Read all posts from October 2011

  • In the weeks since Vice President Biden launched the 1is2Many initiative – a call for young women and men to share their ideas on how to prevent dating violence and sexual assault at their schools and college campuses – he has received more than 2,000 responses via the and Twitter.

    Earlier today, the Vice President thanked everyone who submitted their ideas via Twitter:

    Many responses highlighted the importance of educating boys and girls early on about healthy and respectful relationships. A number suggested upgrading campus infrastructure by improving lighting or ensuring that campus police are always accessible.

  • President Barack Obama meets with the Cabinet

    President Barack Obama meets with the Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct. 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama today met with his Cabinet to talk about the most pressing issue facing the country right now: Putting America back to work. The President is waiting for Congress to take action on the American Jobs Act, which he introduced at a Joint Session in early September. But in the meantime, the President is committed to having the entire administration and all agencies to do everything possible that does not require Congress’s help, as he said before the meeting today:

    Each of the Secretaries and heads of agencies have been assigned to look at what we can do administratively to accelerate job growth over the next several months.  And working with the Jobs Council that we’ve set up, working with the private sector, we have been looking for a wide range of ideas of administrative action we can take. A good example would be, for example, accelerating the payments to small businesses so that they’ve got better cash flow; trying to figure out ways that we can be working in the housing market without congressional action to provide some relief for homeowners. 

  • Update: The signatures threshold for petitions on the We the People platform to receive an official response from the White House has changed since this blog post was published. See the latest signature thresholds.


    Planning for the new We the People platform, we were confident the system would ultimately get a lot of use, but we expected it would take a little longer to get out into the ether and pick up speed.

    Let's just say our estimates were ... ahem ... a wee bit on the low side!  In one week, more than 7,800 petitions have been created, more than 600,000 signatures have been logged and more than 375,000 people have created an account to participate in this platform.  It's by far the biggest online engagement event ever for the White House - and we're just getting started.

    That's what you call a good problem to have.  Here's one thing we're doing to address it:

    The massive participation on We the People means that in the first week over 30 petitions reached 5,000 signatures, the initial threshold to generate an official response from the White House. At our first internal review meeting Friday, two things were clear: (a) everyone is thrilled about this new challenge and excited to process the first batch, but (b) this many petitions challenges our ability to offer timely and meaningful responses to petitions in the long term.  

    So starting now, the threshold a petition has to reach in order to generate an official response is 25,000 signatures in 30 days. This change only affects petitions created from this point forward, and will not be applied to petitions of any signature count already in the system.

    This may not be the last time we change the thresholds, both in terms of signatures and amount of time. And we're also evaluating a number of other ways to improve the system, many based on ideas we've received from you. Since we launched We the People we’ve been reading your feedback submitted via the feedback form on the We the People platform and through the Twitter hashtag #WHWeb.

    Here are a few answers to questions and issues we’ve seen over the last few days:

  • Ed. Note: This event has now ended.

    Today, President Obama will sit down with ABC's George Stephanopoulos to take questions submitted through Watch the interview live beginning at 2:35 p.m. EDT:


  • Today, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation designating October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. On Friday, I will be speaking together with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at the official kick-off event for the month at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. In the following weeks, the Department of Homeland Security will be hosting events across the nation to bring cybersecurity awareness to your state and your community. Every company, school, and family should use October as an opportunity to focus on cybersecurity – update training, attend or host an event, or talk to your children about responsible use of the Internet. 

    Cybersecurity is of course not something we can pay attention to for only one-month each year. It is a shared responsibility each and every day. That is why last year we began the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign – Stop. Think. Connect., an ongoing effort to educate Americans about risks in cyberspace and promotes simple steps that everyone can take to protect themselves online.  

    I’d also like to highlight the re-launch of, the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. The site is a resource for parents, educators, and individuals who want to learn more about cybersecurity.  Managed by the Federal Trade Commission, is a partner in Stop. Think. Connect. and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. I encourage everyone to visit these three sites to learn more about what you can do to be safe online.  

    As this is the eighth National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it is a fitting time to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still need to go to secure this nation in cyberspace. At the start of the Obama Administration, we released the Cyberspace Policy Review, which issued a near term action plan to improve cybersecurity. I am pleased to say that our progress looks pretty good. In the last year, we issued two strategies that address major items on the action plan. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace described a private-public partnership that will improve the way online transactions are conducted by moving beyond passwords toward secure, reliable online credentials.  The federal government is now working to implement this vision on our own networks and encouraging the private sector to do so as well. We also released the first comprehensive International Strategy for Cyberspace, calling for prosperity, security, and openness in a networked world. The strategy lays out the Administration’s vision for the future of the Internet and an agenda for partnering with other nations and peoples to realize this vision. Yet still more must be done. Working with the private sector, we expect to finalize the National Cyber Incident Response Plan shortly. The interim version of this plan has served our government well in managing cyber incidents over the last year. The revised plan has benefited from this experience.  

    Over the next year, we will continue progressing on the President’s vision of an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet. This month, stay tuned for the release of a strategic plan that will outline how we will develop the next-generation of game-changing technologies for cybersecurity and for the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s strategic plan for securing the homeland security enterprise in cyberspace. 

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Americans across the military, government and private sector.  As Social Secretary to the Vice President and Dr. Biden, I was pleased to open up the doors of the Vice President’s residence for this special occasion – the third Hispanic Heritage reception they have hosted at their home.

    The Vice President spoke before a crowd that included veterans and active duty service members, as well as Hispanic business leaders from around the nation. Noting the particular influence of Hispanic immigrants on American society, Vice President Biden said, “we have never once in our history not been stronger and richer and more vibrant as a consequence of the waves of immigration. … it is the thing that enriches us.”

    The reception also recognized the continuing sacrifice and dedication of Hispanic American service members, with veterans from the Vietnam War to the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in attendance.

  • President Obama at HRC

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Human Rights Campaign Gala at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. October 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    Yesterday, President Obama addressed the 15th Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.  In his speech, the President stressed his commitment to the cause of equality over the past two and a half years, and his continuing support moving forward.

    Now, I don’t have to tell you that we have a ways to go in that struggle.  I don’t have to tell you how many are still denied their basic rights -- Americans who are still made to feel like second-class citizens, who have to live a lie to keep their jobs, or who are afraid to walk the street, or down the hall at school.  Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality.  So you know what we have to do; we’ve got more work ahead of us.

    But we can also be proud of the progress we’ve made these past two and a half years.  Think about it. Two years ago, I stood at this podium, in this room, before many of you, and I made a pledge.  I said I would never counsel patience; that it wasn’t right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell African Americans to be patient in the fight for equal rights a half century ago. But what I also said, that while it might take time –- more time than anyone would like -– we are going to make progress; we are going to succeed; we are going to build a more perfect union

  • President Obama discusses the letters he receives every day asking for action on jobs and calls on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away to cut taxes, create jobs and provide a win for the American people.  

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

    Learn more about the American Jobs Act