The Latest: Obama honors US troops in final Christmas visit – Washington Post

HONOLULU — The Latest on President Barack Obama’s annual holiday vacation in Hawaii (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama says it has been “the privilege of my life” to serve as the commander in chief of the U.S. military.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are visiting U.S. troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay. It’s the last time Obama will take part in his annual Christmas tradition as president.

Obama says his gratitude to the military won’t stop once his term ends. He says his commitment to standing by the military “every step of the way” continues.

The president is noting that U.S. troops are serving on Christmas in dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan, with some engaged in missions against the Islamic State group. He says they should know that Americans understand that they serve every day to protect U.S. freedoms.

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12:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama will spend Christmas afternoon visiting with U.S. Marines and their families.

The White House says the president and first lady Michelle Obama will visit Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, to thank troops for their service. It’s become an annual Christmas Day tradition for the president.

The visit is the major outing for the president this Christmas. The White House says Obama and his wife and daughters spent the morning at their vacation rental playing games and opening Christmas gifts.

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11:40 a.m.

President Barack Obama is thanking U.S. troops serving overseas during Christmas and the holidays for serving the nation.

The White House says Obama spent Christmas Eve calling service members from each of the military’s branches, including the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Army and Navy.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says Obama “expressed his gratitude on behalf of all Americans for the service and sacrifice of our troops and their families.”

Obama placed the calls from Hawaii, where he is on vacation with his family.

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10:50 a.m.

President Barack Obama is celebrating Christmas with a quiet morning at his vacation home in Hawaii.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are on the island of Oahu. Obama was expected to stay at the rental home in Kailua for much of the day, opening presents with his family and taking part in other family traditions.

Traditionally, Obama spends part of the day at a nearby military base visiting with U.S. troops as they have Christmas dinner.

The Obamas are midway through their annual two-week vacation in Obama’s home state. This is the last time Obama will celebrate Christmas in Hawaii — at least as president.

The White House says Vice President Joe Biden is spending the Christmas holiday at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

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