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Obama: Vacation plans hinge on health care

/ Source: NBC News and news services

President Barack Obama says his holiday plans depend on how soon the Senate can hold a final vote on its health care bill.

The president and his family are expected to spend Christmas in Hawaii, though the White House has not confirmed their final plans.

But the president says he wants to be in Washington to help solve any last minute problems that might arise in the health care debate.

"I will not leave until my friends in Senate have completed their work," Obama told reporters Tuesday. "My attitude is that if they're making these sacrifices to provide health care to all Americans, then the least I can do is to be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help where necessary."

The health care bill passed another 60-vote test Tuesday and no eleventh-hour complications were expected. Senators were on track to vote on final passage on Christmas Eve.

Obama also said Tuesday the only Christmas presents he needs from his daughters are hugs.

Speaking on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the president said he and first lady Michelle Obama decided several years ago not to buy each other presents.

Obama says that doesn't always save him money because he makes up for that on birthdays and Mother's Day, but it does save him some wrapping time around the holidays.

Obama says daughters Malia and Sasha aren't asking for much this Christmas, but they do like iPods, video games and books.

The Obamas are expected to spend Christmas in the president's native Hawaii, though the White House has not confirmed their final plans.

NBC's Athena Jones contributed to this report.