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Obama to spend long holiday weekend in Florida

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm •  Published: February 14, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will spend the long holiday weekend in Florida, relaxing with friends.

The White House said this week that Obama would head to the West Palm Beach area on Friday, after a stop earlier in the day in Chicago, his hometown, to discuss economic proposals in his State of the Union address.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that Obama would spend a few days on Florida's Atlantic Coast relaxing with friends he did not identify. No public events were scheduled.

"The president of the United States is the president of the United States 24 hours a day, and will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he's getting some well-deserved downtime with some friends this weekend," Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama. "I don't think the American people will begrudge him that."

Obama's traditional Christmas vacation in his native Hawaii was interrupted last year as he negotiated with Congress to avoid a slate of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that could have hurt the economy.

He spent Christmas in Hawaii with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, but soon after returned to Washington to resume negotiations. He flew back to the island state on New Year's Day, after a deal was reached, and returned to the White House with his family several days later.

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