Published December 24, 2011
HONOLULU – It may have been a week later than he had hoped, but US President Barack Obama finally hit the links in Hawaii Saturday on his first full day of vacation.
Obama touched down in the Aloha State Friday night after signing a bill in Washington extending the payroll tax cut for two months.
The president had delayed his departure for Hawaii amid the tax cut stalemate, with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha leaving as planned on Dec. 17.
On Saturday morning, the couple skipped their usual morning workout, with the president heading off for an afternoon of golf and the first lady spreading some Christmas cheer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Obama was joined at the Klipper course at the Marine Base Hawaii in Kaneohe by old friends and Hawaii locals Mike Ramos, Greg Orme and Bobby Titcomb, along with Chicago friend Eric Whitaker, and White House staffers Sam Kass and Marvin Nicholson.
The president went golfing on the first day of his Christmas vacation in Hawaii last year as well.
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama assisted in tracking Santa Claus on his journey across the globe, surprising children who called seeking information from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on the jolly man's journey.
She answered calls, "Hello, this is First Lady Michelle Obama with NORAD Tracks Santa. How may I help you?" and gave kids Santa's exact location using NORAD's global Santa Tracker, while assuring them that his journey was going well.
It is the second year running that she has volunteered to answer some of the calls from children keen to find out when Santa is coming to their home.
After touching down in Hawaii on Friday night, following a nine-hour flight from Washington, the president and first lady dined with family and friends at Morimoto Restaurant in Waikiki, the Star-Advertiser reported.
The Obamas will spend the night before Christmas with family and friends, including the president's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who lives in Hawaii with her family.
The first family is vacationing in Hawaii until Jan. 2, staying in a rented beachfront home near Honolulu.