From: Jaffe, Greg
Sent: Friday, December 25, 2015 4:54 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: White House Hawaii pool report #3 Obama's remarks at the base
The president and first lady Michelle Obama’s Christmas Day appearance at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay has become an annual tradition. This year their visit comes less than a week after six U.S. airmen were killed in a suicide bombing outside of Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. base in the country.
Obama spoke in the base’s cafeteria, which was full of mostly Marines and their families who filled the tables and booths. Obama dressed in a white polo shirt and green pants spoke from the front of the room. The first lady, dressed in a black dress, stood next to him. Behind him were black and white pictures chronicling Marine Corps history along with a couple of wreaths and Christmas tree. The crowd was mostly Marines but included troops from all of the services.
Here’s a partial transcript of his remarks. Please check against the official transcript:
The annual visit is one of the first family’s favorite things to do, Obama said, because “not only are we in Hawaii for Christmas but we are also able to say thank you on behalf of the American people.”
“So many families here are serving tirelessly,” he said. He added its not just service members but spouses and kids. The troops serving overseas are “missing birthdays and missing soccer games, making sacrifices, because we know when you are deployed overseas it is tough.”
Obama spoke briefly about the deaths of six U.S. airmen outside Bagram Air Base earlier this week.
“Even though we have been able to reduce the number of folks who are deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan there are still folks over there every single day and it’s still dangerous as we saw this past week with the outstanding brave Americans who were killed,” Obama said.
“Whatever service you are in whatever branch we are extraordinarly grateful for everything you do every single day,” he said.
Obama then said: “Michele and I are looking forward to taking pictures with all of you.” He noted a couple of new babies in the crowd, waiting for photos with their partents.
“We always get our baby fix,” he said.
“The main thing I want to say is just keep up the extraordinary work,” he added.
He joked that he enjoyed working out in the mornings at the base and said the only problem he had is “working out next to Marines in the gym” who are in better shape than him. He said some of these Marines were “curling 100 pounds” and added that they were motivation for him to do better when he comes back next year.