Where Clinton described the White House as possibly “the crown jewel of the prison system,” Obama happily described it as “this nice home office” during a 2009 interview with the BBC.“I go upstairs, and I can have dinner with my family just about every night. And they can travel with me when they're able,” the president said. “I’m grateful that I’ve got such a wonderful wife and kids. That’s my main form of relaxation.”
Obama likes his Hawaii sojourns more than trips elsewhere because they feel like a homecoming, and the school holiday break means that he gets to spend more time with his daughters, several aides said.
“In Hawaii, they [the Obamas] have done anything from fires on the beach at night, volleyball, Jet Skis, body surfing, Hawaiian BBQ,” said a current senior official, who, like others, asked not to be identified by name.
The White House doesn’t often name them, but Obama likes to spend time with friends — old friends, mostly, people he knew in Hawaii or in Chicago.“There’s comfort in old friends who have nothing to do with the political world, have real-world perspective and deep history with the president,” one former adviser said. “They were friends before, they’re friends during, and they'll be friends after.”
It doesn’t have to be in person.
“He’s a big fan of the Scrabble (or maybe it’s Words with Friends) app on his iPad. Whenever he’s taking a break, that’s usually his go-to,” said another aide.