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.