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Ray Fisher

    I'll bet our troops are anxious to serve under a President who appreciates them just as I was in 1981 under President Reagan. Retention, morale and espirit de corps should skyrocket as a sense of purpose tends to improve all situations.Time will tell but it is promising for our troops.

    December 26, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  5. Richard Rohde

    Just before he sells them all down the river, acutally he already has, Hussein is providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

    December 26, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. john

    Well how nice of him to take time out of his busy Hawaiin Vacation.....this man is a God and just like the rest of us mere mortals.

    December 26, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Irritated in Fl

    Talk about kissing butt. Obama suppossedly said NO photo opts on Christmas. And here he was, sneaking around a Marine Base so that he could get his picture taken with REAL men and women and attempt to look like a leader. How pathetic.

    December 26, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Tim

    Wow.....amazing....the man is just amazing. By the way President – Elect Obama...I forgot to say it yesterday....but a big

    Happy Birthday to you!

    December 26, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Rahmat Kankam

    A person who is so free like president elect ,I like him too much may God bless him and protect him.

    December 26, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Kenneth M. of Flushing Queens

    This changes nothing.

    December 26, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Marc M

    I heard he was handing out pink slips as his mere presence in the world will obviously erase any need for a military.

    Have to get the money to keep his voters on government handouts to insure 2012 victory.

    December 26, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. conservative

    Must have had to stifle a lot to mingle with the commoners (troops )but it makes good fodder for the swooning press!!

    December 26, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Lori

    I am so proud of our next President. Please show the Republicans that Democrats do love and respect our troops and Democrats are just as patriotic and maybe even more so than the Republicans.

    God bless our President-elect!

    December 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Intellect and pecs!

    God bless you and your family President-elect Obama. Looking forward to your presidency.

    December 26, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. proudliberal-independent

    that's great. just a reminder, mr president. we wont allow any major extensions to our stay in iraq. dont think the economy or any other issues will distract us from this demand. remember all those anti-war protesters during the campaign , that followed mccain around? they will follow you around, too, if you dont stick to your promises. good luck.

    December 26, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. sunshine

    now this is what america is all about.

    December 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Bring them home

    they all deserve a hero's welcome, get them out of there and home for some family time

    We should have never been there in the first place

    Jail Cheney / Bush / Rove

    December 26, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. Ralph Il

    It's great to see we are going to have a president that actually cares about the troops for a change.

    December 26, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. shucks

    We finally will have a commander in chief we can be proud of. I feel America's pride returning and our respect in the world improving just because of what we did on November 4th, 2008. Truly a turning point in American history and possibly the world. Don't underestimate our desire for change, equality for all, and our determination to succeed in making America a place for all people to be proud to call home no matter your race, religion, age, or sexual orientation. Our resolve is unequaled and paramount to our survival as the greatest nation on Earth. To those who would wish to restrict, divide, alienate, or attack this country or any of it's citizens from within, you are not welcome in this great United States of America.

    December 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Greg Hodges

    To all those idiots who question Barack Obama`s patriotism, did you spend an hour of your Christmas shaking hands with the troops ?! I thought not.

    December 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Marc

    Starting with bigotry filled comments from those who wants America goes even deeper in the hole we're in (so they can say -proudly- 'I told you so...') in 10..., 9..., 8...

    December 26, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Walter Cronkite

    Finally,a man who can speak the english language.

    December 26, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Richard Rohde

    Still have not heard him say he was wrong about the surge, which gave great comfort to our enemies. I could not get to Hawaii on the governments dime. If I could have I would have.

    December 26, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Jean - NY

    Impressive – he flies all the way to Hawaii on our dime and then while on vacation takes a few hours out to visit some tropps. Nice to see his heart is with the tropps – could have used my tax dollars to go to Iraq or Afghanistan or Korea or Germany to vist the troops for the holidays. This way he didn't much have to put himself out of his cushy, high-fallootin' vacation.

    December 26, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. billy-bayou

    Greg Hodges:

    President Bush spent time calling troops in the area where the combat takes place, the obama spent time shaking hands in the safe haven of Hawaii. He is a frigging joke. And I an way ahead of your next question, I did my time, I enlisted in the USMC, 1945. When did the obama serve the country.

    December 26, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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