Pres. Obama Heads to Hawai'i for Annual Vacation

2:39 AM, Dec 22, 2012   |    comments
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(UNDATED) -- While there's still no deal on averting the fiscal cliff, President Obama is heading, at least for a few days, to Hawaii.

The president and his family departed from Washington on Friday evening, about two hours after updating reporters on the dismal state of deficit and tax rate negotiations with Republicans. The Obamas should arrive at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu early Saturday morning, according to the White House.

The White House didn't say exactly when the president will return to Washington, but the president suggested he'll be around next week. Congress returns to work on Dec. 27.

"I want to wish every American a Merry Christmas, and because we didn't get this done, I will see you next week," Obama said.

Obama pared down his expectations for the next 10 days, calling on Congress to pass legislation that ensures tax rates don't go up for those making less than $250,000 and extends unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans who are about to see their jobless benefits expire. He also wants them to lay the groundwork on a larger deficit reduction plan.

"Everybody can cool off; everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones," Obama said. "And then I'd ask every member of Congress while they're back home to think about that. Think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here. Think about the hardship that so many Americans will endure if Congress does nothing at all."

Obama has long been scheduled to take off for his family's annual holiday vacation today. But aides earlier this week told reporters that they would be surprised if it worked out that way for the president.

This vacation, however, appears destined to end up being shorter than his past jaunts to his birth state.

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