Megan SlackSeptember 29, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
In this week’s address, President Obama explains his administration’s steps to help the housing market, including giving responsible homeowners a chance to save thousands of dollars every year by refinancing their mortgages, but says we need Congress’s help to do more.
Matt ComptonSeptember 28, 2012
03:00 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in June 2012. Today’s release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 2.6 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
September 28, 2012
01:39 PM EDT
Ed. note: This post was originally published on Let's Move!.
Tomorrow, more than 170,000 people across the country are expected to celebrate National Public Lands Day – America’s largest, single-day, outdoor volunteer effort. More than 2,000 public land and water sites across the country will offer FREE admission to volunteers who give a few hours of their time to help improve and restore outdoor spaces.
National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity to get active while showing your appreciation for the public parks, trails, beaches, lakes, rivers and forests that belong to all of us as Americans. Last year, volunteers collectively planted more than 100,000 trees and plants and maintained or built 1,500 miles of trails – all in one day’s work! This year, the goal is to top those contributions and engage more kids and families.
With events taking place in every state, there are many different ways to get involved.
Adam GarberSeptember 28, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the First Lady spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dinner, We the People turned one-year old, and the President addressed the UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Erin LindsaySeptember 27, 2012
07:50 PM EDT
This week, President Obama spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting about his administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking. "Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time and the United States will continue to lead it," the President said.
We continued the conversation today by hosting a live video chat with administration officials, including Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls Tina Tchen and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power. Participating leaders from the NGO and faith community included:
- Malika Saada-Saar, Executive Director, Human Rights Project for Girls
- Natalie Grant, Christian music artist and, Founder, Abolition International
- Randy Newcomb, President and CEO, Humanity United
- Kaitlyn Ruhland, Student, International Justice Mission
- Kay Buck, CEO and Executive Director, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, moderated the Hangout and thousands of you joined the discussion online. During the event, the hashtag #WHHangout was even trending nationwide on Twitter.
If you missed the live event, you can watch the full video right here. And be sure to check out the President’s speech at CGI and learn more about the Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking at home and abroad.
September 27, 2012
05:46 PM EDT
On Wednesday evening at the Naval Observatory, Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted their fourth annual reception in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which began on September 15 and continues through October 15. In the past and upcoming weeks, communities across the country will celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
We’re proud to serve Vice President Biden and this Administration, which has continued to push to “widen the circle of opportunity for the Hispanic community and keep the American dream within reach for all who seek it,” as President Obama said in his proclamation this year.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a Hispanic Heritage Month reception with Dr. Jill Biden and high school senior Ashley Guzman, at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C., September 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Alan KruegerSeptember 27, 2012
11:57 AM EDT
More than the usual amount of economic statistics were released this morning. As a whole, today’s economic news shows that while we are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we are making progress. We lost more than 8 million jobs and GDP contracted by almost 5 percent as a result of the Great Recession. We have more work to do, but incorporating today’s preliminary benchmark revision to the employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics with their earlier data indicates that the economy has added nearly 5.1 million private sector jobs, on net, over the past 30 months. BLS announced that total employment likely grew by 386,000 more jobs than previously announced during the 12 months from March 2011 to March 2012, and by 453,000 more private sector jobs in that same time period. In the past decade, the absolute difference between the preliminary and final benchmark revision has averaged 37,000 jobs.
Valerie JarrettSeptember 26, 2012
04:20 PM EDT
This week, we took two major steps in empowering women and girls both here in the United States and abroad.
On Monday, we announced Equal Futures, a partnership between the U.S. and other nations to advance the rights and opportunities of women and girls.
At last year’s UN General Assembly, President Obama challenged member nations to “break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls.”
Founding members, including the United States and 12 other countries, each shared new national commitments to further women’s political and economic participation. For the United States, our Equal Futures commitments will:
- Expand opportunity for women and girls in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields
- Expand economic security for domestic violence victims
- Support women entrepreneurs
- Promote civic and public leadership for girls
In each of these areas, we are working to strengthen government policies and programs and partner with private and non-profit sectors to achieve our objectives. For more information on our commitments, read here.
The second major step to empower women and girls took place yesterday, when the President spoke on human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting.
Human trafficking is a fundamental human rights issue, and according to the UN, the overwhelming majority of victims are women and girls.
Erin LindsaySeptember 26, 2012
03:20 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting about his administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking and made it clear that the United States will continue to be a leader in this global movement to fight modern slavery.
The Obama Administration has developed and began executing a comprehensive strategy that includes expanding our interagency task force to include more federal partners, and devoting more resources to identifying and going after trafficking networks. Additionally, the U.S. has strengthened protections so foreign-born workers know their rights.
But with more than 20 million victims of human trafficking around the world there’s much more we have to do.
September 26, 2012
02:30 PM EDT
Yesterday, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor announced the Make it in America Challenge – a $40 million multi-agency competition that will help accelerate business investments in the U.S. This includes insourcing, where U.S.-based companies bring jobs back, or foreign investment, when foreign companies build factories here and hire American workers to run them.
The competition is being funded by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. It builds upon the administration’s efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs by partnering with state, regional, and local partners.
Beginning next year, three-year grants will be available to states, cities, nonprofits, colleges and economic development districts that develop plans to help attract companies that want to build in the U.S. but might need a few more resources.
Secretary Arne DuncanSeptember 26, 2012
11:57 AM EDT
For the third year in a row, our team at the U.S. Department of Education has gone on a back-to-school bus tour. This year was more ambitious than ever. Senior leaders traveled from coast-to-coast and have participated in almost 100 events over the past 10 days.
It started on Sept. 12 with a town hall meeting about the potential of technology to transform learning in Redwood City, Calif., and ended with a rally at the Department of Education headquarters in Washington, DC. Across the country, I’ve seen examples of communities in Topeka, Kansas, and McDowell County, West Virginia, coming together to turn around struggling schools. I met with Hispanic students in Reno, Nevada, to discuss how a college degree will help ensure their economic prosperity. And I visited a school in Denver that takes nutrition and student health seriously. They even got me to dance.
Matt ComptonSeptember 25, 2012
01:40 PM EDT
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama remembered Ambassador Chris Stevens and delivered a defense of both free speech and the spirit of tolerance.
The President described Stevens -- who was slain earlier this month in an attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya -- as a man who "embodied the best of America."
"Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents," the President said. "He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles -- a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity."
Colleen CurtisSeptember 25, 2012
09:53 AM EDT
President Obama will address the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York this morning at 10:10 am EDT. You can watch the President's remarks live on whitehouse.gov/live.
Later Tuesday, at 12:10 pm EDT, whitehouse.gov will also stream the President's address at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, also in New York, NY.
Erin LindsaySeptember 24, 2012
03:40 PM EDT
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.
A year ago, the White House launched We the People, a new platform that allows anyone to create or sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. In just one year's time, the platform has generated 3.4 million signatures by 2.8 million users. And what's even more exciting is that participation is growing across the board — with more users and signatures every month.
We really couldn't anticipate just how popular We the People would be, especially at the beginning. In the first week, nearly 8,000 petitions had been created, racking up more than 600,000 signatures by 375,000 users. Also, thirty petitions reached our original threshold of 5,000 signatures. This was a good problem to have, but we knew that this many petitions would challenge our ability to offer timely and meaningful responses to petitions in the long term. So we raised signature threshold to receive a response to 25,000.
From the beginning we’ve said that if a petition gathers enough online signatures, policy officials here at the White House and across the Administration will review it and issue an official response. In this first year we’ve had 116 petitions cross the threshold and 103 have already received a response. And, despite the fact that only a small percentage of the over 50,000 petitions have crossed the signature threshold, you’d probably be surprised to hear that 1.1 million people or 39% of users have received a response.
Its also worth noting that starting on May 15, 2012 we began surveying signers who received a response. Since then, we've found that 78% of survey responders said that even if they don’t agree with the Administration’s response, it was still helpful to hear our position on the issue, 54% of responders learned something new, and a full 88% would consider creating or signing another petition on We the People.
September 24, 2012
12:30 PM EDT
The White House Photo Office just released the latest set of behind the scenes photos, including images from the first-ever Kids' State Dinner, President Obama visiting Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas to thank the troops, and the First Lady speaking with community leaders at Oak Creek, Wisconsin following a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple. Check out a few of the images below, then head over to Flickr to see all 35 images in the gallery.
Megan SlackSeptember 22, 2012
10:00 AM EDT
Ed. Note: The speech has now concluded, but you can watch a video of the remarks below.
Tonight, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards Dinner.
The Phoenix Dinner is the closing event for the CBC Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, and will honor four individuals for their contributions in addressing challenges facing the African-American community.
To watch the speech live, tune in tonight, September 22, 2012. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time and the First Lady is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The dinner and speech will be livestreamed here.
Matt ComptonSeptember 22, 2012
05:00 AM EDT
September 21, 2012
05:00 PM EDT
Here's a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Team USA Behind the Scenes: Last week, the President and the First Lady welcomed the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. On Tuesday, we released a new video that lets you go behind the scenes and hear from the athletes as they describe their visit. Check it out here.
We also released a video of Paralympian Champion Lt. Brad Snyder sharing his story with First Lady Michelle Obama. "Overcoming adversity is a decision that everyone makes," Brad said, "And you can let that beat you or you can make the decision to move forward." Watch the video here.
Celebrating the 2011 WNBA Champions: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed the Minnesota Lynx to the White House, congratulating them on their successful season and thanking them for continuing to set an important example for young women across the country.
As the husband of a tall, good-looking woman and as the father of two tall, fabulous girls, it is just wonderful to have these young ladies as role models. There’s something about women’s athletics -- we know for a fact that when girls are involved in athletics, they do better across the board. They’re more confident. They do better in school.
Colleen CurtisSeptember 21, 2012
04:00 PM EDT
Early Wednesday morning, space shuttle Endeavour took its final flight atop a jumbo jet at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. For three days, the shuttle rode piggyback to Los Angeles, California where it will begin its next mission as an educational display at the California Science Center.
Earlier this year, two other retired shuttles dazzled crowds below as they made their way from Florida to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. DC residents experienced a special treat as Space Shuttle Discovery did a lap across the nation’s capital.
September 21, 2012
03:00 PM EDT
Last week, as President and Mrs. Obama welcomed the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams to the White House, we were all reminded of the incredible talents and amazing journeys that these athletes shared with us, and how our summers were even more thrilling as we watched them on the world stage. It has long been a tradition for the President and First Lady to invite the Olympic teams to the White House, and as President and Mrs. Obama exclaimed last week, they, too, were fans just like the rest of us. The holdings of the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives offer a special look at Olympic memories of years past, and I hope you enjoy reliving not only the recent excitement of the London games, but also recall some wonderful memories from previous years.
This summer’s Olympics made household names out of a whole new group of dynamic athletes. Among them, of course, is the talented women’s gymnastics team. However, before the “Fab Five,” another U.S. Olympic gymnastics team captured the team gold medal, the hearts of the American public, and the attention of the First Family. President William J. Clinton, First Lady Hillary, and daughter Chelsea met with six members of the “Magnificent Seven” at the White House following the 1996 games. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum still holds pieces of Olympic history, including three Olympic torches—two from the 1996 games and one from the 1996 Paralympics, both held in Atlanta.
A unique view of 2012