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Obama spends Christmas with family and military

By Julie Pace

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:49 p.m. HST, Dec 25, 2011

President Barack Obama blended his roles as a father and commander-in-chief this Christmas, exchanging presents and singing carols with his family, then greeting U.S. service members stationed at a Marine base in Hawaii.

The president and his family woke up early Sunday to open gifts, the White House said, then had breakfast and sang Christmas carols at the multimillion-dollar house they rent in Kailua Beach, near Honolulu.

Obama made two trips on Christmas to nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii, first to attend church services at the base chapel. The president dressed casually in dark khaki pants and a short-sleeve blue shirt, and his wife and daughters donned sundresses for Christmas services on a bright, breezy day on the island of Oahu.

After spending a few hours at their rental home, the president and Michelle Obama returned to the base to visit with several hundred service members and their families, as they have done in past years. The president and his family also went to church on base on Christmas during his vacation last year

The Obamas posed for photos, signed autographs and stopped to chat with the military families gathered in the dining hall, where roast beef, salad and apple pie were on the Christmas Day menu.

Eight-month-old Cooper Wall Wagner, son of Capt. Greg Wagner, got up close and personal with the president, grabbing his face, then sticking his fingers in Obama's mouth.

An amused Obama said he thought the baby just liked his "big nose" — a comment that drew laughter from several of the Marines.

Many of the service members stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii have deployed to Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, where the last American troops were withdrawn earlier this month.

The president and Michelle Obama returned to the base at 3:36 p.m. to visit with service members and their families, as they have done in past years, at the Anderson Hall dining facility. Many of the Marines stationed at the base have deployed to Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, where the last American troops were withdrawn earlier this month.

The president also called 10 service members stationed around the world — two from each branch of the military — on Christmas Eve. The White House said he thanked them for their service and the sacrifice of being away from their families at the holidays.

The White House said the president was also monitoring developments in Nigeria and the administration offered its condolences to the Nigerian people, especially the families of the at least 39 people killed Sunday.

The majority died on the steps of a Catholic church after celebrating Mass, part of an apparently coordinated assault by a radical Muslim sect.

The White House says U.S. officials have been in contact with their counterparts in Nigeria and pledged to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice.

The Obamas planned to wrap up their Christmas festivities with dinner at the rental home with friends and family. Among those joining the first family in Hawaii are the president's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who lives on Oahu, and several friends Obama has known since high school.

The president has kept a low profile since arriving in Hawaii on Friday evening to start a vacation delayed by the stalemate in Washington over extending payroll tax cuts. He has no public events planned, and his only outings are expected to be to the golf course or to take his daughters for shave ice, a Hawaiian snow cone.

The Obamas are expected to return to Washington shortly after New Year's Day.


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Bothrops wrote:
Some of the county mounties "backing up" the Secret Service seem to have their panties in a knot. Sorry they have to work on Christmas but that is no reason not to be polite when stopping young girls so the Presidential caravan can pass by.
on December 25,2011 | 11:47AM
frontman wrote:
I didn't think muslims celebrated Christmas.
on December 25,2011 | 02:13PM
justin_thyme wrote:
They don't, and the President isn't Muslim. Get a life, loser!
on December 25,2011 | 02:47PM
PaloloValley wrote:
hahahahaha... right on, justin_thyme ! ^5.........Thanks for the Christmas laugh !
on December 25,2011 | 04:57PM
busterb wrote:
Nice to see there are still Glenn Beck fans!
on December 25,2011 | 03:15PM
motoxdad wrote:
He's probably a birther to.
on December 25,2011 | 04:28PM
Anonymous wrote:
on December 25,2011 | 07:04PM
RetiredUSMC wrote:
Frontman did your parents have any children that lived?
on December 25,2011 | 04:18PM
PaloloValley wrote:
Rflol !
on December 25,2011 | 05:14PM
Anonymous wrote:
on December 25,2011 | 07:03PM
GFORCE51 wrote:
no they don't, but there's alot of stupid idiots like you around,
on December 25,2011 | 07:12PM
HD36 wrote:
Thank you from Israel: Even though you have millions of homeless children in your own coutry: The Unites States will give an additional USD 235 million to Israel for the development of its rocket and missile systems at a time that Americans are experiencing dire economic situation. According to Israeli media, a large part of the money is scheduled to be spent for the development of the David's Sling system, which is designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, and the Arrow 2 and 3 systems against long-range ballistic missiles. The Israeli ministry of military affairs said the additional funding comes on top of the three billion dollars in annual military aid that Washington allocates for the use of the Tel Aviv regime. In March, Israel declared its 'Iron Dome' system operational. Israel says the system, financed by the US, has been planned to be used to protect areas in southern Israel against “rocket attacks from the occupied Palestinian territories.” Washington's three-billion-dollar assistance to Israel has been planned for 10 years, beginning in 2007.
on December 25,2011 | 10:06PM
Anonymous wrote:
on December 25,2011 | 07:05PM
HD36 wrote:
Sorry, but we need to house children before taking 4 million dollare vacations:Child homelessness in the United States is on the rise. With the number of children living in shelters, cars or low-rent motels up 38 percent since 2007, this holiday season may be the first some youngsters are not spending in their homes. Last year alone, there were 1.6 million homeless children living in the U.S., said the Massachusetts-based National Center on Family Homelessness. According to the center, the problem has its roots in the social fallout from the global recession and the number of poverty-stricken households headed by women. Ellen Bassuk is the center's president as well as psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School. Health problems and academic under-achievement are both associated with childhood homelessness she says. These vulnerable youth are without the support they need to succeed. The U.S. Census Bureau also found that almost half of Americans (48 percent) are living on low incomes. The Bureau, Using its Supplemental Poverty Measure for 2010, declares that a family of four is poor if the household income is less than $24,343 per year. In the past, homelessness has usually been associated with adults and alcohol or drug dependency issues. But child homelessness in its present form is a relatively new problem. Families accounted for less than 1 percent of the national homeless population in the mid-1980s period. Now, they make up about 3 percent of this population. Single-parent families are particularly affected. Reuters
on December 25,2011 | 10:12PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Obama is clearly one of our worst presidents ever but, when he closes his eyes, he's too bright a man to believe in an imaginary friend up in the sky. Couldn't he dispense with these cynical church photo ops and get on with how to get Americans back to work in the private sector? This blame-Bush-for-all-Obama's-failings thing is getting really stale. He's obviously a goner in less than 13 months but he doesn't have to rub our noses in the mistake of having elected a president no more remotely qualified than a dingbat like Bachmann. Come on, go out shamefully but quietly like your soul mate Carter.
on December 26,2011 | 12:02AM
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