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Obama’s calls to senators precede family visit to beach

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President Barack Obama spent time Friday at Bellows Beach with his family.

The first family left their Kailua vacation home at about 11 a.m. and spent about 31⁄2 hours at Bellows Air Force Station on the military side of the Waimanalo base not open to the public.

Obama is not the first president to visit Bellows. President Bill Clinton stayed there during a visit in 1996.

The first family has been vacationing on Oahu since Dec. 20, with the president spending much of his time on area golf courses and at the gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

They are spending 17 days at an oceanfront Kailua house off Kailuana Place, and the annual holiday visit to Oahu has been relatively low-profile thus far.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters did attend a basketball game at the Stan Sheriff Center on Sunday during the Diamond Head Classic for a game between Akron and Oregon State. Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson is Michelle Obama’s brother.

Before leaving for Bellows Friday, the president separately called two senators to tell them he plans to push Congress to quickly extend expiring federal unemployment benefits.

More than 1 million Americans will lose benefits today because Congress did not extend them. Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island have proposed extending the benefits for three months.

The first family dined Friday night in Waikiki at Nobu, a Japanese restaurant known for its modern cuisine. As the president’s motorcade left Kailua, about 25 protesters lined the street near the family vacation home in protest of a multilateral trade pact being negotiated between the United States and several countries in Asia and elsewhere.

When the Obamas arrived in Waikiki, crowds of tourists on a busy street took photos and video of their motorcade.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: The basketball tournament that President Barack Obama attended Dec. 22 was the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. An earlier version of this story and a story Saturday on Page B2 said it was the Aloha Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

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