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Sunday, November 23, 2014         

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First family reaches Oahu for annual Christmas visit

The president and the other Obamas are in Kailua while the "fiscal cliff" looms

By Michael Tsai

POSTED:


With fiscal negotiations on hold for the Christmas holiday, President Barack Obama arrived in Honolulu early Saturday for what has become an annual family vacation in Hawaii.

The first family arrived just after midnight. They are staying in a vacation home in the same Kailua neighborhood where they spent previous visits.

At about 11:30 a.m., the presidential motorcade headed to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where the president spent the afternoon playing golf with friends at the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course.

Joining Obama were White House chef Sam Kass, longtime friends Bobby Titcomb and Mike Ramos, and aide Marvin Nicholson.

The motorcade returned to the vacation home around 5:30 p.m. It emerged again shortly after 8 p.m. headed to Morimoto's restaurant in Waikiki.

The president's vacation began just two days after Speaker of the House John Boehner was forced to abandon his so-called Plan B for averting the fiscal cliff amid resistance from a hard-line faction of his fellow Republicans. The failure to come to an agreement on a budget plan that would supplant the automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the start of the new year has put Boehner's leadership in question and has shifted the onus of finding a viable solution to Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In his recorded weekly address, Boehner blamed the president and Senate Demo­crats for the impasse, saying they have "vowed to reject and veto all of our proposals while failing to offer a responsible solution of their own."

Reid responded saying Boehner's partisanship "wasted an entire week and pushed middle-class families closer to the edge."

While the two sides exchanged blame for the impasse, both Obama and Boehner expressed optimism that a deal could still be reached before the end of the year. Congress is in recess until Thursday.

Before leaving Washington, Obama called on members of Congress to "cool off, drink eggnog and enjoy time with family."

Obama and Reid are both expected to attend a memorial service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye today at Punchbowl.

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The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.






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