The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • Weekly Address: Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

    In this week's address, President Obama said Congress should act to extend emergency unemployment insurance for more than one million Americans who have lost this vital economic lifeline while looking for a job. Letting emergency unemployment insurance expire not only harms American families, but it is also a drag on the overall economy. The President urges both parties to pass the bipartisan three-month extension under consideration in the Senate so that we can once again focus on expanding opportunities for the middle class and creating jobs for all hardworking Americans.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3


  • The Year in Review: Our 17 Favorite FLOTUS Moments in 2013

    As 2013 draws to a close, it's time to take a look back at some of our favorite digital moments with First Lady Michelle Obama this year. It's been a big year (both online and off) for the First Lady, she broke new ground by starting the first official First Lady twitter account (@FLOTUS), Instagram (@MichelleObama) and recording her first Vine. She celebrated the 3rd Anniversary of Let's Move! by "mom dancing" with Jimmy Fallon, hanging out with Kelly Ripa and by answering your questions during her first twitter chat. She also continued to welcome thousands of Americans to the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, Kids' State Dinner and tours. 

    Check out all these moments and more (including the arrival of a second "first pup") below or on Storify and be sure to follow the First Lady on Twitter (@FLOTUS) and Instagram (@MichelleObama) for exciting updates and news in the New Year! 


  • Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Wish Everyone a Happy Holiday Season

    In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3


  • First Lady Michelle Obama Helps NORAD Track Santa

    Anxiously wondering when Santa and his sleigh full of toys might arrive in their neighborhood, children from around the country phoned NORAD today for Christmas Eve updates on his whereabouts. 

    A few kids got a special holiday treat on the other end of the line: First Lady Michelle Obama, who was helping out with  NORAD's annual Santa tracking program.

    First Lady Michelle Obama reacts while talking on the phone to children across the country as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program.

    First Lady Michelle Obama reacts while talking on the phone to children across the country as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program. Mrs. Obama answered the phone calls from Kailua, Hawaii, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    To join in the fun, follow Santa at www.noradsanta.org or by calling 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will also stream videos as Santa makes his way over various locations around the world. You can follow NORAD Tracks Santa on Facebook and Twitter


  • First Lady Michelle Obama and Toys for Tots Team Up for the Holidays

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the sorting of toys

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the sorting of toys during a Toys for Tots service project at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Toys for Tots Distribution Center in Washington, D.C., December 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. to deliver hundreds of toys that Executive Office of the President staff donated to the United States Marine Corps' Toys for Tots campaign, an annual holiday toy drive. 

    While there, Mrs. Obama welcomed home a  group of Marines that just returned from Afghanistan:

    I hear that there are four Marines at this base that just returned home from Afghanistan last week, right in time for the holidays.  So I just want to take a moment to say on behalf of myself and my husband, your Commander-In-Chief, welcome home. 

    Then Mrs. Obama thanked military families for all they do throughout the year, while still finding time to run programs like Toys for Tots.  

    Most people don’t understand that you do all of this service on top of all of the challenges that you face as service members and as military families. And that’s the example that I think the rest of the country needs to see -- that even in the midst of your challenges, you find a way to give back to those less fortunate. 

    And that’s what makes me proud. That’s what makes me want to step up and do whatever I can to support this effort and to support you all as men and women, and as young men and women -- young heroes, our military kids, who do so much sacrificing. And I really don’t know how you all do it....But I am grateful that you are who you are, and that you make those sacrifices. 


  • West Wing Week: 12/20/13 or "26 Candles"

    This week, the White House honored those lost at Sandy Hook on the one year anniversary. The President met with newly elected mayors and executives from America's leading technology companies, discussed the benefits of health care reform with a group of moms, and celebrated the holidays with Christmas in Washington.


  • The Affordable Care Act Means Peace of Mind for Moms

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with mothers regarding the Affordable Care Act in the Oval Office

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with mothers regarding the Affordable Care Act in the Oval Office, Dec. 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama and the First Lady met with a group of moms (and one aunt!) in the Oval Office to talk about how health reform has benefitted their families. They talked about the critical role that moms are playing in helping their families access quality, affordable health care by encouraging their adult children, family members and their peers to sign up for coverage.

    Because many women in the group know first-hand why having the security of health insurance is so important, they’ve been working tirelessly to make sure that everybody in America is able to get high-quality health care coverage that provides them with financial protection and looks after them when they get sick.

    “I think this conversation really drove home in a very personal way why this is important,” President Obama said. “Sometimes here in Washington, this is a very abstract conversation or an entirely political conversation. But when you boil it down to stories and people hear what it means to have the security of solid health insurance at an affordable price when you need it, it reminds me at least of why we've been fighting so hard to get this done.”


  • The First Lady Reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Children's National Medical Center

    First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to read one of her favorite Christmas tales and to spread some holiday cheer. First Dogs Bo and Sunny came along to help the First Lady greet the children and their families.

    As in years past, the First Lady read the classic “’Twas the Night before Christmas.” When she was done, she answered the children’s questions on topics ranging from whether Bo and Sunny like snow to what she is getting the President for Christmas to the best Christmas gift she ever received:

    I have to say, coming to see you guys at the hospital and coming to visit the kids who can’t come downstairs, and then hanging out with you guys...this is a good gift for me. This right here, this is a great gift.


  • First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2013 White House Holiday Décor to Military Families

    First Lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a craft project in the State Dining Room during the White House holiday press preview, Dec. 4, 2013. Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses helps children decorate Springerle cookie orn

    First Lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a craft project in the State Dining Room during the White House holiday press preview, Dec. 4, 2013. Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses helps children decorate Springerle cookie ornaments. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    First Lady Michelle Obama previewed the 2013 White House holiday décor to a crowd of military families who were the first of more than 70,000 anticipated visitors this holiday season. Mrs. Obama announced this year's theme, Gather Around: Stories of the Season, a celebration of the stories and traditions that bring us together this special time of year.  Mrs. Obama talked about how the theme inspires her to think about “the thousands of men and women in uniform serving abroad who wake up in the middle of the night in some remote part of the world to read a special holiday story to their children over Skype, or to be there on the screen to experience that special moment of joy when their kids open those presents from Santa.”


  • First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2013 White House Holiday Decor

    First Lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a craft project in the State Dining Room during the White House holiday press preview, Dec. 4, 2013. Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses helps children decorate Springerle cookie orn

    First Lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a craft project in the State Dining Room during the White House holiday press preview, Dec. 4, 2013. Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses helps children decorate Springerle cookie ornaments. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama previewed the 2013 White House holiday décor to a crowd of military families who were the first of more than 70,000 anticipated visitors this holiday season. Mrs. Obama announced this year's theme, Gather Around: Stories of the Season, a celebration of the stories and traditions that bring us together this special time of year. “Our goal is for every room and every tree to tell a story about who we are and how we gather around one another to mark the holidays,” she said. The custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960s when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a nutcracker-themed Christmas for her daughter Caroline.

    The 2013 décor embraces beloved White House traditions. By using thoughtful hand-made volunteer crafts and recycled classic pieces, the Gather Around decorations and 24 trees throughout the residence all tell a story. Special art displays and Christmas trees made from repurposed books help this year’s theme come alive. In total, more than 450 repurposed books were used as part of the holiday décor (they will be donated to a local school’s book drive following the holiday season). Today, military children that attended the event had the opportunity to make crafts including – a fruit wreath and a Bo-quet paper poinsettia.

    This year, two of the rooms honor our military families, a tradition started by Mrs. Obama, whose Joining Forces initiative seeks to honor and support those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

    “When visitors arrive, the very first thing they’ll see is a tree decorated to pay tribute to our Armed Forces," she said. "This tree, graced with special Gold Star ornaments, tells the story of some of our greatest heroes: Those who gave their lives for our country. And any Gold Star family who visits the White House can create their own ornament to honor their loved one.”

    The Blue Room also honors our military families. It holds the Official White House Christmas Tree, presented from the National Christmas Tree Association standing at 18 1⁄2 feet high and nearly 11 feet wide. According to the First Lady, the Blue Room tree is “dedicated to the idea of gathering around our military. The tree in that room is decorated with holiday greeting cards drawn by military children from bases all across the country as a way to celebrate their parents’ service.”

    First Lady Michelle Obama asks us all to “find a way to honor these great Americans, not just during the holidays, but every day. And let us never forget the debt that we owe these men and women and their amazing families.”  (You can share your message of thanks through the USO here)