KANEOHE, Hawaii -- President Obama began the holiday weekend as far removed as one could be from the stalled "fiscal cliff" talks in Washington: on a golf course in his native Hawaii.
The first family arrived here just after midnight Saturday for their traditional Christmas trip to the island of Oahu, one that for the president is his bit of R & R after a grueling election year, though one that is likely to be briefer than usual given the Dec. 31 deadline to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect.
After the failure of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s “Plan B,” the president Friday called for all involved to use the coming holiday as a time to “cool off,” drink eggnog and enjoy time with family.
“Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done,” he said, before leaving the White House.
In his weekly address, Boehner said the Republican-led House had already done its part to avert the fiscal cliff, pointing to legislation that did pass Thursday to substitute what he called “responsible spending cuts” for deeper reductions that were part of the sequester to be triggered without a deal.