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Obama to get 12 days of Christmas holiday

By Shawna Shepherd, CNN White House Producer
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Obama's golf skills
  • The president extends his Hawaiian stay another day
  • Obama delayed the start of his holiday while Congress remained in session
  • Golf, basketball, beach visits and daily workouts are part of Obama's holiday regime

Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) -- President Barack Obama is giving himself a little more time to recharge his batteries by extending his Hawaiian vacation another day, White House spokesman Bill Burton said Wednesday.

Obama will now return to Washington on Tuesday, January 4, giving him 12 full days on the island of Oahu, Burton said.

The start of Obama's vacation was delayed because the lame-duck session of Congress only ended on December 22, five days later than planned. Obama's family arrived in Hawaii on December 18, and the president joined them late on December 22 at a beach-side vacation rental overlooking Kailua Bay.

So far, Obama has worked out at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in nearby Kaneohe Bay every morning except for Christmas Day, made a couple of trips to the beach, gone snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and played a few rounds of golf. He also took daughters Sasha and Malia and friends for shaved ice at Island Snow after bowling and playing basketball.

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The president has managed to keep a relatively low profile with very little media coverage because most of his activities have taken place on the Marine base or places that are closed to the public when he visits.

The delayed start of his holiday was very fruitful for Obama. He was able to score major victories such as Senate approval of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring openly gay and lesbian military members, and approval of both a food safety reform bill and legislation providing health care to 9/11 responders.

In Hawaii every morning, Obama receives the same classified Presidential Daily Briefing and Economic Daily Briefing he receives every day at the White House.