Obamas arrive in Hawaii

President Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii early Saturday for their annual Christmas vacation.

The first family is staying at a residence in Kailua, on the east end of Oahu, where they have spent Christmas the past four years.

ADVERTISEMENT
The White House said the president has no public events scheduled Saturday or Sunday. During past vacations to the island state where he grew up, the president has played golf and visited family graves.

This year, he may attend the memorial service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who died Monday. Obama spoke at Inouye's memorial service in Washington on Friday, praising the nine-term senator as “perhaps my earliest political inspiration.”

As a World War 2 veteran, Inouye will be buried Sunday morning at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. The White House has not announced whether Obama will attend, but several senators expected to fly to Hawaii on Saturday in order to be there.

Before leaving Washington for the ten-hour flight, Obama urged congressional leaders to consider a scaled-back plan to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year, when tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts kick in. The holiday is a brief reprieve for negotiators, who are expected back on Wednesday or Thursday.

The president and first family are expected to return to Washington on Wednesday.

"Because we didn’t get this done, I’ll see you next week," Obama said.

The president added he hoped legislators would use the break to "cool off."

"As we leave town for a few days to be with our families, it will give us some perspective," Obama said, joking that lawmakers should "drink some egg nog, [and] have some Christmas cookies."

The president and first lady Michelle Obama offered holiday wishes in his weekly address and thanked members of the U.S. military for their service.

--This article was originally published at 8:22 a.m. and last updatd at 9:28 a.m.