Obama pays Christmas visit to Hawaii Marine base
HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle took time from their Hawaii vacation to drop by a Marine Corps base on Saturday, where they greeted service men and women during Christmas dinner.
Obama, who has otherwise kept a low profile during the 11-day family holiday and stayed almost completely out of public view, visited the same base last year and the year before on Christmas Day.
The president and first lady shook hands, posed for pictures, admired babies and chatted with Marines and their families in the mess hall decked out in Christmas decorations for about 40 minutes.
"Did you get everything you wanted?" Obama asked one little girl, who brandished a bracelet, prompting the president to point out a presumably new bracelet on Michelle's wrist.
The United States currently has around 100,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan fighting Islamic militants. Obama said earlier this month his surge of troops into Afghanistan had made enough progress to begin withdrawing forces in July.
The Obama's own Christmas dinner at their oceanfront vacation home will consist of steak, roasted potatoes and green beans, with pie for dessert, the White House said.
"The first family is enjoying family and friends, enjoying their traditional Christmas Day activities and taking in a little NBA basketball," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.
(Reporting by Travis Quezon, editing by Eric Beech)
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