Entries in Christmas (6)


Obamas Greet Troops on Christmas

The White House(HONOLULU) -- In what has become a holiday tradition, President Obama and the first lady spent Christmas afternoon greeting service members at the Marines Corps base near their Hawaiian vacation home.

Spreading some holiday cheer, the Obamas wished the troops and their families a Merry Christmas and thanked them for their service.

“This looks like it was a nice rather than naughty crowd so I’m sure Santa treated you well,” Obama joked as he walked into the mess hall at the base in Kaneohe Bay.

“One of our favorite things is always coming to the base on Christmas Day and having a chance just to meet you, those of you who have families here, and to say thank you for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day,” he said in his brief remarks.

Obama noted that “we’re still in a wartime footing” even as troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

“Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there.  Some of you may be about to be deployed there.  And so we know that it’s not easy,” he said.

“But what we also want you to know is that you have the entire country behind you, and that all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you guys provide,” Obama added.

After his remarks, the president and first lady posed for pictures with the troops.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President George H.W. Bush to Spend Christmas in Hospital?

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(HOUSTON) -- President George H.W. Bush will likely spend the Christmas holiday in the hospital, where he’s been battling bronchitis and a lingering cough since late last month.

In a statement released to ABC News on Monday, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said that no release date has been set for the 88-year-old former president.

“It seems like every time they address an issue another one crops up, so it's frustrating,” McGrath said. “But doctors say they are cautiously optimistic."

Bush has been hospitalized since Thanksgiving. Doctors have said the former president’s condition is stable, but that he needs to “build up his energy.”

His family has said publicly the former president is no longer able to walk unassisted, a frustration for a man who enjoyed an active lifestyle of golf, fishing, jogging, and power walks on the beach near his summer home in Maine.  In Houston, where he and his wife Barbara Bush have lived since leaving the White House almost 20 years ago, President Bush has been in and out of the hospital for health concerns and two hip replacement surgeries.

The former president became emotional last summer in a birthday interview with his granddaughter Jenna, a contributor to NBC’s Today.  He read a portion of a letter to his family about growing old.

“As the summers finish out, and the seas get a little higher, winds a little colder,” he wrote, “I’ll be making some notes, writing it down lest I forget so I can add to the report on getting older. Who knows, maybe they will come out with a new drug that makes legs bend easier, joints hurt less, drives go farther, memory come roaring back and all fears about falling off fishing rafts go away.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obamas Attend Annual ‘Christmas in Washington’ Charity Concert

Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and his family participated in the 31st annual “Christmas in Washington” charity concert on Sunday.
Featuring performances including Motown icon Diana Ross and the Naval Academy Glee Club, the event’s proceeds are donated to a leading children’s hospital.

“Tonight is a chance to get in the Christmas spirit, to spread some joy and sing along to artists who have much better voices than we do,” Obama said in remarks toward the end of the evening.  “But it’s also a chance to make a real difference in the lives of some very brave young people being treated at Children’s National Medical Center.  Many of these kids and their parents are going through tough times right now and your support helps give them a reason to hope.”

The president said he wished the spirit of giving lasted throughout the entire year because, “that’s really what Christmas is all about.”

Obama went on to comment that while it is a holiday of the Christian faith, many world religions espouse treating “our brothers and sisters with the same love and compassion that we want for ourselves.”

“Each of us is incredibly blessed in so many ways,” he said.  “But those blessings aren’t just meant to be enjoyed, they’re meant to be used and shared with those who have less.”

Entertainment for "Christmas in Washington" is not chosen by the White House, but it has been tradition for presidents to attend the charity event since its inception in 1981.  Sunday night’s gathering was hosted by late-night comedian Conan O’Brien.

“Yes, tonight is about Conan, and Diana Ross, and Santa, all the other talented folks on this stage,” Obama continued.  “But it’s also about the Americans who are spending this holiday in a hospital bed or a shelter, or protecting our freedom on the battlefield far from home.”

The president concluded the event by asking the audience to keep those less fortunate in their prayers. 

Sunday night’s festivities weren’t without some controversy, however, over the stage appearance of South Korean rapper PSY.

PSY rose to international stardom this year when his single, “Gangnam Style” went viral, eventually setting a new record as the most watched video on YouTube.  But his image was marred last week when footage surfaced of the artist singing explicit, derogatory lyrics aimed at insulting U.S. service members in 2004.

The artist, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, issued a lengthy apology on Friday for the performances.

“While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted,” it reads.  “I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.”

The full text and background of PSY’s apology can be found here.

TNT network will broadcast the performance on Dec. 21.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls Troops on Christmas Eve

Pete Souza/Official White House Photo(KAILUA, Hawaii) -- In keeping with tradition, President Obama called 10 service members, two from each branch of the military, to “wish them a happy holiday and thank them for their service” Saturday night, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on the trip.

The troops are stationed around the world, he said, and the calls were placed from his vacation rental home in Kailua, Hawaii.

The president's vacation was delayed for six days while he wrestled with Congress over the extension of the payroll tax cut.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Reveals Christmas Wishes and Traditions

ABC News(LANCASTER, N.H.) -- Speaking candidly about his Christmas wishes, Mitt Romney said Thursday that he doesn’t expect a primary state to be given to him for Christmas.

Asked by ABC News’ John Berman whether his Christmas wish is to have, “Iowa wrapped up in a little bow,” Romney said he knows that even Saint Nick can’t make those kinds of gifts appear.

“No, I’m not expecting Santa to deliver me a state through the chimney,” said Romney, laughing.

Speaking to ABC News aboard his new campaign bus as it traveled on its second day of a three-day “Earn It” tour of New Hampshire, Romney shared some of his family’s Christmas traditions.

“We have Ann’s Welsh cakes that she cooks for us,” he said. “And on Christmas morning we always start off with her big coffee cake, apricot coffee cake, which is delicious.”

Romney said that one Christmas Eve tradition includes reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to all his kids and grandkids. This year, however, because it is an odd-numbered year, Romney’s sons follow the routine of going to their in-laws’ homes, so Romney and Ann Romney will have a smaller celebration this year, joining with son Tagg’s family because they all live in the Boston area.

As for presents, Romney said all he wants for Christmas is, “to be with Ann and the family.”

Asked what he got his wife for Christmas, Romney wouldn’t say, as Ann sat just a few seats away. “That’s a secret,” he said. ” She’s in the room!”

But moments later, after getting off the bus in Lancaster, Romney bought Ann -- with her approval -- an early Christmas present at Simon the Tanner, an outdoor clothing store. Ann chose a white North Face jacket (price tag $285) while her husband happily declared that he’d finally finished his Christmas shopping.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Issues Christmas Ultimatum to Congress

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The morning after the Senate defeated Democratic and Republican plans to extend the payroll tax cut, President Obama threatened Congress to pass a payroll tax cut before the holiday recess or “we can all spend Christmas here together.”

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen.  Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery,” Obama said at an event on energy efficiency in Washington. “Right now it's time to step on the gas.  We need to get this done.  And I expect that it's going to get done before Congress leaves.  Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”

The president said it was “disappointing” that the plans to extend and expand the payroll tax cut were defeated on Capitol Hill. “That effectively would raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans, because they didn't want to ask a few hundred thousand of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and get the economy growing faster…and I think that's unacceptable,” he said.

Reflecting on Friday morning’s jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropped last month to 8.6 percent, the president said “we need to keep that growth going.”

“Right now that means Congress needs to extend the payroll tax cut for working Americans for another year.  Congress needs to renew unemployment insurance for Americans who are still out there pounding the pavement and looking for work.  Failure to take either of these steps would be a significant blow to our economy,” Obama said.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio