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President meets with Marines; will return to D.C. Wednesday

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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama offer Christmas greetings today to about 450 Marines and their families at Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with Marines this afternoon at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

The president wished the troops a “Merry Christmas!” and thanked them for their service.

“On behalf of Michelle and myself and my whole family … we’d like to say thank you for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day,” Obama told the crowd.

About 450 Marines and their families were gathered in Anderson Hall for a Christmas meal and the visit from the president.

After addressing the crowd, the president and first lady posed for pictures with attendees. The photos were taken by the White House photographer.

Meeting with troops on Christmas Day has become a tradition for the Obamas.

Meanwhile, the White House said the president will return to Washington Wednesday night as lawmakers consider how to prevent the economy from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Obama could fly back to the nation’s capital at 10 p.m. Wednesday, just five days after arriving in Hawaii. In the past, the president’s end-of-the-year holiday in his native state has stretched into the new year.

Automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in January. So far, the president and congressional Republicans have been unable to reach agreement on any alternatives.

Obama and his family are spending the holiday at a rented home near Honolulu. White House officials have not released the details of the Obamas’ Christmas Day activities.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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