The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Joining Forces with NASCAR to Say Thanks to our Troops and their Families

    Watch Joining Forces with NASCAR, here

    Joining Forces was launched earlier this year with one simple goal: Letting the men and women who serve our country – and their families -- know, as First Lady Michelle Obama says, “People care about you, they care about what you have done.”

    The response to this initiative has been tremendous, with individuals and organizations from across the country joining in to say “thank you” – with commitments around hiring veterans, with commitments to increase access to wellness opportunities and with invitations for our active and retired servicemen and women – and their families – to participate in special events.

    Recently, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden joined some of those families at a NASCAR race in Miami, Florida. It was a once in a lifetime experience for everyone who was there, but as Dr. Biden points out, making a difference isn’t that difficult, especially around the holidays. “Reach out to a military family and say, come on over and have dinner with us. This is the perfect time to extend an act of kindness.”


  • Dr. Biden’s Children’s Holiday Party Focuses on Support for Military Families

    Dr. Jill Biden greets a student arriving at the Vice President’s Residence

    Dr. Jill Biden greets a student arriving at the Vice President’s Residence for a holiday party December 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    The mood was merry when Dr. Jill Biden hosted a fourth-grade class from White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, Virginia at the Vice President’s Residence on Monday, Dec. 12. The festive event focused on helping children understand the challenges faced by military families during the holiday season.

    Dr. Biden talked to students about the importance of supporting classmates whose parents are serving in the military, particularly around the holidays. After describing her own experience as a military mom when her son, Army Major Beau Biden of the Delaware National Guard, was deployed in Iraq for a year, Dr. Biden introduced Army Colonel Rebecca Porter, who talked about the impact deployment has on military families.

    Colonel Rebecca Porter talks to students at Dr Jill Biden's Holiday Party

    Colonel Rebecca Porter talks to students about what it’s like to have a family member deployed and about what students can do to support military families December 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    The students then moved to the library where they heard from Major James Blain – the father of classmate Jimmy Blain – who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Working with a program called United Through Reading, Major Blain read Mickey’s Christmas Carol to the class, via a pre-recorded DVD. Major Blain’s wife, Tina, brought their other three children – Josephine, Anna Mae and Matthew – to the event. Mrs Blaine said the recordings created through United Through Reading were an important way for families to stay in touch during deployments. When Major Blain appeared on screen, Matthew immediately called out, “Daddy! Daddy!”

    Students listen to Major James Blain read Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

    Students listen to Major James Blain – the father of Jimmy Blain – read Mickey’s Christmas Carol. December 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    As part of its support for First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative, United Through Reading last week announced a pledge to double its commitment to U.S. Army and National Guard families in the next two years.

    After the story, students made cards for military service members and enjoyed a surprise visit from Santa.

    Students Participate in the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program

    Through the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program, students write cards for military service members December 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Group Photo at Dr Biden's Holiday Party for White Oaks Elementary School

    Students from White Oaks Elementary School and Major Blain’s family take a picture with Santa, Dr. Jill Biden, Mrs. Patty Shinseki, Colonel Rebecca Porter and United Through Reading. December 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


  • A White House Hanukkah Celebration

    20111209 Hanukkah at the WH

    President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, delivers remarks at a Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Officially, Hanukkah doesn't begin for another 11 days -- but last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama decided to kick things off a little early with a celebration of the holiday at the White House.

    They were joined by Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in attendance, along with Israel's Ambassardor to the United States Michael Oren, the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir, and a large group of faith and community leaders.

    Hanukkah, the President said, is "an opportunity to recognize the miracles in our own lives:"

    Let’s honor the sacrifices our ancestors made so that we might be here today. Let’s think about those who are spending this holiday far away from home -– including members of our military who guard our freedom around the world. Let’s extend a hand to those who are in need, and allow the value of tikkun olam to guide our work this holiday season.

    This is also a time to be grateful for our friendships, both with each other and between our nations. And that includes, of course, our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel.

    Watch.


  • Dr. Biden Meets with ONE Mom Bloggers

    On Wednesday, October 25th, Mom Bloggers from the ONE campaign came to the White House to meet with Dr. Jill Biden, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Gayle Smith, Special Assistant and Senior Director for Development and Democracy in the National Security Staff. 

    Bonded by their experiences from their recent trips to Africa, the participants spoke about the ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa.  Dr. Biden, who had recently travelled to Kenya with Administrator Shah and Smith, listened to the Mom Bloggers as they described their encounters with women and children in the troubled region.  Dr. Shah highlighted specific issues and described what USAID has done to address some of these concerns.  Smith urged the Mom Bloggers to continue to bring attention to the issue by talking about their experiences and helping Americans recognize that there are more commonalities than differences between us and those suffering in the Horn.  For more information on the Crisis in the Horn of Africa, visit the USAID website to learn about the FWD Campaign

    Dr. Biden, Dr. Shah and Gayle Smith meet with Mom Bloggers in the Roosevelt Room, Oct. 25, 2011.  (Photo by Ashita Ganguly)


  • Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes

    20111115 Biden Horse Soldier Dedication

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the unveiling of the Horse Soldier Statue at Winter Garden, in New York City, New York, November 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Friday was a special day, as we paid tribute to our Nation’s Veterans. My husband Joe and I attended a Veterans Day parade in Media, Pennsylvania. That evening in New York, I was honored to attend the dedication of a statue created to commemorate the United States military’s response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The 16-foot tall bronze statue entitled De Oppresso Liber (“to liberate the oppressed”) – the motto of the U.S. Army Special Forces – depicts a soldier on horseback in honor of the first Special Forces unit that rode into combat in the mountains of Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. Upon completion of the 9/11 Memorial, the statue will be permanently located at the World Trade Center site.

    Our veterans and their families show us every day just what words like “strength” and “courage” mean.  And these special operators are no exception. Joe and I met with several of them before the dedication ceremony. I was in awe of the group – many of whom have continued to serve.  And as we chatted with them, I couldn’t help but think of their families too – and the fear their parents, spouses, and children must have felt watching them leave without knowing where they were going or when they would come home. I met one young woman in her early twenties who remembers her father leaving for Afghanistan for the first time in 2001. Since then, she has watched him leave for deployment countless times, and she has spent nearly half her life worrying about him. But like all military families I have met, she is fiercely proud of his service.  Her father is her hero.   

    We must never forget the sacrifices of our troops and their families – at home and abroad. This statue serves as a reminder of the very first brave soldiers who rushed into harm’s way in response to the attacks on 9/11 – and of their families, to whom Afghanistan was a dangerous unknown. On Veterans Day and every day, it is our duty to show appreciation for the service of our military community and to remember that each of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of a military family.

    Dr. Jill Biden is the Second Lady of the United States.


  • Dr. Jill Biden Addresses the 2011 PFLAG National Convention

    Earlier today, Dr. Jill Biden delivered a passionate and powerful address at the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 National Convention of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). 

    She began her remarks with an inspiring story:

    I recently read an open letter written from a PFLAG father to America’s youth.  He wrote, “My wife and I have two sons. We think that they are the best kids in the whole world. They’re very different, with very diverse personalities, talents, and interests. One of the other things that makes them different is that one is straight and one is gay. But the important thing is this: we love them equally.”

    At its core – it’s such a simple message – “we love our sons” – both of them. But that acceptance and support can make all the difference.

    And as you all know well – acceptance by those you love is the greatest acceptance of all. 


  • At the World Series with Joining Forces

    Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to St. Louis for Game One of the 2011 World Series to honor the troops, veterans and their families as part of their Joining Forces initiative geared towards connecting local communities in support of military families.

    Check out the video from their trip here:

    Before the first pitch, the First Lady also took your questions from Twitter and Facebook on how you can say thanks and provide a helping hand for the families of service members. There are lots of ways to get involved, from sending a message of gratitude to exploring volunteer opportunities near you. Find out how you can support a military family in your community at JoiningForces.gov.

    The First Lady makes her first official tweet at Game 1 of the World Series

    First Lady Michelle Obama makes her first official tweet at Game 1 of the World Series to recognize Major League Baseball’s (MLB) outstanding support of America's veterans and military families as part of their Joining Forces at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


  • At the World Series with Joining Forces

    Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to St. Louis for Game One of the 2011 World Series to honor the troops, veterans and their families as part of their Joining Forces initiative geared towards connecting local communities in support of military families.

    Check out the video from their trip here:

    Before the first pitch, the First Lady also took your questions from Twitter and Facebook on how you can say thanks and provide a helping hand for the families of service members. There are lots of ways to get involved, from sending a message of gratitude to exploring volunteer opportunities near you. Find out how you can support a military family in your community at JoiningForces.gov.

    The First Lady makes her first official tweet at Game 1 of the World Series

    First Lady Michelle Obama makes her first official tweet at Game 1 of the World Series to recognize Major League Baseball’s (MLB) outstanding support of America's veterans and military families as part of their Joining Forces at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


  • Weekly Wrap Up: Bringing Home the Troops

    Watch West Wing Week here.

    What happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:

    Home for the Holidays Friday afternoon the President announced that the remaining  troops in Iraq will be officially coming back home, thus ending the war in Iraq. “Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”

    Road Trip President Obama embarked on a three day bus tour to spread the word about the American Jobs Act. Starting the journey in Asheville, NC and ending in North Chesterfield, VA, he also made stops in Millers Creek, NC, Jamestown, NC, Emporia, VA and Hampton, VA.The President visited schools, an airport, a military base, and a fire station along the way all of which will benefit from the American Jobs Act. On the last day of the tour, the First Lady joined the President at Joint Base Langley-Eustis announcing a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses. The jobs bill would put Americans back to work, upgrade our country’s infrastructure, and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job. 

    Citizens Award Tuesday in the East Room, the President honored 13 Americans with the Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. The award is given to Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." The recipients chosen to receive this year’s medal were nominated by the public, and then carefully selected by the White House. Click here to learn more about the recipients and to watch a video showing their reactions to the news that they'd been chosen.

    “We Will Overcome” Tens of thousands came to the National Mall Sunday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication. President Obama, joined by the First Family, toured the memorial and then spoke at the dedication ceremony in honor of Dr. King's work. During his speech, President Obama reminded us that the progress towards Dr. King's vision has not come easily and there is still more to do to expand opportunity and make our nation more just:“We can’t be discouraged by what is.  We’ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.”

    MLB support U.S. Veterans As a part of their Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, for Game One of the World Series to meet with military families and to recognize Major League Baseball’s support of those who serve and their families. Earlier that day, the First Lady announced at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses.

    Cutting Waste As a part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, the White House recently updated the Excess Property map that uses new data to pinpoint the location and status of federal properties that agencies have targeted for closure and consolidation. Ending this waste and improving the management of the government’s real estate will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.


  • Joining Forces at the World Series to Support Our Military Families

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden watch Game one of the 2011 World Series

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden watch Game one of the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals with Marine Lance Cpl. James Sperry and his daughter Hannah, 5, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, Oct. 19, 2011.(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    This afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden headed to St. Louis, Missouri for Game One of the World Series to meet with military families and recognize Major League Baseball’s (MLB) support of those who serve and their families.

    During the game, a new Joining Forces and MLB Public Service Announcement will premiere featuring New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Johnny Damon, encouraging Americans to support Joining Forces and MLB’s Welcome Back Veterans program to stand with veterans, the troops and their families. Watch a sneak peek here

    Download Video: mp4 (31.7MB)