Entries in Vacation (22)


President Obama’s Father-Daughter Day in Hawaii

Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images(KAILUA, Hawaii) -- Over the past two weeks, President Obama has passed his days in Hawaii hitting the gym, golfing with friends and relaxing on the beach with his family.

On Thursday, he enjoyed some father-daughter time, bowling with Malia and Sasha and going out for Hawaiian shaved ice, an annual tradition.

After spending the afternoon at the bowling alley at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, Obama and his daughters stopped at Island Snow Shave Ice, a small eatery in a shopping center near their Kailua vacation house.

A long line quickly formed outside as onlookers tried to get a glimpse of the president in what was his first public appearance of his annual holiday vacation in his native state.

After several minutes inside, Malia and Sasha and several other children, presumably family friends, emerged with cool treats in hand. The casually dressed president soon followed, holding a large green and red shaveD ice in an assortment of flavors.

“How are you doing?” he asked folks gathered outside as he began shaking hands.

Then it was back in the motorcade and off to their vacation house, where the Obamas are spending the evening in.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Returns from Hawaiian Vacation

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and the first family arrived back at the White House early Tuesday morning after their 10-day, multi-million dollar Hawaiian vacation.

The president’s return coincides with the Iowa caucuses, the first nomination contest of the 2012 presidential election. As Republicans begin to choose a candidate to face off with the president in the general election, Obama will address Democratic caucus-goers in a video teleconference Tuesday evening.

While the Republican race is up for grabs, the president, who won the Iowa Democratic caucuses in 2008, is unopposed and expected to win again.

The president will also meet privately Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holidays Apart? Fighting in Congress Threatens to Keep Obama in DC

Annie Leibovitz/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- While President Obama stays in rainy Washington trying to hammer out a deal on the payroll tax cut extension, his wife and daughters are 5,000 miles away in sunny Kailua, Hawaii.  The first lady and her daughters arrived on the island last Friday, expecting that the president would soon join them.

But with the stalemate in Congress, the Obamas could be vacationing separately this year.

The Obama family tradition of spending the holidays in the president’s home state started long before he came to the White House.  Every Christmas, they visited his grandmother “Toot,” who raised Obama from age 10.  She died two days before he won the presidential election in 2008.

Since Obama took office, the first family has stayed in a multi-million dollar five-bedroom estate on Kailua beach, ranked the island’s best stretch of sand and a favorite of Hawaiian royalty.  The first lady’s spokesperson would not comment on their activities, saying that this was a “private vacation,” but the girls were spotted in the small surf town having their nails done at a local salon.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president has not set a date for his departure from the capital.

“It is a very fluid situation,” Carney said.  “It’s hard to know what tomorrow is going to look like, what the next day is going to look like, as this saga continues."

“I know the president wants to see his daughters and his wife," he said.  "But right now, we’re focused on urging Congress to do the right thing.”

While he waits, the president has been getting some of his holiday shopping done.  He stopped at mall in Alexandria, Va., with a trip to Best Buy, where he bought the Nintendo Wii video game Just Dance 3, telling reporters, “This is for the girls.”  He later joked that reporters would never get a picture of him playing the game.

He also went to PetSmart, purchasing a rubber chew toy for Bo.

But will he give his daughters their gifts in person?  That’s a question Obama can’t yet answer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Holidays on the Hill? Obama, Congress Might Stay in DC Over Payroll Deal

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Democratic leadership huddled with President Obama in the Oval Office Wednesday morning over the payroll tax cut fight in Congress, and emerged with a united message.

“We’re going to stay here as long as it takes to get this done,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.  ”We will stay here to Christmas and even to New Years to get this done.”

This goes for President Obama too, who told Democrats on Wednesday that he will stay in Washington, D.C., and miss or delay his annual Hawaiian vacation if the payroll tax cut extension, which expires at the end of the year, is not passed before the holidays.

“He said Michelle and the girls will have a great time in Hawaii, they won’t need me there,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said paraphrasing what President Obama told them in the meeting Wednesday morning.

Democrats said the president also gave them an emphatic warning.

“The president made it clear in our meeting in the Oval office this morning, he is committed to this payroll tax cut for working families across America,” Sen.Dick Durbin, D-Ill, said, “(and) gave us fair warning: we’re staying in Washington until we get the job done.  Our holiday gift to American families is not going to be a tax increase.”

With dueling plans in the House and the Senate between parties, Senate Democrats on Wednesday warned that the House of Representatives -- and notably Speaker of the House John Boehner -- will be “embarrassed” if the House adjourns for the year without passing a plan out of both houses of Congress.

“Don’t go home Speaker Boehner because we’re going to be here and you’re going to be embarrassed if you do,” Schumer said.

The House is aiming to conclude its legislative business by Dec. 16, but with little time and no way forward towards a deal few believe that a payroll tax extension can be negotiated and settled before then.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Criticizes Obama’s (Unplanned) Vacation

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney has never been shy about his disdain for the president’s penchant for a good game of golf, but now Romney is criticizing the first family’s Christmas vacation plans.

But there’s a catch: Despite what Romney may be saying, a 17-day Hawaiian vacation for the Obamas isn’t actually on the books.

While Romney has spent the past few days criticizing the president for his winter vacation plans -- appearing to refer to dates for the president’s vacation that were posted on the Drudge Report -- no official schedule has been released by the White House.

What’s more, the president’s vacation plans in the past have been altered even after a schedule has been made public.

Additionally, President Obama has said publicly that if Congress isn’t in recess by the Christmas holiday everyone -- himself included -- will be in Washington, D.C.

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen.  Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery … 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,” said Obama.

But Monday night, during a tele-town hall with Iowa voters, Romney criticized the president for his vacation plans: “I have to feel that this president has been a failure. The other day I understand that Chris Christie said that he was a bystander president. That he watches affairs and has not guided affairs. And in some respects, his idea of a ‘hands on’ approach to the economy is getting a grip on the golf club.”

Romney had already commented on the president’s winter vacation plans last Saturday during a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H.: “Seventeen days. Seventeen-day vacation. When you consider all the golf, all the vacations, a new 17-day vacation, I’m thinking of that old song back in the 1960s, remember that, the one that was called ‘My Boyfriend’s Back.’

“And they said in there, ‘My boyfriend’s back, he’s going to give you a permanent vacation,” said Romney, quoting the oldies band The Angels. “That’s what we’re going to give Barack Obama -- a permanent vacation.”

As for Romney’s own holiday vacation plans?

Asked about the upcoming vacation season, Romney told reporters last weekend that his family had not put up Christmas lights yet because they aren’t sure where they’ll be later this month.

“We don’t know where we’re going to be for Christmas,” said Romney. “The options are New Hampshire, Iowa or Belmont, Massachusetts. And maybe some I haven’t thought of yet.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene Cutting Obama Vacation Short 

President Barack Obama holds conference call on Hurricane Irene with FEMA Director Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, in Chilmark, Massachusetts, August 25, 2011Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass.) -- The words were stark and foreboding:  “I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don't wait.  Don't delay,” President Obama warned this morning from the Blue Heron Farm where he is wrapping up his 10-day vacation.

As Hurricane Irene continues her ominous trek up the Eastern Seaboard, the president is spending his last full day of vacation here but keeping close watch on the Category 2 storm, saying Irene has the potential to be an “historic hurricane.”

Before his statement, the president held a conference call with his emergency response team, FEMA Director Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.

Obama also spoke with governors and mayors of major metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard, “to let them know that this administration is in full support of their efforts to prepare for this storm and stands ready to fully support their response efforts.”

FEMA has been gearing up for the storm since last weekend, deploying its Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas and communities up and down the coast. They’ve pre-positioned millions of liters of water, meals and tens of thousands of cots and blankets in areas where the hurricane is expected to hit.

"I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now," Mr. Obama said. "We all hope for the best. But we have to be prepared for the worst.  All of us have to take this storm seriously."

“If you're in the way of this hurricane, you should be preparing now.” Obama asserted. “ If you aren't sure how to prepare your families or your home or your business for a hurricane, or any other emergency, then you can visit -- that's -- or”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What Does the President Think About the Criticism of His Vacation?

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Libya, earthquakes, and now a hurricane, all during the president’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation. Not to mention criticism from several quarters about the 10-day holiday on this island off of Massachusetts.

So what does Mr. Obama think about all those who are saying he should get back to the capital? ABC News asked Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “This is a job that he's responsible for doing wherever he is, whether he's sitting in the Oval Office, you know, or whether he's, you know, caught on the golf course when an emerging action takes place,” Earnest said at a morning briefing. That emerging action was the latest word on Libya and Tuesday’s quake. Photographers caught the president talking in his cellphone on the Farm Neck golf course.

“He has been satisfied with his ability to do his job even in these unusual locations,” Earnest said, adding, “You know, taking advantage of an opportunity at the end of summer -- at the end of the summer, to spend some time with his wife and daughters. And I think that he's satisfied that he's been able to do both of those things over the last several days.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Staying on Vacation; Will Monitor Irene

Senior Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven tracks Hurricane Irene at the National Hurricane Center on August 24, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Irene is on track to move over the Bahamas as a category 3 storm and from there cooler ocean temperatures are expected to lessen the wind speeds, but it could still be a major storm as it approaches the North Carolina coast August 27. Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass.) -- Not even powerful Hurricane Irene will come between President Obama and his Martha's Vineyard vacation. With the storm barrelling toward the Carolinas, the White House says preparations are well underway but the president has no plans to return to Washington D.C. early.

President Obama was briefed Wednesday morning, and paused during his golf round Tuesday to speak to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Craig Fugate.

“What we would encourage people to do is to not just listen to the instructions and advice and orders that are given by state and local officials, but to actually follow those instructions,” principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told the traveling White House Press corps in Martha’s Vineyard.

Earnest says teams have been pre-deployed to Virginia and North Carolina, and supplies of water and other essential goods have been positioned and he says residents should use for preparation suggestions.

FEMA was roundly criticized for its handling of Hurricane Katrina during the previous administration. But Obama, through his spokesman, suggests much is different now. Earnest says the president has “complete confidence” in FEMA Administrator Fugate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Hobnobs with Elites During Vacation

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Mass.) -- President Obama has spent part of his family vacation on Martha's Vineyard away from his wife and daughters, schmoozing with friends on the golf course and at their private oceanfront homes.

His island entourage includes a mix of familiar faces and longtime confidants, many of whom have ties to his native Chicago, and some deep-pocket donors eager to help him win another term.

Obama has ventured to the golf course twice in the six days he's been on the Vineyard, playing with White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, aide Michael Brush and family friend Dr. Eric Whitaker.

Whitaker, a physician and executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center, is considered one of Obama's closest friends. He regularly plays with the president at a course in Washington.

Obama has shot nearly 70 rounds of golf since taking office in January 2008 Golf magazine tallies, in spite of war, a tanking economy -- and in Tuesday's case, an earthquake on the East Coast.

The presidential foursome on Saturday also included UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, a member of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and a major campaign donor. Wolf gave the maximum legal contribution to Obama in 2008 and again for 2012, Federal Election Commission records show.

Off the course, Obama has spent time rubbing elbows with some of his most elite supporters, attending what the White House has described as two "informal receptions" hosted by his friends.

On Saturday, Obama visited the home of Harvard University law professor Charles Ogletree, who taught both the President and First Lady in law school and regularly summers on the island, according to local press reports.

Ogletree one day earlier co-hosted a Democratic fundraiser -- billed as "Voices for Obama" -- at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs, where Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave the keynote address.

Then on Sunday, Obama traveled to the West Tisbury mansion of Comcast CEO Brian and Aileen Roberts, where he spent more than an hour mingling at an intimate gathering.

Roberts, who oversees the nation's largest cable and Internet company -- which acquired NBC and its news divisions in a media merger deal with NBC Universal earlier this year -- serves on the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. While FEC records indicate Roberts has not yet contributed to the president's reelection campaign, one of his Comcast colleagues -- executive vice president David Cohen -- is a top Obama fundraiser, bundling more than $500,000 for the 2012 campaign so far this year.

Cohen and his wife Rhonda also attended the Roberts reception, according to local media reports. The White House would not confirm the names of attendees, saying the event was private.

The White House has dismissed the suggestion that the receptions involved fundraising.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Irene Could Do What Libya, Economy Couldn't: Cut Obama's Vacation Short

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(CAPE COD, Mass.) -- The White House has scheduled its first on-camera briefing on Martha’s Vineyard during President Obama's week-long vacation there.

Despite criticism before he left Washington, D.C. for the upscale Massachusetts island community from some who argued that he should not be taking a luxurious vacation while the economy is in turmoil, the president is kicking back undeterred. He has enjoyed golf, trips to the beach with his family and shopping.

In the past few days, as war rages in Libya and an earthquake struck the nation's capital, White House officials have maintained that the president would not be changing his schedule, which has him remaining on the island until Saturday.

Could that change now, not because of criticism, but because of weather?  With Hurricane Irene, now a category 3 storm, expected to hit the Carolinas on Saturday, it remains to be seen whether the president will be forced to head home early.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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