Hang Ten

Obama's Low-Key Hawaiian Holiday

All Obama wants for Christmas is a little peace and quiet, a White House spokesman told reporters as Air Force One made its way from Washington to the president’s birthplace of Hawaii Thursday. Bill Burton said Obama would like to spend his holiday away from current occupational stresses and has not scheduled any public events during his time on the island. The president, as Burton told reporters, “would like for you to relax and to not anticipate any public announcements or news-making events,” causing some to laugh in disbelief. As they know, the news stops for no one—a lesson Obama learned during his summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard during which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was renominated and Senator Ted Kennedy passed away. His journey to Hawaii was even delayed on the day of Christmas Eve as top advisers reportedly wanted him to witness the U.S. Senate health-care bill passing. But once everyone finally boarded America’s most famous jet—with every seat full—Burton suggested this would be his last White House briefing of 2009. Obama’s sister, brother-in-law, and their daughters awaited the first family’s arrival on the tarmac, as the president himself awaited some calm on the golf course—though red phones remain wired and emergency binders sit on shelves, prepared for any breaking situation.