Matt ComptonJanuary 24, 2012
06:00 PM EDT
Katelyn SabochikJanuary 24, 2012
04:38 PM EDT
This afternoon, David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to President Obama, sent the email below to the White House email list encouraging folks to tune in to the State of the Union Address tonight at 9:00 pm. ET. If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.
In just a few hours, at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will stand before Congress to give the State of the Union Address. He'll talk about where we are as a nation, and he'll lay out a blueprint for an America built to last.
For weeks, we've been working to this point.
The President has been brainstorming with the speechwriters and huddling with the policy team. He's come up with new ideas, rewritten language, and reordered pages. For President Obama, this isn't simply an editing exercise. He's invested in creating the State of the Union because he sees it as his opportunity to take his vision for the country to the American people directly.
Want to know what that looks like?
To make sure you get the most out of the State of the Union, we've put together an enhanced version of the speech. As the President outlines his plans for 2012, you'll see key facts and figures. We'll present charts and infographics so that everyone can get a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.
Matt ComptonJanuary 24, 2012
01:59 PM EDT
We're just hours away from the time when President Obama will head to the Capitol to give this year's State of the Union address, and the speech is close to done. If you want to know what goes into making the State of the Union, check out our new behind-the-scenes video.
Find out how you can talk to Obama Administration officials about the President’s plan
Watch the enhanced version of the 2012 State of the Union Address
Read the full transcript of President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address
Read President Obama’s Blueprint for an America that is built to last
Take a deep dive into the data behind the President’s plan
Photo Gallery: Scenes from the State of the Union
Interactive Feature: Who Joined the First Lady for the Speech?
January 24, 2012
12:06 PM EDT
The concept is simple: by working together in new ways, we can achieve measurable results for vulnerable Americans and, in the longer term, make measurable progress on persisting social problems. “Pay for Success” offers a new way for government to ensure effective programs reach traditionally and currently underserved communities. The hope is that Pay for Success will help us find better ways to get Americans the supports and services they need – whether it is access to housing, workforce development, college completion or support for youth aging out of foster care.
Pay for Success is being tested in the United Kingdom and Australia, and already we see the potential of this new form of grant-making to help governments target limited dollars available on those social programs that achieve positive, measurable impact. In particular it offers a financing solution for preventive services, which are often the first services to get cut in hard budget times even though they lead to reduced costs and better outcomes in the long-term. For example, research shows that the years leading up to kindergarten are among the most significant in shaping a child’s foundation for learning and school success, which can also translate into real cost savings. Indeed, these findings suggest that for every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood education, we save $7 from the costs of associated programs, like special education, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency. Nevertheless, when budgets get tight, these and other preventive services for vulnerable populations are among the first to get cut. At a time when all levels of government are facing cutbacks, Pay for Success offers a new approach to invest in the critical services for vulnerable populations that need more – not less – support.
Matt ComptonJanuary 24, 2012
11:56 AM EDT
At 9:00 ET, President Obama will give his third State of the Union address. At WhiteHouse.gov, we're putting together a set of resources to help you get the most out of the speech.
Later this afternoon, we'll release a new video that takes you behind the scenes so you can see exactly what went into making this year's State of the Union. Be sure to check back for that unique perspective.
Then, as President Obama speaks, we'll broadcast an online-only enhanced version of the address with graphics, data, and useful stats that will help you go deeper -- and see the information that helped informed the President's policy decisions. To follow discussion about the speech, use the hashtag #SOTU on Twitter.
Immediately after the speech, we've asked a group of policy experts and advisors to the President to sit down for a live panel and answer your questions. Submit yours here, ask on Twitter using the hashtag #WHchat, or post it to the White House Facebook page.
Finally, late tonight, we'll post video and a transcript of the President's remarks to the White House blog.
There will be additional updates throughout the day. Keep visiting WH.gov for all the latest information.
Matt ComptonJanuary 23, 2012
09:13 PM EDT
In June, the Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in almost 40 years. Today, President Obama hosted the team at the White House.
He kicked off his remarks by noting the bruising set of playoff victories it took for the Bruins to win their championship:
Last year, this team endured a long season and even longer playoffs. They are the first team in NHL history to win three full seven-game series. They had some pretty long playoff beards to show it to show for it. And I appreciate them looking a little more clean cut as they come here today.
These Bruins finally brought the Stanley Cup back to Causeway Street for the first time since 1972, when Bobby Orr was leading the team.
It's been a remarkable decade of athletic success for the city of Boston, as the President made a point to note.
"The Bruins, the Sox, the Celtics, now the Patriots, the President said. "Enough already, Boston."
Matt ComptonJanuary 23, 2012
02:37 PM EDT
Yesterday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced that she would step down from her seat in Congress to focus on her recovery.
Both President Obama and Vice President Biden issued statements voicing their well wishes and celebrating her career of public service.
President Obama said:
Gabby Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be. She’s universally admired for qualities that transcend party or ideology – a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union. That’s why the people of Arizona chose Gabby – to speak and fight and stand up for them. That’s what brought her to a supermarket in Tucson last year – so she could carry their hopes and concerns to Washington. And we know it is with the best interests of her constituents in mind that Gabby has made the tough decision to step down from Congress.
Vice President Biden said:
I spoke with Gabby’s husband Mark today and told him that the most important thing is Gabby's recovery. We fully support their decision. I know that Gabby will continue to make significant contributions to her state and country, and I stand with her in whatever endeavor she decides to pursue. Jill and I wish Gabby and Mark all the best as they embark on the next phase of recovery.
"I am getting better every day. My spirit is high," Rep. Giffords said in her announcement. "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
Matt ComptonJanuary 23, 2012
10:59 AM EDT
In October, President Obama declared that, as a nation, we can’t wait for Congress to resolve their differences and start passing legislation that will jumpstart the economy. Since then, the President himself has taken almost 20 different actions to support the middle class and create jobs.
He's pushed new initiatives, launched new investments, and issued orders to make the government more efficient and effective.
We’ve put together a new video to give you a sense of exactly how much he’s gotten done—even in the face of Congressional gridlock and inaction.
Check out our We Can’t Wait page for more information on all these actions.
Kori SchulmanJanuary 23, 2012
03:00 AM EDT
Tomorrow, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address. He will lay out his vision for a nation where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everyone does their fair share, and where everyone is held accountable for their actions. Starting immediately after the speech, the White House will be using social media and other online resources to answer questions from the American public and respond to your ideas about rebuilding America.
The President is committed to creating a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. That’s why President Obama and more than twenty-five members of his administration will be responding to your questions about the speech all week and talking about the issues that matter most to you (check out the full schedule here).
And, in the first completely-virtual interview from the White House, President Obama will answer questions that have been submitted by Americans from across the country via YouTube. The virtual event with the President will happen through Google+ Hangouts, a live multi-person video chat.
On Monday, January 30, the President will join a special Google+ Hangout from the West Wing. He'll be answering several of the most popular questions that have been submitted through YouTube, and some of the people who submitted questions will even be invited to join the President in the Hangout and take part in the live conversation.
Do you have a question for President Obama? Here’s how you can participate:
- Starting today through January 28th, you can visit the White House YouTube channel to submit your questions and vote on your favorites.
- Tomorrow, watch the State of the Union live at 9:00 p.m. EST on YouTube.com/whitehouse or on WhiteHouse.gov/sotu
The Google+ Hangout with President Obama culminates a full week of online engagement with the White House. It also marks the first in a series of White House Hangouts that will cover a range of topics and issues. Follow the White House on Google+ for the latest on White House Hangouts.
Kori SchulmanJanuary 22, 2012
02:18 PM EDT
President Obama was in Disney World to announce steps his administration is taking to boost tourism and travel in the United States, and Americans from all over the country added their voice to the discussion on why this is such a great country to visit on Twitter, Facebook and WhiteHouse.gov. From the Lobster Capital to Rocket City, people around the country shared the must-see destinations in their hometown. Have a look at some of the responses below or on Storify, then tell us about your city or town.
Matt ComptonJanuary 21, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
President Obama tells the American people about a series of steps he's taken without the help of Congress to grow the economy and create jobs -- including a new strategy aimed at boosting tourism introduced this week. In next week's State of the Union Address, the President will outline his blueprint for creating an economy built to last.
Josh EarnestJanuary 20, 2012
02:58 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Disney World to announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. The fact is, each year, tens of millions of people from around the world visit the U.S. In 2010, the travel and tourism industry generated over $134 billion dollars for the American economy. It supported 7.5 million jobs in 2010. The President wants these numbers to grow.
He traveled down to the Magic Kingdom yesterday to deliver one message: America is open for business.
The President wants the United States to be the number one tourist destination in the world. It’s good for businesses and it’s good for the economy as a whole. More tourists means more money spent in our cities and towns across the nation. It means more people will be renting cars, dining out, checking into hotels and checking out the sights and sounds of America. That means more jobs.
The President will continue to do everything he can to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try. He wants to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. Yesterday’s announcement was an important step to put folks back to work, and he’ll keep at it and continue to do everything he can to strengthen the economy.
The President’s announcement will have an impact on communities all over the United States. Let’s take a look at the coverage from local media outlets across the country:
Orlando Sentinel – Obama at Disney: 'America is open for business'
President Barack Obama promised Florida's tourism industry Thursday that he intends to open the door wider to international tourists and was greeted with cheers in a state where increased foreign visitors are seen as one of the best hopes for future jobs.
Even Obama critic U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, welcomed the presidential directives, if only with a "what took him so long?" spin.
Arizona Republic – Obama touting tourism for jobs
President Barack Obama said Thursday that he wants to create more jobs by drawing more international tourists to the United States, a plan White House officials said would especially benefit states like Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon and other national parks.
Creating jobs has become a central part of Obama's re-election campaign. On Wednesday, Obama will visit the Valley as part of a five-state tour to build upon themes -- likely jobs and economic development -- that he will emphasize Tuesday in his annual address to Congress.
Colleen CurtisJanuary 20, 2012
11:45 AM EDT
Mark your calendars! Next Tuesday January 24, President Obama will present the annual State of the Union Address at 9 pm EST, and all week long, the White House wants to hear from concerned citizens on the topics that most matter to you.
Once again, we will be streaming an enhanced version of the speech that features graphics, data and stats that highlight the issues the President is discussing on Whitehouse.gov/sotu. We will also live stream that broadcast through the White House Live App on Facebook, YouTube and our new Google+ page.
Starting immediately after the speech and continuing through the rest of the week, senior White House officials will hear from you about the state of our union. President Obama is committed to creating a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration using social media and other online resources to engage citizens across America on your highest priorities.
Immediately following the speech, we’ll be streaming an online panel live from the White House. The panel of senior advisors -- Mark Zuckerman, White House Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council; Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy; Brian Deese, Deputy Director National Economic Council; Ben Rhodes, Deputy NSA for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting and Jen Palmieri, Deputy White House Communications Director – will be answering questions about the President’s address submitted by citizens via twitter (#WHChat & #SOTU), Google+, Facebook and the in-person audience of tweetup participants.
Administration officials will spend Wednesday taking questions on the State of the Union in a day-long Office Hours marathon, an online question and answer session through Twitter. Josh Earnest, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, will be available throughout the day, and Mark Zuckerman, White House Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council will be taking questions at 1 pm EST. Dan Pfeiffer, the White House Communications Director, will also participate.
Thursday’s Office Hours will feature community-focused discussions with policy advisors and experts and Friday will be directed towards specific issues.
Review the full schedule of events below to learn how you can participate. We hope you will join us at some point next week.
Megan SlackJanuary 20, 2012
10:59 AM EDT
On this day in 2009, Barack Obama was sworn into office as the 44th President of the United States. Watch him take the oath and deliver his inaugural address below, and read the full transcript here.
At 12:01 that day, the very first post on the White House blog went up. Read it here now: Change Has Come to WhiteHouse.gov.
Kori SchulmanJanuary 20, 2012
10:43 AM EDT
Starting today, we’re excited to announce that you can follow the White House on Google+. On day one, President Obama made clear that this Administration is committed to public engagement and participation. That’s why we launched the We the People petitioning tool and why you can find the White House on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other places around the web. These are just some of the ways that we aim to engage with Americans on the issues that matter the most -- and now, we're pleased to add Google+ to this list.
On the White House Google+ page, you’ll find news from the blog, behind the scenes photos and videos, plus chances to participate. We hope you’ll add your voice to the discussion and share the things you find interesting with people in your circles.
One feature we’re really excited about are Hangouts, a live multi-person video chat with up to ten participants. The President and First Lady often call the White House “The People’s House.” Well, this is another way we’re opening our doors (virtually) to citizens around the country. On our Google+ page, we’ll host regular “White House Hangouts” with administration officials on a range of issues and topics. Some Google+ users will be invited to join the Hangout with the White House and have a conversation with policy experts. But the best part is that even if you’re not “in” the Hangout, you can watch the whole thing live on WhiteHouse.gov, on our Google+ page or on the White House YouTube channel.
To kick things off, we want to hear from you about our new page. What else would you like to see from the White House on Google+? Have a great idea for a White House Hangout or thoughts on the types of updates that are most interesting? Let us know on our new Google+ page.
So, what are you waiting for? Add the White House to your circles. We’re looking forward to hanging out!
Matt ComptonJanuary 20, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President called for government reform through reorganization and a new Cabinet position, honored Martin Luther King, Jr., welcomed the Tuskegee airmen, the King of Jordan, and the 2011 World Series Champs, and traveled to the Magic Kingdom to unveil the latest “We Can’t Wait” action.
Erin LindsayJanuary 19, 2012
05:44 PM EDT
Back in November, for the latest installment of the White House’s Advise the Advisor series, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Nancy-Ann DeParle asked Americans for their ideas for executive actions or steps that President Obama could take, without waiting for Congress to act, to help out middle class families and small business and put Americans back to work.
Over 18,000 people sent in their ideas, both for actions that the Administration can take, as well as ideas for community actions that non-profits, state and local governments, companies and individuals can take to help grow the economy. For the past few months a team of folks at the White House have combed through the comments. However, we didn’t just read these submissions and file them away.
In fact, Nancy-Ann DeParle called Ira from Glastonbury, Connecticut to discuss his idea to encourage businesses to get involved in youth mentoring and internship programs. Here's a look at the call:
A lot of people like Ira wanted to see us do more to encourage businesses to hire and mentor youth, and this week, the President announced Summer Jobs+, a call to action for businesses, non-profits and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. Summer Jobs+ includes Federal Government and private sector commitments to create 180,000 employment opportunities, with the goal of 250,000 commitments by the start of the summer.
Matt ComptonJanuary 19, 2012
05:00 PM EDT
In the United States, tourism is big business. In fact, it's the number one service that we export. In 2010, we welcomed nearly 60 million international visitors to America, and they helped to boost our economy to the tune of $134 billion.
And President Obama thinks we should do even more to boost that trend, which is why he traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Speaking from Main Street USA, he announced:
[Today,] I directed my administration to send me a new national tourism strategy focused on creating jobs. And some of America’s most successful business leaders –- some who are here today –- have signed up to help. We’re going to see how we can make it easier for foreign tourists to find basic information about visiting America. And we’re going to see how we can attract more tourists to our national parks. We want people visiting not just Epcot Center, but the Everglades, too. The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It’s that simple.
The President said that his goal is to ensure that the United States is the top tourist destination in the world. He announced efforts to expand the Global Entry Program, which makes it easier for frequent visitors to the United States -- who've undergone a background check -- to travel in and out of our borders. He told the audience that he'd directed his administration to add additional nations to the list of those whose citizens are allowed to visit America without a tourist visa.
And in changing world where the middle class is booming in places like China, India, and Brazil, the President announced steps to make it easier for people from those countries to choose the United States as a place for their vacations:
[Today] I’m directing the State Department to accelerate our ability to process visas by 40 percent in China and in Brazil this year. We’re not talking about five years from now or 10 years from now -- this year.
These are all things the President is doing right now -- as part of the We Can't Wait campaign.
Do you think your community is a great place to visit? Tell us about it on Twitter using the hashtag #VisitUS.
Nancy-Ann DeParleJanuary 19, 2012
04:26 PM EDT
Like many Americans, Gail Freyer needs health insurance to help her manage her diabetes. For years, she has struggled to find an insurance plan that would accept her with her pre-existing condition – and with a premium she could afford. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Gail was able to enroll in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in Arizona. Now, Gail knows she’ll be able to access the care she needs to manage her diabetes and stay healthy.
This story could have ended very differently if Republicans in the House had their way. One year ago today, on January 19, 2011, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the health reform law, and take us back to the days when insurance companies had the power to decide what care residents of the United States could receive – allowing them to once again deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and place lifetime or low annual dollar limits on the amount of care people can get, even if they need it. What’s more, without the law, insurance companies could overcharge for insurance just to boost their profits. And if House Republicans had gotten their way:
• 2.5 million young adults wouldn’t have health insurance.
• 2.65 million seniors would have paid $1.5 billion more for prescription drugs
• 24.2 million seniors would pay for preventive services they are getting for free.
Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and it’s helping Gail and millions like her. Check out the short report we’ve done about some of the Americans who are being helped by the law and what would have happened if the law has been repealed here.Nancy-Ann DeParle is the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff.
A unique view of 2012