Obama ringing in new year in low-key fashion
President Barack Obama holds his shave ice as he exits Island Snow to greet people waiting outside, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The first family is in Hawaii for their annual holiday vacation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama closed out 2013 in low-key fashion Tuesday, hitting the beach with his family at a popular Hawaii snorkeling spot before making a stop for shave ice, a favorite treat of the island-born president.
For Obama, New Year's Eve marks the end of a difficult year marred by the troubled rollout of his health care law and little progress on the rest of his domestic agenda. The White House is hoping for better results to come in 2014, particularly as the health law's insurance benefits take effect on Jan. 1.
The White House said the president planned to stay at home Tuesday night and ring in the new year with friends and family.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with people waiting to meet him as he holds his shave ice outside Island Snow, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2014. The first family is in Hawaii for their annual holiday vacation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Obama kicked off the last day of 2013 with an hourlong workout at a military base near his rented vacation home in Hawaii. He and first lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, then headed to Hanauma Bay for a midday snorkeling outing on a sun-splashed day on the island of Oahu.
The president then made his annual stop at Island Snow, a purveyor of the Hawaiian snow cone known as shave ice. His flavors of choice: cherry and lemon-lime.
Before heading back home, Obama greeted the crowd that had gathered outside the shop.
"I hope you guys have a great 2014," said Obama, sporting sunglasses and a striped short-sleeve shirt.
The president has largely stayed out of the spotlight since arriving in Hawaii more than a week ago. He's spent his days golfing with friends, hiking with his family, and hitting the town for dinner at several high-end restaurants he frequents while in his home state.