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President and first lady visit, thank Marines in Kaneohe

By Associated Press


President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama addressed troops and their families Wednesday in Anderson Hall at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

President Barack Obama stepped away from the seclusion of his quiet Hawaii vacation for what's become a Christmas tradition: paying tribute to U.S. troops and the sacrifices their families make during the holidays and throughout the year.

After a morning of presents and carols with their two daughters, the president and first lady Michelle Obama took a short drive to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where nearly 600 troops and their families gathered in a mess hall, half-eaten pieces of cake still on the table from Christmas dinner.

"Michelle and I know that we would not enjoy the freedoms we do if it weren't for the incredible dedication and professionalism and work that you do," Obama said. "The least we can do is just let you all know we're grateful to you."

Obama, dressed informally in dark pants and a blue shirt, called out the names of some of the military units stationed here, prompting loud whoops from the troops. He recalled speaking by phone on Christmas Eve with 10 service members stationed in places like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

"It was just a sampling of the incredible sacrifice that you and your families make every single day," Obama said as he and the first lady prepared to pose for photos. Before departing, the Hawaii-born Obama wished the troops "Mele Kalikimaka."

Members of the Marine Corps said meeting the Obamas and taking a photograph with them was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"The experience was amazing," said Staff Sgt. Tyrone Butler. "My wife (Laureel) was awe-struck. She said the first lady gives the best hugs. ... It was a dream come true, not only for her, but for the whole family."

Capt. Adam Brown said a lot of Marines and their families appreciated the president taking Christmas Day to express his gratitude.

"It was a great honor," Brown said. "It was really cool."

Sgt. Salvador Torres said Obama shook his hand and said, "Thank you," and was flexible enough to allow his 4-year-old son to hold his robot toy while taking the family photograph.

Aside from a basketball game and dinner at a Honolulu restaurant, the Obamas have remained largely out of sight since arriving here over the weekend. Obama has played a round of golf nearly every day, and the first family has spent much of the time at a Kailua Beach vacation rental.


Star-Advertiser reporter Gary T. Kubota contributed to this report.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Nothing new here folks, move along and remember to vote out all Democrats!
on December 26,2013 | 01:01AM
kailuabred wrote:
Way to turn a nice article of thanks into a silly political issue.
on December 26,2013 | 07:02AM
MalamaKaAina wrote:
Barry would call it a phony political issue.
on December 26,2013 | 11:16AM
Venus1 wrote:
Speak for yourself ..... Selfie !!!
on December 26,2013 | 04:20PM
serious wrote:
He is a multi millionaire, doesn't he have anything else to wear than that short sleeved blue shirt??? Where's the Aloha shirts, Barry???
on December 26,2013 | 04:37AM
cojef wrote:
He is a Washington Insider or Chicago community organizer, with smarts to lie and get re-elected. He is no local boy ,although he has a birth certificate to prove likewise??? EH eH Eh.
on December 26,2013 | 07:04AM
pcman wrote:
IRT serious on shirts. Remember the Pacific-Asian conference he held here 3 years ago? Tori Richards, my favorite brand, made special commemorative shirt for the occasion but Obama chose the have al attendees to wear business suits? He only comes to Hawaii on vacation because he can do so free on us taxpayers. So don't expect him to show much aloha to the culture. He gives special access to his politicos from Illinois, but not to politicos from Hawaii. Where's the aloha spirit? I's in Illinois where his politics are rooted.
on December 26,2013 | 09:35AM
cwo4usn wrote:
It's all an act. Neither Barry or Mooochel appreciate the military. I would not interrupt my Christmas to see/listen to him.
on December 26,2013 | 05:32AM
kailuabred wrote:
Yes, because you know them personally, right?
on December 26,2013 | 07:02AM
kekelaward wrote:
You don't need to know them personally to ee that they hate vets, they hate the military, but are willing to put service members lives in danger for their political gain.
on December 26,2013 | 04:09PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Cwo4usn, but yet you would comment, every article every day, but yes you wouldn't interrupt ur Christmas, lol. I see many on these boards getting their insides slowly eaten away and will continue for the next three years. Hate cancer is a bad thing. Happy Holidays.
on December 26,2013 | 08:37AM
Paulh808 wrote:
We know we were taught well under Bush.
on December 26,2013 | 05:36PM
pcman wrote:
IRT cwo on Obama. This is true. Before he became president, he was totally against military programs, peacetime and wartime. In his first four years, he as cut more military programs than an other president including Clinton and Carter. By the time Obama leaves office, US will be behind Russia and China in many all military capabilities and therefore we may no longer be able to back up our commitments to defend the US and allies as we have promised in multi-lateral, and bilateral treaties. Don't be surprised if he further cuts back on military support, including medical, commissaries, benefits for active duty and retirees, because the operational capabilities, current and future, are already cut to the bone.
on December 26,2013 | 11:25AM
BRIMAC wrote:
Very year same thing, he visits only the K-Bay troops, what about the other services here or do we ONLY have one base on Oahu, they all work for him too.
on December 26,2013 | 05:55AM
aomohoa wrote:
Do you really want traffic disrupted all over the Island?
on December 26,2013 | 07:54AM
pcman wrote:
IRT oamaho on traffic. Obama goes wherever he wants to, UH, Waikiki, Kaimuki, Moiliili, etc. What difference does it make? I have been affected his motorcade of 12 - 20 cars including 4 HPD, 1 EMS and SS escorts. In less than 5 minutes they are gone or take another route to prevent interception, delays and terrorism. Going from one military installation to another, I would presume it would be faster and safer to go by military chopper or aircraft. Most of the support can be moved on the ground.
on December 26,2013 | 10:01AM
lee1957 wrote:
The other troops have the privilege of eating in the same messhall if they want to.
on December 26,2013 | 10:24AM
soundofreason wrote:
Just read an article about all the O'bamacare related taxes kicking in for 2014. One of them is the new 3.8% people will have to pay for their investment income and rental income. So, when all you people's rent goes up 4% as the costs get passed down, be sure to thank YOUR Barry for that. When are people going to realize that they can't afford "free"? ALL the government is doing is INdirectly taxing those who can't afford it.
on December 26,2013 | 06:03AM
kailuabred wrote:
Read Snopes.com....it's just not true. You people are like sheep.
on December 26,2013 | 07:03AM
soundofreason wrote:
YOU people eat your spoon fed news.


on December 26,2013 | 07:32AM
Pacej001 wrote:
What's not true? The Medicare surcharge and 3.5% investment income tax(on incomes over $200/$250K) are facts, part of the law. So are the other taxes contained in Obamacare such as the medical device tax which is a tax on gross sales, not just profit, so the impact of that 2.3% tax is much greater than the small percentage number implies.

Now for the "you people" part: You People, Obamacare supporting liberal/progressives like Nancy Pelosi, flung this disaster of a law at the wall to see what would stick. Well, You People, what stuck is a destructive, ill-conceived mess. As the bible says, You People are about to reap the whirlwind in the 2014 election.

Best of all those of You People who are beginning to bleat for single payer national healthcare just shot yourselves in the foot because, after the ACA mess, who would trust government to have even MORE power over their health care?

on December 26,2013 | 07:34AM
aomohoa wrote:
You will not convince those to Idolized this man. Facts don't matter.
on December 26,2013 | 07:56AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
He's our POTUS. We respect him as the leader of the USA. The majority of Americans voted for him. Twice. I know, pace and aomo, csn, HonHi, soundoftreason,cojef it's hard to comprehend, but get over it.
on December 26,2013 | 08:44AM
Pacej001 wrote:
What's really hard to understand is this continued hero worship after Mr.Obama's lies about Benghazi and Obamacare and his numerous unconstitutional acts. He's an ineffective,divisive non-leader. Pretty obvious except for the true believers. They're the ones who need to "get over it" and look at this guy objectively.
on December 26,2013 | 09:37AM
Venus1 wrote:
Too much Fox!!! Turn off your t v...
on December 26,2013 | 04:23PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Nanakuli on POTUS. Wasn't Bush a POTUS? Where was the respect for him by this president and other past democrat presidents, not to mention by the press and people? HUH?
on December 26,2013 | 11:44AM
DAGR81 wrote:
He got elected and reelected because he was not truthful and continued to lie to the American public.
on December 26,2013 | 12:35PM
kekelaward wrote:
Yeah, just like you did when Bush was in office. You earn respect, you don't just get it by stealing an election. The present resident has done nothing to deserve any respect.
on December 26,2013 | 04:16PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Yes, NanakuliBoss, the majority of Americans voted for him, but who were they. They were people who knew nothing about the man who did nothing in his sub-mediocre political career, who hung out with far left radicals and convicted terrorists, and who have received lots of free stuff from the Obama administration to keep them as obedient Democrat voters.
on December 26,2013 | 04:34PM
soundofreason wrote:
A PERSON is smart........PEOPLE are stupid. - Men in Black.
on December 26,2013 | 06:06PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Wow pace, the bible talks about the 2014 USA elections? As a Christian, I truly did not come across it.
on December 26,2013 | 08:40AM
Pacej001 wrote:
OK. I'll explain it for you. "reap the whirlwind" comes from the bible quote, (Hosea 8:7): "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind..." . This means when you do something bad/stupid (sow, as in planting a seed), it comes back on you in a bad way (you "reap" (harvest) the whirlwind (bad consequences.

So, Mr. Obama and his democrats put together a bad, poorly thought out law, Obamacare, and, now his polls are the lowest ever and the bad news is likely to keep getting worse through the 2014 election when, hopefully, the democrats will be flung from power in the Congress.

on December 26,2013 | 09:34AM
kailuabred wrote:
The sky fairy has nothing to do with politics...particularly since he's fiction.
on December 26,2013 | 10:44AM
Pacej001 wrote:
The reference was to a section of the Bible. The quote was the equivalent, in modern words, of "what goes around, comes around". Get it?

As to the sky fairy having nothing to do with politics, tell that to the 80% that self-identify as Christians.

on December 26,2013 | 12:50PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Now pace interprets the bible to his opinion. The bible was never intended to be used as a "payback" you'll get yours theories, because I said. Hump.
on December 26,2013 | 01:26PM
kekelaward wrote:
I seriously hope so. For your sake.
on December 26,2013 | 04:17PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Didn't Jesus go to the poor and sick and try to help them? Like ACA? Yes I hear many cries of "my taxes" will pay for these losers. Didn't Jesus teach sharing? "Yeah but not my share". Ok. So let's keep the bible out of politics.
on December 26,2013 | 01:23PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Kailua on Snopes. Snopes is a pro-left, democrat functionary. When they err, they do so toward the left. Sheep follow Snopes as the truth because Snopes is convenient to low information people.
on December 26,2013 | 11:36AM
scooters wrote:
Kailuabred or inbred?
on December 26,2013 | 03:29PM
kekelaward wrote:
Snopes??? Hahaha. Next thing you know, you'll tell us to look at a Krugman link to justify some insane dem economic fallacy.
on December 26,2013 | 04:12PM
808Cindy wrote:
A Big Thank You goes out to our President and First Lady for their Class in giving thanks to OUR Troops for their dedication and service to us all, God Bless Our President for his honorable service to Our Country.
on December 26,2013 | 07:03AM
serious wrote:
You are correct on the first part, but he has turned this country into a Welfare state and they will continuously vote Democratic to keep their s-it!!!
on December 26,2013 | 09:22AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Cindy on Obama. Obama and his wife did not believe in the US until Obama as elected president. He refused to wear an American flag on is lapel until he ran for election because he had no respect for the country it represented. Both had no respect for he military before, but as Commander in Chief, he is obligated to thank the troops. It is his job and not from the heart. Read his books. His love of being president is more than his love of country. He has done more to serve himself than to serve the poor, homeless and military veteran by his actions alone. Poor kids going hungry because of federal waste on green energy and political stimulus, homeless everywhere due to joblessness, disabled vets depending on donations rather than government support, false reporting on economic growth, inflation and unemployment. Open your eyes. Don't only believe the left-leaning media. BTW, I did vote for Obama the first time, but not after 4 years of his lying and overspending.
on December 26,2013 | 12:14PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Your lying PC. You would have never vote or Obama. Your a hater.
on December 26,2013 | 01:28PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Nanakuli on PC. First of all I am an independent. I voted for Obama for many reasons. He was born and raised most of his life in Hawaii, so I thought he would give us a break in a pinch. He did not. He said he would cut the national debt which Bush increased by $4Bil in 8 years. Obama raised the national debt by $6.5Bil in 4 years. He cut back on defenses so much, the US could not defend our ambassador in Libya. He also had to stand down the Embassies all over North Africa and Middle East because they could not defend themselves as a result of cutting back on US marines and employing local guards. Unsat. He let the IRS run amok to over -exercise his executive power on political opponents. Unethical and illegal. He let the Justice Department run an illegal gun program in Mexico which resulted in the killing of a US border guard. Many, many other "scandals'" which you Kool-Aid drinkers kept following blindly, but I had enough of the four years of lying to us forever. Too bad I did not read his books until after he was elected. So, I did not vote for him again. Good enough? Go drink you Kool-Aid.
on December 26,2013 | 04:02PM
Venus1 wrote:
Agree! Class all the way... Comments say more about the ones writing them than about the Obamas!!! Go Obama!
on December 26,2013 | 04:25PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
All comments above have been negative. BHO's ulterior motive is to promote Michelle to run for POTUS in 2016, so the commander-in-chief would, if Michelle is elected, turn into the first-ever First Man. What a sham!!! BHO would in effect have the potential to become the first four term president since FDR. Barrack Saddam Hussein Obama would be promoting his own policies from 2009 to 2017, behind the guise of President Michelle. God help us if that happens! Ronnie, please return to us, Nancy is calling for u.
on December 26,2013 | 07:08AM
lee1957 wrote:
That is beyond far fetched.
on December 26,2013 | 10:26AM
kailuabred wrote:
I'm assuming your making a giant joke...otherwise, you're completely whacked.
on December 26,2013 | 10:45AM
jbguzior wrote:
nothing against Maines, but when is the commander in chief going to venture out of his small circle of apperances and go visit other service members, or even taking trip up to Tripler to see patients in the VA?
on December 26,2013 | 07:26AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Excellent point! It goes back to the tried and true advice: "Listen to what people say, but watch what they do!" BHO appreciates the sacrifices of the military, BUT, everyone else, including defense contractors, are getting 1.8% pay raises. The military is getting a whopping 1%, yes 1%. There's not enough space to list the other slights. You also bring up a very valid point. Why hasn't he been to TAMC or any other military hospital that we know of to visit the wounded? What about him and Hillary going to bed (individually) while letting four men hang out to dry and die in Benghazi? Only fools would trust him to cover their back. No, I don't blame BHO, I blame those who voted him in for a second term. On the other hand, we also have the Republicans to blame for failing to provide us with a reasonable alternative. Our country is in one hell of a mess! Yet, history shows us that all great empires eventually fall from complacency and greed. Don't mean to spoil anyone's holidays, but no help is needed from me to spoil our futures.
on December 26,2013 | 07:49AM
volcanohereicome wrote:
He needs to space out his military photo ops. Go to Tripler? Probably not. He might have to explain to our disabled vets & retirees why he wants to cut their benefits...not that he'd tell the truth.
on December 26,2013 | 05:18PM
aomohoa wrote:
Yes visiting patients at Tripler is a great idea.
on December 26,2013 | 07:57AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
The GOP screams when he gets on the road but wants him To go all over Oahu and cause a major jam. Wah,wah go figure.
on December 26,2013 | 08:47AM
Venus1 wrote:
GOP needs therapy!
on December 26,2013 | 04:27PM
lee1957 wrote:
He's out here on vacation, not a publicity tour. If the local press wasn't fawning all over him, no one would know what he's doing every day.
on December 26,2013 | 10:28AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Well then if Barry is on vacation stay put at your Kailuana compound! His use of the Marine Corps for his PR/political theater is nauseating. OBTW MCBH has a Wound Warriors Barracks, how come he nevah visit them? Those of us who work aboard MCBH are well aware of his comings and goings. No haters…“Just da facts ma’am”
on December 26,2013 | 11:20AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Well then if Barry is on vacation stay put at your Kailuana compound! His use of the Marine Corps for his PR/political theater is nauseating. OBTW MCBH has a Wound Warriors Barracks, how come he nevah visit them? Those of us who work aboard MCBH are well aware of his comings and goings. No haters…“Just da facts ma’am”
on December 26,2013 | 11:21AM
tutulois wrote:
Good for them -- I know people who work on the Marine base, and believe me, they appreciate the annual visits from the President and Mrs Obama...Haters -- get a life !
on December 26,2013 | 08:15AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Ahhhhhhhhhhh no we don't. Not a newbe to MCBH worked with the Marines 1988 to present and a lot of people are sick and tired of this Christmas interruption.
on December 26,2013 | 11:24AM
volcanohereicome wrote:
How many have had Christmas leave cancelled...again?
on December 26,2013 | 05:20PM
Venus1 wrote:
Thanks Tutulois!!
on December 26,2013 | 04:28PM
gaylec wrote:
WHEN will the remaining Kool-Aid drinkers wake up and realize that this guy is a fraud. Go home Obama!
on December 26,2013 | 08:38AM
kekelaward wrote:
Never. What's worse is that they are allowed to use sharp implements and walk around on the streets where they could hurt themselves, or worse, some innocents.
on December 26,2013 | 04:24PM
Venus1 wrote:
You drank the Cool Aid of hate, long ago!!! Get help. !
on December 26,2013 | 04:29PM
false wrote:
As long as this guy is serving up the FREE koolaid, his sheep wiil line up...
on December 26,2013 | 09:46AM
kailuabred wrote:
You lost...get over it.
on December 26,2013 | 10:46AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Drinking your loser tea.
on December 26,2013 | 01:29PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Why don't the Obama's stay at the Kaneohe Marine Base...more secure, less expensive (on the taxpayers) and more convenient for everyone?
on December 26,2013 | 12:33PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Because it is not large enough to house his entourage. Was good enough for the Clinton’s on at least three visits. Go figgah.
on December 26,2013 | 01:30PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Because it is not large enough to house his entourage. Was good enough for the Clinton’s on at least three visits. Go figgah.
on December 26,2013 | 01:31PM
volcanohereicome wrote:
Barry be king, doesn't want to mix with the common folks.
on December 26,2013 | 05:22PM
Waimanalodayz1 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 26,2013 | 02:32PM
Venus1 wrote:
He always says Merry Christmas!! Turn up your hearing aid or learn to read lips!!!
on December 26,2013 | 04:30PM
CEI wrote:
I know it's off topic but I haven't seen much reporting lately about the Hawaii Health Connector. I am assuming it's an unqualified success or the SA would be reporting on it's sad performance. Guess you can't be reflecting poorly on his highness while he is vacationing in the neighborhood.
on December 26,2013 | 03:06PM
Pacej001 wrote:
My friend who has tried to use it says it's a disaster. No worka. Zip. Can't use it.
on December 26,2013 | 04:27PM
scooters wrote:
My wife and I attended Xmas diner at the mess hall last year. We had finished our dinner just as HUSSEIN has entered the building..the SS troops held us "Hostage" for over two hours as HUSSEIN pranced around the mess hall. Only then were we released from custody. Never again will we attend Xmas dinner at the base while this president is in office. Just stay in DC or you're real home, Chicago..
on December 26,2013 | 03:26PM
Venus1 wrote:
No, you stay home...
on December 26,2013 | 04:31PM
volcanohereicome wrote:
scooters actually lives here. No one should be held hostage that long just so he can have his photo op.
on December 26,2013 | 05:25PM
MakaniKai wrote:
No worries scooters retirees were not welcome this year! All hands email sent out to Marines, Sailors and Civs stated active duty only in uniform. Heard an Army guy was turned away (in uniform). Just reporting da facts.
on December 27,2013 | 10:04AM
Ronin006 wrote:
I hope he learned how to correct pronounce "corps."
on December 26,2013 | 03:57PM
kekelaward wrote:
Punahou graduate.
on December 26,2013 | 04:27PM