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Obama, family spend time on North Shore


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POSTED: Thursday, December 31, 2009

President Barack Obama continued his low-key holiday vacation, spending several hours at the secluded North Shore home of a high school friend.

The day-long outing yesterday to the Mokuleia beachfront home of Punahou School classmate Bobby Titcomb came on a dark day, as eight Americans and five Canadians were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

World events are likely to interrupt Obama's holiday vacation again today.

On Tuesday, Obama gave federal agencies until today to provide preliminary results of an investigation into security lapses surrounding the thwarted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

He called it “;totally unacceptable”; that a 23-year-old Nigerian was able to carry explosives onto an international flight from Amsterdam despite the fact the suspect had possible ties to al-Qaida.

There was no word on whether the president planned to issue another public statement on the matter. Obama has twice interrupted his vacation to speak about the investigation.

His day yesterday began as all other days have since his arrival on Christmas Eve—with a workout at the Semper Fit gym on Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

He and first lady Michelle Obama spent about an hour at the gym, aides said. Reporters traveling with the president were kept away from the gym entrance, where a crowd of a few dozen people had gathered at a barricade to catch a glimpse of Obama.

The first family and friends later made the roughly one-hour drive from their rented vacation compound in Kailua to Mokuleia.

Obama was spotted through the window of one sport utility vehicle sporting a baseball cap and white ear buds.

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The motorcade took the H-3 freeway to the leeward side of Oahu, past Aloha Stadium and Pearl Harbor then through central Oahu past Schofield Barracks and onto Farrington Highway.

Some of the motorists who had pulled over to make way for the motorcade honked or waved at the vehicles. As the motorcade wound through the rural North Shore, bystanders waved and took pictures of the vehicles.

Obama's SUV entered the driveway of Titcomb's home out of view of the traveling press corps.

At one point, several swimmers were seen in the water amid 3- to 5-foot waves. A couple of personal watercraft also were spotted in the ocean, although identities of the swimmers and riders could not be confirmed.

Obama and his family also spent several hours at Titcomb's house during their last visit to Hawaii in December when he was president-elect.