Obama's 12 days of Christmas
December 29th, 2010
06:38 PM ET

Obama's 12 days of Christmas

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - President Obama is giving himself a little more time to recharge his batteries by extending his Hawaiian vacation another day, according to White House spokesperson Bill Burton.  He will now return to Washington on Tuesday, January 4, giving him 12 full days on the island of Oahu.

His vacation was initially delayed several days on the front end because of the lame duck session of Congress.  The first family arrived on Saturday, December 18, and the president joined them late Wednesday, December 22.

The first family is staying at a beachside vacation rental overlooking Kailua Bay.  Obama has worked out at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in nearby Kaneohe Bay every morning except for Christmas day.  So far he’s made a couple trips to the beach, gone snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and played a few rounds of golf.  He also took daughters Sasha and Malia and friends for shave ice at Island Snow after bowling and playing basketball.

The president has managed to keep a relatively low profile with very little press coverage because most of his activities have taken place on the marine base or places that are closed to the public when he visits.

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Topics: President Obama • The News
December 29th, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Obama makes six recess appointments

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) – Taking time out from his Hawaiian vacation to assert some executive authority, President Obama used a series of recess appointments to override Republican objections to several nominees.

Obama used his Constitutional power to recess appoint six people who have had their nominations pending for an average of 147 days, according to White House officials.

White House officials said privately that the president acted because of Republican obstructionism on the nominees, which include the prestigious posts of deputy attorney general and ambassadors to Turkey, the Czech Republic, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Senate Republican aides did not have any immediate comment on the recess appointments, which essentially allows these nominees to serve in their posts in a temporary capacity for about one year. If the nominees are not confirmed by the end of the next session of Congress, which is likely to end next November or December, the post will become vacant again.

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Topics: President Obama • The News • Uncategorized
Threats follow White House to Hawaii
December 29th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Threats follow White House to Hawaii

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - Every day before 8 a.m. Hawaiian time, President Obama gets an extensive briefing about all of the national security threats that have been bubbling around the world overnight while he's been vacationing.

An intelligence official heads over to Obama's vacation rental to deliver the Presidential Daily Brief, the very same classified briefing he receives every day back at the White House, and then a series of White House staffers provide him with extra information throughout the day via secure telephone, video and email lines.

"There's the PDB plus anything else the president needs to know about," Ben Rhodes, a senior National Security Council staffer who is traveling with Obama here in Hawaii, said in an interview.  It didn't quite go that smoothly last Christmas here in Hawaii.

White House aides confirmed a New York Times report that Obama was peeved in late 2009 when he had a hard time connecting securely with his top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, after a Nigerian national tried to launch a Christmas Day terror attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

As a result, Brennan made sure that for this trip to Hawaii Obama got an upgrade to his communications equipment at the beach house his family rents in Kailua, a tiny town on the eastern side of Oahu about a 30-minute drive from Waikiki Beach.

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Topics: John Brennan • President Obama • Terror • The News
December 29th, 2010
01:00 AM ET

Got game?

President Obama plays golf at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii, on Tuesday, Dec. 28.