The White House Blog: The First Lady
- Posted byon February 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM EDT
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama surprised White House visitors during a tour. Watch a video of the unexpected meet and greet here, and check out the images below that capture the some of the visitors’ reactions.
- Posted byon February 16, 2012 at 7:35 PM EDT
This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama surprised a group of visitors during a public White House tour. People from all over the country—families, students in town as part of the Junior Statesmen of America program, a group of nurses who work with veterans, and many others—entered the Blue Room expecting a glimpse of its artwork and furniture, only to be greeted by a smiling First Lady and Bo, the Obama family pup.
Reactions ranged from shock, to excitement, to just plain overwhelmed. Watch a video of the whole thing below.
- Posted byon February 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM EDT
Earlier today, I had the great privilege of joining the First Lady, Dr. Biden, members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs and state legislators at the Pentagon for a major announcement impacting our nation’s military spouses.
In their travels to military bases across America and throughout the world over the last three years, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have heard stories from countless military family members and spouses. One of the top issues they hear about everywhere they go deals with the professional licensing requirements that affect how military spouses can move forward in their careers.
These spouses are among the more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in one of 50 professions that require a state license or credential – teachers, nurses, childcare providers, dental hygienists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists and many other professionals.
Here’s why this matters: military families are asked to move again and again as their husband or wife serves our country. In fact, military spouses move at a rate that is 10 times greater than the civilian population.
Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards – a process that can sometimes take months to resolve. In so many cases, these are qualified professionals who simply can’t work in their field because they’re waiting on paperwork.
- Posted byon February 13, 2012 at 6:32 PM EDT
The 2011 honorees of the National Medals of Arts and Humanities were at the White House today for an event that President Obama said he and First Lady Michelle Obama look forward to every single year. "It's a moment when America has a chance to pay tribute to extraordinary men and women who have excelled in the arts and the humanities, and who, along the way, have left an indelible mark on American culture," the President said before the ceremony in the East Room.
Today's honorees represented the full spectrum of the arts and humanities, and included actors, poets, authors, singers, philosophers, sculptors, curators, musicians, historians and even an economist. President Obama praised the group for their contributions to the arts, and to American society:
You create new possibilities for all of us. And that's a special trait. And it assigns you a special task. Because in moments of calm, as in moments of crisis; in times of triumph, as in times of tragedy: you help guide our growth as a people. The true power of the arts and the humanities is that you speak to everyone. There is not one of us here who hasn’t had their beliefs challenged by a writer’s eloquence; or their knowledge deepened by a historian’s insights; or their sagging spirits lifted by a singer’s voice. Those are some of the most endearing and memorable moments in our lives.
Equal to the impact you have on each of us every day as individuals is the impact you have on us as a society. And we are told we're divided as a people, and then suddenly the arts have this power to bring us together and speak to our common condition.
- Posted byon February 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM EDT
I knew how serious this problem is. Nearly one in three of our children are overweight or obese, at risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer that cost our economy billions of dollars each year to treat.
I also knew the conventional wisdom on this issue. There's the assumption that kids don't like healthy food, so why try to feed it to them? There's the belief that healthy food doesn't sell as well, so companies will never change the products they offer. And there's the sense that this problem is so big and entrenched that no matter what we do, we'll never be able to solve it.
But over the past two years, we have seen a new conversation in this country about how we live and eat and how that affects the health and well-being of our kids. Since we launched Let's Move!, people from every corner of this country who care about our children's futures have stepped up and proved the conventional wisdom wrong.
Read the entire op-ed from the First Lady at CNN.com
More from the Let's Move tour:
Michelle Obama: If You Are Doing Great Work, Tell Me About It
Michelle Obama Judges "Top Chef"
On the Road with Let’s Move
Watch: Behind the Scenes on the Let’s Move Tour
Two Years of Healthy Changes for Our Nation’s Kids
View a slideshow from the tour
- Posted byon February 10, 2012 at 12:33 AM EDT
Ed note: this has been cross-posted from Let's Move!
To celebrate the second anniversary of Let's Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama is on a three day, four state tour, visiting people across the country whose lives have been impacted by her signature initiative.
First stop was Des Moines, Iowa where more than 14,000 students gathered to join Governor Terry Branstad as he declared February 9, 2012 Let's Move! Day in Iowa. The energy in the Wells Fargo Arena was electric, as Olympians Michelle Kwan and Shawn Johnson talked to the crowd of students waving "Let's Get Moving" signs about how eating healthy had helped them achieve their dreams.
We could have had this party anywhere in the country, right? We could have gone anywhere, but there is a reason why we wanted to come here to Iowa to be with all of you. And that’s because I am so proud of what you all are doing to make Iowa the healthiest state in this country by 2016.
I am proud that you guys are starting community gardens, that you’re eating your fruits and vegetables. I’m proud that you guys are walking to school instead of taking the bus. I’m proud that you’re working hard to get that 60 minutes of activity a day, every day. I’m also proud of your government, and businesses like Hy-Vee, and community leaders across the state who are all coming together to help you guys get healthy, to keep moving.
This is exactly what "Let’s Move" is all about. We want every single state in this country to do exactly what Iowa is doing.
- Posted byon February 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM EDT
Let’s Move! was launched on February 9, 2010, and in the past two years, significant progress has been made to solve the problem of childhood obesity. Parents, businesses, educators, elected officials, members of the military, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders and kids themselves have made substantial commitments to improve the health of our nation’s children. Through working together with Let’s Move!, these groups have provided children with healthier food and greater opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities, helped get families the information they need to make healthier decisions, supported a healthy start in early childhood, and have worked to ensure more people have access to healthy, affordable food.
Tomorrow, First Lady Michelle Obama is starting a tour to celebrate the second anniversary of the initiative. On her trip she will meet with some of the many teachers, elected officials, faith and community leaders, parents and children who have embraced the principles of Let's Move! and are making a difference in the lives of our children.
- Posted byon February 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM EDT
February is Black History Month, and his year's theme, "Black Women in American Culture and History," honors African American women and the many roles they’ve played in the shaping of our nation.
And in an interview with More magazine, First Lady Michelle Obama talks candidly about one of the roles that matters most to her, one that has been a part of her life since she was in high school, one that can have a crucial influence in shaping the next generation of American women and one she urges others to embrace: Mentor.
Mrs. Obama discusses the impact mentors have had in her life, and also what being a mentor has meant to her (one of the first people she mentored as a lawyer in Chicago was a fellow graduate of Harvard Law School named Barack Obama: “I made sure that he met the partners that he was working with; I had to take him out to lunch a couple of times” she tells the magazine).
And for the first time, the First Lady discusses a program she launched shortly after moving into the White House, a mentoring program she designed “to open a secret door for others that hadn’t been opened for me,” by pairing disadvantaged girls with some of the powerful women in the land. She tells the magazine:
“I wanted [the students] to experience this notion that if you can walk [through] the doors of the White House once a month and sit down with the first lady and her chief of staff and some other senior officials, and they’re talking to you and you get used to hearing your voice in the space, then it becomes not a big deal.”
And so her program pairs teenage girls with “this wonderful array of women who come from different backgrounds,” she says. “They’re senior leaders in President Obama’s administration, and they all have a story, right? They all have a set of challenges and struggles.” Those stories, Obama believes, are best told in person, over time, creating the kind of enduring bond the social media generation sorely lacks. “Even though our children are connecting in ways we never imagined,” she told a national summit on mentoring not long ago, “you’ve got an entire generation of young people truly in desperate need of a friend. Someone they can trust, an example they can follow.”
- Posted byon January 30, 2012 at 2:40 PM EDT
Earlier today, I had the great privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and many of the nation’s leaders in announcing proposed changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that recognize the unique circumstances faced by the caregivers of our country’s wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
The Joining Forces announcement reflects a collaborative, public-private effort between the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, along with private sector business and non-profit organizations. Joining the First Lady were Secretaries from the Departments of Labor, Defense and Veterans Affairs; Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Joint Chiefs Chairman, and all of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The proposal announced today by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis continues this Administration’s commitment to our wounded warriors and their caregivers. The new language would extend the entitlement of military caregiver leave to qualifying family members of veterans who are dealing with a serious injury or illness for up to five years after leaving the military. At this time, the law only covers family members of “currently serving” service members. Additionally, the proposal expands the military family leave provisions of the FMLA by extending qualifying leave to employees whose family members serve in the regular armed forces. Currently, the law only covers families of National Guard members and reservists. These changes will ensure that our military families have peace of mind knowing that they won’t have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their loved ones.
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 1:12 PM EDT
A bit of photo fun was inevitable when the First Lady met Mike Krieger, co-founder of the photo sharing site Instagram, in the Blue Room of the White House earlier this week. Mike was one of the extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the 2012 State of the Union Address that were invited to join Mrs. Obama in her viewing box on Tuesday.
Check out a video of their Instagram shoot and see the results: