Tax cut extension fight? What fight?

CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid questions people on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu about the payroll tax cut deal -- the reason President Obama's vacation was delayed. CBS

President Obama was to head to Hawaii now that the payroll tax deal is done. The first lady and daughters Sasha and Malia are already there, and expect Mr. Obama to be, too, in time for Christmas Eve.

But, as CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid discovered, it's hard to find someone in Honolulu who knows why the president's vacation was delayed.

Celebrating the holidays 2011

If you're lucky enough to spend the holidays soaking up the sun and playing in the surf in Hawaii, you're probably not spending a lot of time following politics -- just ask Kai, a surfer dude from San Diego.

Asked whether he'd been "paying attention to this mess going on back in Washington," Kai responded, "No, not at all. I could care less, to be completely honest. I'm just here to vacation, surf have a good time, party it up. That's about it!"

So, if told they were fighting over a payroll tax cut, what would Kai say? ""So?" was the reply.

And 72-year-old Billy Pa still finds time to surf every day -- but politics?

Pa said, "Not too much, I don't like to get into politics."

Why not?

"I'm not a politician, I'm a surfer," Pa said.

What about the Bell family, from Oregon -- were they paying attention?

Asked what the mess was about in Washington, D.C., Sonja Bell said, "Which one?"

The one that was delaying the president's vacation?

"Oh, you're talking about the tax thing," Bell said.

The tax thing got some interest from boat hand Alika Salangsang.

If asked what a payroll tax cut is, what would he say?

"A payroll tax cut ain't sounding too good for me, I gotta tell you that much," Salangsang replied.

"It actually is pretty good for you," Salangsang was told.

Salangsang said, "It is? Awesome, then bring it on!"

Finally, two vacationers were found -- from Canada -- who were keeping a close eye on Washington.

Dawna Uloin said, "Oh, I'm paying attention."

Then, he was told, he was more than most of the Americans questioned in Hawaii.

"I am paying attention because whatever happens in the States is what happens in our world economy, so if we're not paying attention to what's happening in the States, we're in trouble," Uloin said, adding, "All of us."

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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