President Barack Obama and family are headed back to Washington, D.C., after a two-week vacation in Hawaii that was interrupted for the president by a fiscal crisis.
The Obamas spent their last day of vacation holed up in their Kailua rental mansion. They later joined friends for dinner at Buzz’s Original Steakhouse in Kailua.
After dinner, the family headed straight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered.
Daughters Malia and Sasha boarded Air Force One first, while the president and first lady greeted the crowd.
On hand to see off the first family were Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, his wife Pamela, and Col. Johnny Roscoe, commander of the 15th Wing at Hickam.
The president walked up the stairs to the plane with his arm around the first lady, turning to the crowd to wave goodbye. The plane departed shortly after 9:40 p.m.
The family arrived in Honolulu on Dec. 22, but the president returned to Washington the day after Christmas to work on the deal that ultimately averted the so-called fiscal cliff. He returned to Honolulu on Wednesday to finish his vacation.
The president spent most of his last day in the islands with his family at their rented beach vacation home in Kailua.
Obama is scheduled to return to the White House before noon Washington time. Before his departure from Honolulu, the president was gearing up for a political fight next month with Republicans over raising the U.S. debt limit. In his weekly radio address, taped in Hawaii, the president reiterated a warning that he won’t negotiate with Republicans over borrowing authority.
The president will probably name former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, 66, as his choice to be the nation’s next defense secretary, according to a person familiar with the cabinet-selection process.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report