Obamas hit Hawaii for year-end vacation

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Barack Obama and family landed in Honolulu late Friday to kick off a two-week Hawaiian vacation, what the US president earlier described as a chance for "sleep and sun" after a bruising year in Washington. Obama, with wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, along with Marian Robinson, Mrs. Obama's mother, emerged from Air Force One in casual garb after a 9 1/2 hour flight.

First dogs Bo and Sunny were also present. The Obamas were welcomed by dignitaries including Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander of the US Pacific Command, and Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie. The first couple briefly greeted service members waiting at Hickam Air Force Base for their arrival shortly before midnight local time. The Obama have no official events scheduled during their trip, and will stay in a rented vacation home in the upscale neighborhood of Kailua. They are scheduled to return to Washington on Jan. 5.

Obama ends 2013 under the shadow of the botched rollout of healthcare reform and with low approval ratings. Among the president's beach reading is likely to be a 300-page report on US intelligence gathering issued this week by a panel of outside advisers that urged more than 40 changes to National Security Agency surveillance.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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