Read all posts from January 2014

  • President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+

    President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ Hangouts to discuss the issues and policies that he laid out in the State of the Union address, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This afternoon, President Obama traveled (virtually) around the country via Google+ Hangout to answer questions about his State of the Union Address from everyday Americans. Starting on the West Coast and heading East, the President spoke to Sheila in San Francisco about immigration reform; Darnell, a fry cook at a fast-food company in Milwaukee, about raising the minimum wage; and Rob in Portland who simply asked, “how are you?

    Watch the full video of the Hangout below, or over on YouTube. And be sure to follow the White House on Google+ for more opportunities to engage with the President and his administration.

  • This anniversary episode, hosted by the President, coincides with this year's State of the Union Address. We'll take you behind the scenes and on the road to speak directly with Americans like you about your lives and your families, and how together we can make sure that every American who works and studies hard has a real chance to get ahead.

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's Fast Lane blog. See the original post here.

    In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama said that, "The best measure of opportunity is access to a good job," and at the Department of Transportation, we couldn't agree more strongly.

    That's why we work around the clock and through the calendar to ensure that American transportation connects people and communities more safely, reliably, and conveniently every day. Because we know that every minute you're stuck in highway traffic is a minute you can't be with your family after work, and every bus that is out of service for maintenance on your transit route is a challenge to your ability to get to work on time.

  • 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 October 2013. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in December 2013 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to over 3.44 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • Update: The live Hangout has concluded. You can watch the full video below, or right here.

    President Obama's going on a road trip today, and we want you come along for the ride.

    After the President delivered his State of the Union Address, he traveled the country to talk about how we're going to ensure opportunity for all. And over the past week, people from all over have submitted their video questions about the address.

    Today, January 31, he'll meet with some of those folks as part of a virtual road trip on Google+. The road trip will begin on the West Coast, then the President will hop on to a Hangout in the Midwest, and end back East.

    It all happens today at 2 p.m. ET -- don't miss it. Watch the Hangout Road Trip live on WhiteHouse.gov, the White House Google+ page, and at YouTube.com/WhiteHouse

  • Today, the White House released a video message from President Obama welcoming in the Lunar New Year.

    Echoing the President’s message, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs send our abundant best wishes to all those celebrating the Lunar New Year.

    2014 is the Year of the Horse.  The horse is a great and strong symbol. Many associate this symbol with “swift success” for all facets of one’s life.   We wish that everyone fulfills his or her potential and achieves success in 2014.  In his State of the Union address, the President declared 2014 to be a year of action so it seems only fitting that it is also the Year of the Horse. 

  • President Barack Obama tours General Electric's Waukesha Gas Engines Facility in Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 30, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tours General Electric's Waukesha Gas Engines Facility in Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 30, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Following his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama is traveling around the country to talk more about the importance of opportunity for all.

    Earlier today, President Obama visited a General Electric gas engines facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin and McGavock High School in Nashville. At both stops, he detailed the four parts of the opportunity agenda he put forward in Tuesday’s address: 1) create more new jobs; 2) train Americans with the skills to fill those jobs; 3) guarantee every child access to a world-class education; and 4) make sure hard work pays off.

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Labor's (Work in Progress) blog. See the original post here.

    President Obama demonstrated his commitment to equal pay with the first bill he signed as president: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Jan. 29, 2009. In his State of the Union address five years later, President Obama again made a forceful argument for equal pay.

    “Today, women make up about half our workforce,” he said. “But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. … It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.”

  • Economic growth was solid in the fourth quarter, a testament to the resilience of American businesses and families. The private sector’s strong performance in the fourth quarter caps off its fastest year of growth since 2003. And over the four quarters of 2013, real GDP grew 2.7 percent, its strongest rate in three years. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate is still unacceptably high, and too many Americans are still looking for a job and fighting to make ends meet. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama outlined his plans to build on the progress made to date and ensure 2014 is a year of action, with steps to increase growth, create new jobs, and expand economic opportunity.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

    1. Real gross domestic product rose at a solid 3.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the 11th consecutive quarter of growth. Looking at the various components of GDP, growth in consumer spending picked up from the previous quarter, as did exports, business investment was in line with its recent performance, but Federal spending fell sharply, and housing posted its first quarterly decline since 2010. In the last two quarters economic growth accelerated to a 3.7 percent annual rate and over the four quarters of 2013, real GDP grew 2.7 percent, up from 2.0 percent in 2012. (Note that economists generally prefer to measure growth on a Q4/Q4 basis because that reflects what happened to the economy just in 2013, the alternative annual measure of growth also places considerable weight on what happened to the economy in 2012 and thus does not provide as meaningful a measure.)

     

     

  • On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address to the nation and laid out his agenda for the coming year -- and the White House Photo Office followed him throughout the day.

    They've put together a memorable set of State of the Union images -- including behind-the-scenes moments from before and after the speech, President Obama greeting Members of Congress, and audience reactions from during the speech. Check out the gallery below, and visit our State of the Union page for more State of the Union related videos and content.

    • SOTU1 En Route to Capitol

      President Obama’s motorcade travels to the U.S. Capitol for the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU2 President Obama Reviews his Speech

      President Obama reviews his State of the Union address one last time at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU3 Waiting with Sergeants at Arms

      President Obama waits before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU4 VP Biden and Senate Majority Leader Reid

      Vice President Biden and Senator Reid enter the House Chamber for the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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    • SOTU5 President Obama and Speaker Boehner

      President Obama shakes hands with House Speaker Boehner before he delivers the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU6 President Obama in the House Chamber

      President Obama acknowledges the applause before he delivers the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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    • SOTU7 President Obama State of the Union Address

      President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU8 President Obama State of the Union Address

      President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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    • SOTU9 President Obama State of the Union Address

      President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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    • SOTU10 President Obama Acknowledges Army Ranger Cory Remsburg

      President Obama acknowledges Army Ranger Cory Remsburg during the State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU11 Army Ranger Cory Remsburg

      The First Lady and the First Lady’s other guests applaud Army Ranger Cory Remsburg. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU12 Cabinet Members Applaud

      Cabinet members applaud President Obama at the State of the Union address in the House Chamber. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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    • SOTU13 Sen. Debbie Stabenow

      Sen. Stabenow, Attorney General Holder, Defense Sec. Hagel, and Treasury Sec. Lew greet President Obama. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU14 President Obama Signs Copies of his Speech

      President Obama signs copies of his speech for Members of Congress as he departs the House Chamber. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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    • SOTU15 President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

      President Obama kisses the First Lady following his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • SOTU16 President Obama Hallway Outside the House Chamber

      President Obama signs a copy of his speech for Rep. Wilson in a hallway outside the House Chamber (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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  • Ed. note: This post is about 2014's Big Block of Cheese Day. Click here for information about 2015's Big Block of Cheese Day.

    This event has concluded. See all the responses from administration officials who participated in Big Block of Cheese Day.

    President Obama has always been dedicated to the idea that the White House is truly "The People's House" and has worked to make 1600 Pennsylvania and his administration open and accessible.

    This isn't a new idea, the same can be said of President Andrew Jackson. On February 22, 1837, President Jackson hosted an open house featuring a 1,400-pound block of cheese that sat in the main foyer of the White House. This original "Big Block of Cheese Day" opened the doors of the White House to thousands of citizens to interact with cabinet members and White House staff – and carve off a slice of the four foot by two foot thick slab of cheddar. 

    On Wednesday, January 29th, with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing), the Obama Administration is hosting the first-ever virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day," during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and via Google+ Hangout.

    So be sure to visit WH.gov/SOTU to watch the State of the Union Address live on January 28, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET and stay tuned for a complete schedule of engagement events for virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day."

  • President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Tonight, President Obama delivered the 2014 State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation.

    If you missed it, be sure to watch the enhanced broadcast of his address, featuring charts, graphs, and images that help explain the policies and issues he discussed. You can also read his full remarks here.

    Have questions about the speech? Tomorrow, the Obama Administration is hosting its first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter Facebook,  Tumblr,  Instagram and via Google+ Hangout. Learn more and find out how to participate here.

  • Today, the White House launched a new bilingual Facebook page to highlight the Administration's efforts to ensure that the ladder of opportunity remains strong for Latinos and all Americans.

    In the lead up to the State of the Union Address, the White House is continuing its commitment to connecting with the American public through social media interaction with senior Administration officials on important topics that are critical to our economic prosperity. We encourage the public to participate in the discussion by using the hashtag #SOTU. You can also follow along on the White House blog when White House officials take over the White House Instagram account to give you a behind-the-scenes view of preparations for the State of the Union. Tune in on Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET to hear more about the President's vision for 2014, and you can watch the speech with live Spanish captioning here.

    President Obama and his Administration are breaking new ground on connecting with the Latino community every day by creating meaningful engagement through many platforms:

    • The official Spanish-language website at whitehouse.gov/espanol and Hispanic sections at whitehouse.gov/Hispanic and immigration section at whitehouse.gov/immigration
    • Bilingual Twitter account @LaCasaBlanca and bilingual updates from Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz @Cecilia44 and Director of Hispanic Media Katherine Vargas @Vargas44
    • Bi-weekly Latino newsletter by the White House Office of Public Engagement on key events and policies of importance for the Latino community. To subscribe to the Latino newsletter, you can sign up here.
    • Weekly Spanish-language video message called “Mensaje de la Casa Blanca” (White House Video Message) echoing the themes from the President's Weekly Address featuring senior level Administration officials.

    Our great nation was built on and continues to thrive on its diversity and opportunity. Latinos will account for 60 percent of our population growth in the coming decades, and in turn will be an increasingly larger share of the workforce. There is no doubt that the future of the United States is inextricably linked to the future of the Hispanic community. That's something President Obama understands, and why he has made it a priority that his Administration is not only reflected in America's great diversity, but that we're being open and responsive to the needs of all Americans.

    Thank you for your interest and participation.

  • After months of meetings, piles of memos and dozens of drafts, it’s gameday — and I'm taking over the White House Instagram to give you a look inside the West Wing as the President gets ready for his 5th State of the Union. Thanks for following, and be sure to watch the speech tonight at 9pm ET on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.

  • In just about 24 hours, the President will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address. Today, I took over the White House Instagram to take you behind the scenes (and the podium). Thanks for following along, and be sure to watch the speech live tomorrow at 9pm ET on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.

  • President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    For the 2014 State of the Union, the White House is rolling out a series of new online features designed to improve accessibility and interactivity. We're making an effort to give you a look inside the State of the Union process – however you want to engage.

    Last week, we launched WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU, a new, fully "responsive" page that provides desktop, tablet, and mobile visitors an identical experience, dynamically optimized for their specific device. Users can RSVP for the speech and receive dedicated updates, dig deeper and learn more with exclusive content like behind-the-scenes access on the speech-writing process, a series of "Day in the Life" Instagram "take-overs" from senior administration officials, and more. And we've made it easier than ever to share this content with your social networks – particularly during our exclusive enhanced live broadcast – to help you spread the word.

    An "Enhanced" Speech with Live Sharing
    Since 2011, we've streamed "enhanced" versions of President Obama's State of the Union on WhiteHouse.gov with official charts, data, and other graphics to illustrate the facts that explain why the President has taken specific positions. This year we've added a new live social media feature, so you'll be able to share these graphics and other dynamic content via Twitter in real time during the speech. Check it out – this will be your best option for where to watch the speech.

    A "Two Screen" Experience
    Watching on TV? No problem. You can still get an exclusive enhanced experience too. Check out WH.gov/SOTU with your tablet or smartphone, and click the "watching on TV?" tab to minimize the live stream, and optimize your view of the enhanced slides, live share functionality, and all the other exclusive White House content

    Responsive Design
    The 2014 State of the Union Address will mark the first time that a major event will be published in a responsive format on the White House website. The White House has developed responsive site features in the past, but this is our biggest undertaking to date. And in the coming months, we'll be extending this functionality across WhiteHouse.gov, with the goal of making the entire site fully responsive.

    Other Ways to Watch
    In addition to the live enhanced version of the speech on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU, you can also tune in live on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and through our mobile app.

    Keeping The Conversation Going
    It doesn't end just because the speech is over. Following the speech, the page will not only have the full, enhanced video of the speech, but all of the additional White House content published before and during the speech, optimized for sharing with your social networks. Then on Wednesday, January 29th, with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing), the Obama Administration is hosting the first-ever virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day," during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long open house to answer questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and via Google+ Hangout. And on Friday, you can join the President on a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ Hangouts. Want to join in? Learn more about how you can ask questions and tune in.

  • For nearly three decades, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the State of the Union Address have been invited to join the First Lady in her viewing box. Learn more about the remarkable individuals who will join First Lady Michelle Obama for the 2014 State of the Union Address:

  • U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan

    President Barack Obama meets with Amb. Donald Booth, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and Amb. Susan D. Page. Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan, in the Oval Office, January 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On Friday, I joined Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Amb. Donald Booth, and U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page in their meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office. It was a chance for him to thank them for their extraordinary service and many contributions as the United States continues to devote every effort to helping achieve lasting peace in South Sudan. It was also a chance to discuss next steps in resolving the crisis. The United States strongly supports full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed this week in Addis Ababa, the immediate release of the eleven detainees, and the establishment of a political process that leads to a durable solution.

    President Obama thanked Special Envoy Booth for his energetic support to the mediation led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.   The President also conveyed his gratitude to Ambassador Page for her leadership and  the invaluable work of US Embassy Juba.  The President underscored as well our strong support for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the importance of ensuring that it can carry out its mandate to protect civilians and support efforts to ensure accountability for atrocities and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout South Sudan.

    The United States remains deeply committed to the people of South Sudan and fully supportive of their aspirations for a more peaceful and prosperous future for their young country. 

    Read the President’s statement on South Sudan here.

  •  

    On Tuesday, January 28th at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union Address to the nation. Once again, we will live stream an enhanced version of the speech featuring graphics, data and stats that highlight the issues the President will lay out for the upcoming year. You can also watch that broadcast on FacebookYouTube and our Google+ page. But the speech is just the beginning…

    Immediately following the address, we’ll stream a live “Open for Questions” event from the White House on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU. You'll have the chance to ask your questions and hear from a panel of senior White House advisors. You can post questions now, and during the speech on Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook using the hashtag #SOTUChat. We'll also answer questions from an in-person audience of White House Social participants.

    Here's the full line up:

    • Josh Earnest, Principal Deputy Press Secretary (@JEarnest44)
    • Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
    • Betsey Stevenson, member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors (@CEABetsey)
    • Dan Utech, Director for Energy and Climate Change (@Utech44)
    • Christen Young, Domestic Policy Council
    • Marlon Marshall, Principal Deputy Director of Public Engagement

    We hope you can join us!

  • On Tuesday, January 28th at 9pm ET, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address. Leading up to the speech, White House officials -- including the President's speech writer and senior advisors -- took over the White House Instagram to give you a behind the scenes look at the process.

    See SOTU through their eyes below (or over on Storify), then be sure to watch the speech at WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.

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