President Barack Obama is using his Christmas holiday in Hawaii to read up on former president Ronald Reagan, an icon for the resurgent Republicans he will face next year.
The president "is reading a biography right now on Ronald Reagan by Lou Cannon," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs wrote Friday on the micro-blogging website Twitter.
Obama has taken an interest in the former president ahead of his return to a more deeply divided Washington next month, when the Republican opposition will assume control of the House of Representatives.
Reagan, who occupied the White House from 1981 to 1989, is revered by Republicans for his hard line towards the Soviet Union and his conservative fiscal reforms, which included cutting taxes and reforming the tax code.
He managed to pass a raft of legislation despite presiding over a divided government with Democrats in control of the House, a feat that Obama, despite occupying the opposite ideological pole, hopes to repeat.
Obama will face a similar divide in January, after a "shellacking" by Republicans in November that gave them a majority in the House and a bolstered presence in the Senate.
Obama is spending the Christmas holiday with his family in his home state of Hawaii.
Next year the United States will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Reagan, who passed away in 2004 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
© AFP 2013