Obama takes an island break from the pressures of office

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The Independent US

With Washington struggling to come to an agreement on the "fiscal cliff", President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii at the weekend for a Christmas break with his family.

The vacation promises to be a brief one, with lawmakers due to travel back to the capital later this week for make-or-break talks to stave off, or at least reduce, the impact of the more than $500bn of spending cuts and tax rises that are due to kick in on 1 January.

Taking a break from budget negotiations and the debate on gun control, the President is expected to spend the remainder of his break with his family – First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia – in a quiet Hawaiian beach community on the island where he was born and raised.