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July 22, 2014

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Obama vacation plans in doubt because of Ukraine

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

President Barack Obama looks to the second green as he golfs at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

WASHINGTON — It was supposed be a weekend getaway to Florida for President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters, an escape from the frigid weather and lingering piles of snow around Washington. But Russia's intervention in Ukraine has put Obama's plans in doubt, making it possible the family could end up at the White House.

The White House said late Thursday that Obama would spend the weekend in Key Largo, Fla., although that still could change.

"It is possible the president may return to the White House on Friday as events unfold in Ukraine," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier in the day.

The weekend stay was tacked onto a visit Friday afternoon by Obama and his wife, Michelle, to Coral Reef High School in Miami, where they are to address students on the importance of education.

This vacation would come on the heels of the holiday Obama spent at the Sunnylands estate in Southern California during Presidents Day weekend last month, where he teed off on the desert property's 9-hole golf course as well as on a private, 19-hole course owned by supporter Larry Ellison, co-founder of the Oracle software company and one of the richest men in America.

Obama had gone to Sunnylands for meetings with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The White House has not said where Obama will stay, but local media reports said it was the Ocean Reef Club, a private property set on 2,500 tropical acres in the Florida Keys. Obama is an avid golfer and the property boasts two 18-hole golf courses. There's also a swimming lagoon, tennis courts, a spa and fitness center, a private airport and more than a dozen restaurants among the club's varied offerings.

Every president gets criticized for the amount of time spent away from the White House, and Obama is no different. The Florida vacation, if it happens, would be his third for the year.

Besides Sunnylands, Obama and his family continued their tradition of spending Christmas and New Year's in his birthplace of Hawaii. The president and his daughters returned to the White House on Jan. 5, but Mrs. Obama stayed behind for another week to begin celebrating her 50th birthday later that month.

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