After a busy day during which he attended a funeral, nominated his new Secretary of State and stared over the “fiscal cliff”, US President Barack Obama packed his family off to Hawaii for Christmas.
Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama departed for Hawaii on Friday evening, shortly after the president had delivered a statement on extended the last Bush administration’s tax cuts.
Barack Obama had told reporters “see you next week” at the end of his appearance in the briefing room, but the White House did not specify when the president would return to Washington. The Obama family have traditionally spent their Christmas holidays in Honolulu.
Earlier in the day President Obama had urged lawmakers to reach agreement on averting tax hikes on the middle class, saying he was ready and willing to do what it takes to get a deal by January 1st.
Barack Obama said he had spoken with Republican House Speaker John Boehner and met with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid about the fiscal cliff. The president said he was an optimist and believed a deal could be hammered out.
One day after House anti-tax rebels torpedoed Republican legislation because it would raise rates on million-dollar-earners, Barack Obama said he still wants a bill that requires the well-to-do to pay more.
Barack Obama also nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, one of Washington’s most respected voices on foreign policy, as his next secretary of state.
The move is the first in an expected overhaul of Barack Obama’s national security team heading into his second term.
As the nation’s top diplomat, John Kerry will not only be tasked with executing the president’s foreign policy objectives, but will also have a hand in shaping them.