December 24th, 2010
03:31 PM ET
HONOLULU (CNN) – The first family may be enjoying an ocean side view on their holiday vacation but for Christmas dinner they'll be eating something a little more land based.
The Obamas plan to have steak, roasted potatoes, green beans and of course, one of the president's favorite desserts - pie. No word from the White House on what kind of pie will be available.
December 23rd, 2010
04:27 PM ET
HONOLULU (CNN) - After delaying the start of his Hawaiian vacation because of the lame duck session of Congress, President Obama has decided to extend his trip by a day and will now head back to Washington on January 2, according to sources familiar with the schedule.
Obama was originally planning to leave Hawaii on New Year's Day, but since the start of his vacation was delayed by several days he has decided to tack an extra day onto the tail end of the trip.
The sources said the primary reason for the change was the president's desire to spend more time with first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters.
The entire first family was originally supposed to depart for Hawaii last Saturday, but the president stayed back in Washington while everyone else stuck to the original schedule.
Staying behind in Washington was very fruitful for Obama. He was able to score major victories on the New START Treaty, repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a food safety reform bill, and legislation providing health care to 9/11 responders, among other major priorities.
December 22nd, 2010
10:12 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Feeling the wind at his back President Obama decided to surprise the White House Press Corps as he prepared to depart for his Hawaiian vacation.
While walking from the Oval office to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, the president made a turn and then walked over to reporters, producers, and crews and shook as many hands as possible.
He wished the startled and shivering members of the press, who had been waiting for nearly a half hour in the cold, a "Merry Christmas" and asked if anyone was coming with him to Hawaii.
This is a unprecendented move for the president. While he always waves goodbye and sometimes will shake hands with visitors who line up to watch his departure, he has never "worked the rope line" for those who cover him everyday.
Mr. Obama, carrying what appeared to be a card in his hand, seemed enthusiastic as he handed out holiday greetings. He departed with a "huge bag of gifts" himself: A START treaty, "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, a tax cut, health care for 9/11 responders, and funding for the funding for the federal government until March.
December 22nd, 2010
04:12 PM ET
HONOLULU (CNN) - With President Obama staying in Washington a bit longer for a news conference as Congress wraps up its final business in a lame-duck session, federal officials here in Hawaii have adjusted flight restrictions and are now expecting him to arrive for vacation in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
The Federal Aviation Administration has now issued an advisory instituting a no-fly zone for 10 nautical miles over Honolulu early Thursday from 2:45am until 445am local time. But the White House announced that they now anticipate the president arriving in Honolulu at approximately 11:50 pm local time on Wednesday, so the FAA will of course adjust their arrangements.
Hawaii is five time zones behind the East Coast so Obama will now leave Washington at approximately 6:45 pm eastern on Wednesday after an end of the year news conference.
December 22nd, 2010
08:17 AM ET
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (CNN) - CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry and I visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial to gauge reaction to President Obama's historic signing of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell Wednesday morning.
We also interviewed two gay veterans, Jeff Cadavona (Ret. U.S. Air Force) and his partner Dale Head (Ret. U.S. Army), who live on Oahu and served in the U.S. military long before Don't Ask Don't Tell, back when gay people were simply banned from serving. Both of them are glad to be alive to see the law repealed.
After speaking to veterans and non-veterans of all ages, Henry found that most people thought this was a long time coming and would have happened sooner if not for politics.
CNN senior photojournalist Peter Morris shot and edited this story.
December 21st, 2010
07:11 PM ET
HONOLULU (CNN) - CNN has learned that federal officials here in Hawaii are planning for President Obama to arrive on the island of Oahu as early as Wednesday, when they are instituting a no-fly zone over this city.
The Federal Aviation Administration quietly issued an advisory Tuesday revealing it will institute a no-fly zone with a radius of 10 nautical miles around Honolulu from 5:15 PM local until 7:15 PM local time on Wednesday.
Honolulu is five time zones behind the East Coast so Obama could hold his scheduled signing ceremony of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Wednesday morning - and potentially hold a news conference - before leaving Washington early in the afternoon. He could still arrive in Hawaii for dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, all of whom arrived Saturday ahead of the President.
White House officials would not confirm or deny that Obama will leave for vacation on Wednesday, and it is important to note that with Congress still in a lame duck session the schedule remains fluid and a departure time is not locked down until the President gives the final confirmation.
December 20th, 2010
03:52 PM ET
HONOLULU (CNN) – Finally, the entire first family will make it to Hawaii for the holidays. Bo, the first family's portugese water dog, has made his debut on the island after complying with the state's stringent animal quarantine rules.
FDOTUS – the First Dog of the United States - arrived on Saturday with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, according to Janelle Saneishi of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Bo had to go through a rigorous quarantine program in order to meet the state's strict rabies requirements. Hawaii claims to be the only state completely rabies free.
Saneisi says the process for adult dogs takes at least four months prior to their arrival on the island. Puppies take nine months to prepare to meet the requirements. The prerequisites are fairly extensive and include a microchip implant along with the standard series of shots.