The president, his wife and daughters spend an hour at the popular tourist trail
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 27, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 01:44 a.m. HST, Dec 27, 2013
After signing several bills — including the federal budget and defense bill — President Barack Obama and the first family hiked the Manoa Falls trail Thursday.
Hikers who also came to the trail that leads to the popular 150-foot waterfall seemed surprised to see the first family arrive.
Security kept many of them from entering the trail as the president, first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters started their hike, which lasted about an hour.
Husband and wife Paul and Kathy Besser of Sunnyvale, Calif., said they were excited at the prospect of hiking near the Obamas. Kathy Besser said she hoped the first family would see the kids in her group of 10 hikers.
Besser said she was OK with security restricting access to the trail because she thinks the Obamas deserve privacy on their vacation.
“The girls live in a fishbowl, and they should have some private moments,” she said.
Obama signed several bills in private, without reporters present, including the bipartisan budget deal easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military. The signings mark one of Obama’s last official acts in 2013.
The budget deal alleviates the harshest effects of automatic budget cuts on the Pentagon and domestic agencies. It reduces those cuts, known as the sequester, by about one-third, restoring about $63 billion over two years.
The comprehensive defense bill gives military personnel a 1 percent pay raise and also covers combat pay, ships, aircraft and bases.
The president woke up early for a morning workout at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe. After about an hour, he returned to his vacation home in Kailua.
As his motorcade passed by, people on the side of the road waved, and one jogger danced in joy.
Construction workers wearing white helmets and lime green shirts stopped their work to watch the line of about 11 vehicles, not including police escorts.
Obama also played golf at Kaneohe’s Koolau Golf Club, a difficult, private course with scenic views against a backdrop of lush, green mountains.