Hawaii vacation ends for President Obama and First Family - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii vacation ends for President Obama and First Family

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert).
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

President Barack Obama and the First Family departed Honolulu aboard Air Force One Saturday night, ending an annual Christmas vacation that included the usual activities—hiking, shave ice, and lots of golf—but also required a brief return to Washington by Obama to deal with the looming fiscal cliff.

The First Family arrived in the islands in the early hours of Saturday, December 22, leaving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam just before 12:20 a.m. as they headed to the same Kailua beach house they have vacationed in every year since Obama was elected president.

A day later, the President and First Lady traveled by motorcade to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to attend a memorial service for the late Senator Daniel Inouye. Obama did not speak at the Punchbowl ceremony, though he did remember Inouye during remarks given at the Washington National Cathedral during a separate service three days prior.

"And so we remember a man who inspired all of us with his courage, moved us with his compassion, inspired us with his integrity, and who taught so many of us—including a young kid growing up in Hawaii—that America has a place for everyone," said Obama.

The President spent the days leading up to Christmas golfing and hiking with his family, and Michelle Obama answered phone calls on Christmas Eve as part of Santa's journey during the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program, run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Obama departed for Washington D.C. the day after Christmas, giving former lieutenant governor and newly appointed Senator Brian Schatz a lift aboard Air Force One as the two headed for the nation's capitol in order to try and find a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff.

After Congress finished passing legislation to avoid the worst effects of the cliff on Tuesday night, President Obama again hopped aboard Air Force One and landed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu early Wednesday morning, rejoining his family and resuming his holiday vacation. 

He spent his remaining days on Oahu golfing with friends and taking his daughters bowling and to Island Snow in Kailua for shave ice, a seemingly annual occasion.

Obama will likely remain in Washington this week before preparing for the inauguration ceremony to kick off his second term on January 21.

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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