(WASHINGTON) — As he stares down his final year in office, President Obama is making a bee-line for the golf course and the beach.
Obama departed Friday for a 16-day holiday in his native Hawaii, the first family’s seventh Oahu vacation since the president took office.
It caps a rough-and-tumble year for the 44th President of the United States, marked by the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and terror attacks in the West that sent his approval ratings into a slide. But Obama is also celebrating some historic milestones in 2015: a landmark global climate agreement, massive trans-Pacific free-trade deal, a nuclear deal with Iran and legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Since taking this office, I have never been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now,” Obama told reporters at his year-end news conference before heading on vacation. “In 2016, I am going to leave it all on the field.”
ABC News is following the president in Hawaii to give you a behind-the-scenes look at Obama on vacation.
President Obama’s vacation away from the White House is beginning on a somber tone as the president makes a brief detour to San Bernardino, California, to console grieving families of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.
The White House said Obama plans to meet privately with families and victims of the attack.
“Obviously those families are going through a difficult time, not just because they’ve lost loved ones, but obviously, at the holiday season, I think that loss is even more acute,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday. “So the president felt before he could begin his holiday, that it was important for him to spend some time with these — with these Americans who are mourning.”
Once he arrives in Hawaii on Saturday, Earnest added that the president’s intent “is to get a couple of weeks in Hawaii spending some down time” with his family.
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