President Obama's Hawaii vacation: Day 5

President Obama's Hawaii vacation: Day 5

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KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — How President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent the fifth day of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Wednesday:

— GYM SESSION: Obama got in another workout at the gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on another overcast morning. He also exercised at the gym on Monday and Tuesday.

— DIPLOMATIC GOLF: Obama returned to the base to play some golf. A new golfing partner was Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also vacationing in Hawaii. The others were White House aides, Joe Paulsen and Mike Brush.

Obama and Razak took turns putting on the 18th green, and then Obama took time to greet the media.

"Merry Christmas," Obama said as he waved to reporters. "Be careful about those fruity drinks. You never know, they might have a little kick to them."

Obama and Razak discussed U.S.-Malaysian relations, and Obama told Razak that he looked forward to working with him when Malaysia leads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year, according to the White House.

During last year's Hawaii vacation, Obama played golf with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

— CHRISTMAS GREETINGS: Obama joined the first lady to wish Americans a "Merry Christmas," encouraging people to embrace the holiday spirit by reaching out to the sick and hungry.

In his weekly address, Obama also reflected on the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan coming to an end this month. He said the holiday season is also a time to honor U.S. troops and their families.

"Our longest war will come to a responsible end," Obama said. "And that gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect upon all that these families have given us."

— FIRST LADY TRACKS SANTA: Michelle Obama answered calls from children asking where Santa was, the White House said. It was her fifth year participating in the Christmas Eve tradition, which involves children tracking Santa Claus' progress across the world with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

The first lady spent about 30 minutes speaking with children who called the agency's NORAD Tracks Santa program, the White House said.

This year, Obama fielded a half-dozen calls while Santa was swooping down in Italy, Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

"Do you believe in Santa?" asked Sara, an 8-year-old from Ontario, Canada.

Mrs. Obama replied that she did — and the president does, too.

"That's why I try to be good all year. I try to help other people and eat my vegetables, and be kind to all the kids that I know because I believe that Santa is watching," the first lady said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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