KAILUA, Hawaii - Taking what promised to be a very brief Christmas break from the ongoing struggle to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts, US President Barack Obama relaxed with his family on Saturday at a beach retreat in Hawaii.
Congress was to return to Washington next Thursday and Obama has pledged to work with lawmakers to strike a deal to avoid the economic shock from tax and spending measures set to take effect on Jan. 1 if a deal can't be reached, which many economists say could push the US economy back into recession.
The president is expected to indulge in some of his favorite pastimes on the island where he was born and raised: golf, an expedition for the local treat "shave ice," and an evening out with family and friends. He hit the links at the nearby Marine Corps base under sunny skies on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, he is expected to attend funeral services for Senator Daniel Inouye, the long-serving Democrat from Hawaii who died on Monday, but the president has no other public events on his schedule.