The White House Blog: The President

  • “Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of this Generation”: The President’s Innovation Town Hall

    President Obama Speaks at Cross Campus

    President Barack Obama answers a question during a town hall at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, Calif. October 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Earlier this month, the President held a town hall meeting at Cross Campus, a collaborative work space in the Los Angeles Area that brings together entrepreneurs, freelancers, creative professionals, and other innovators, many from the millennial generation. A new White House report on millennials highlights the entrepreneurial ambition of this generation, with the majority interested in starting a new business.

    In conversation with the Cross Campus community, the President spoke about a wide range of issues of core importance to entrepreneurs (and considered a post-White House job offer from one of them, noting that “being able to dabble a little bit in the issues of the day while being in sweat pants and a baseball cap sounds pretty attractive”). Here are some highlights:

    Ensuring an Open Internet

    “I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality. I think that it is what has … unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don't want to lose that or clog up the pipes.”

    Fixing our Broken Immigration System

    “We know that when it comes to tech, a huge percentage of some of our biggest startups, like Intel and Google, were started by first-generation Americans, immigrants. We know that about 25 percent of our Nobel Prize winners in the sciences are naturalized Americans. And so the idea that we would make it harder for talent to come here -- especially when so often that talent is coming to study here, going to school here, wants to stay here, wants to work here, wants to invest here -- makes no sense… And what I’ve committed to is, is that assuming Congress does not act, I will use all the executive authority that I legally have in order to make fixes in some of the system.”

    Growing Startup Communities Across the Country

    “[A] lot of folks I think are working hard to make L.A. a model for innovation here in California, but also a model for what we need to see all across the country… Obviously, California is an epicenter of it, and Silicon Valley is the crown jewel of our innovation economy, but it’s happening in Kansas City. It’s happening in places in Colorado.  It’s happening in towns in Ohio. And everywhere you go, you see people turning great ideas into great companies.”

    Developing More Engineers

    “[T]here’s nothing wrong with folks obviously going into finance, but if our best talent for numbers are all ending up on Wall Street instead of ending up as engineers, then over time our economy is going to be out of balance… And we’ve actually got a public-private initiative to get 100,000 more engineers. A lot of that then is trying to tap new talent, people who probably would make great engineers but right [now] are ending up being diverted someplace else.”

    Tapping All of America’ Tech Talent

    “How do we encourage more women but also minorities into STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering, math. On average, wages are about 33 percent higher than non-STEM occupations, and yet, women are not at all represented the way they should be in these fields -- neither are African Americans or Latinos… We have an entire effort, through the Department of Education, giving grants and incentives to school districts to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to get into STEM.”

    Reducing Student Loan Burdens

    “We’ve acted to give nearly 5 million Americans the chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income, which means that they can afford to go out and take a risk.”

    Unlocking Entrepreneurship Through Affordable Healthcare

    “The Affordable Care Act means that if you’re a young entrepreneur, you don’t have to be locked into a job worrying that otherwise you won’t have health insurance because now you’re able to get an affordable plan through the marketplace exchanges that have been set up.”

    The Promise of Millennials

    “[Y]ou have the opportunity in ways that previous generations did not have to create something yourself, to be your own boss, to have flexibility with respect to your hours, to pursue your dreams, to raise capital in creative ways, to bust down some of the barriers … and gatekeepers that traditionally existed in every industry. And that’s hugely exciting.”

    You can read or watch the full town hall conversation, and the full White House report on millennials is available here. You can also learn more about the White House Startup America initiative to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs across the country.

    As the President said in LA last week, “when I come to places like this, it inspires me and reminds me of why I am chronically optimistic about the future of America.” Contact us and let us know how you’re building a strong foundation for entrepreneurs in your community.

    Doug Rand is Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


  • Weekly Address: What You Need To Know About Ebola

    President Obama Delivers the Weekly Address on Ebola Response

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. October 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms.

    The President made clear that he and his entire Administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


    Learn More:


  • West Wing Week 10/17/14 or, "The Geography of Hope"

    This week, the President continued to lead the federal Ebola response, met with members of the international coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL, and designated the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.


  • President Obama Names Ron Klain to Coordinate the U.S. Response to Ebola

    President Obama has asked Ron Klain to coordinate the government’s comprehensive response to Ebola. He will report to the President Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and his National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

    As former Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents, Klain comes to the job with extensive experience in overseeing complex governmental operations and has good working relationships with leading Members of Congress as well as senior Administration officials.

    Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad. As the President said, while "the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low" in the U.S., "we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government." Klain will be an integral part of ensuring that we effectively respond and ultimately bring an end to Ebola.

    Click here to learn more about the steps the Administration has taken to bolster our Ebola response and to learn what you need to know about the disease.

    President Obama Meets with Ron Klain

    President Obama meets with Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice-President and Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the Vice President in the Oval Office. May 21, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


  • Here's What You Need to Know About Our Response to Ebola Right Now:

    Note: For updated information on the Administration's response to Ebola, please visit WhiteHouse.gov/Ebola-Response

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, a health care worker from Dallas was transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment after contracting the Ebola virus while helping to treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to have the disease in the U.S.

    After meeting with his Cabinet officials and Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the President updated the country on our comprehensive strategy to contain the disease, prevent its spread in the U.S., and combat it at its source in West Africa. 

    "The dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low" in the U.S., the President said. "But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government."


  • President Obama Joins International Military Leaders to Discuss Coalition Efforts Against ISIL

    President Obama meets with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss coalition efforts in the campaign against ISIL

    President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Joint Base Andrews, just outside of Washington, D.C., to attend a meeting with military leaders from more than 20 partner nations in the coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL.


  • Weekly Address: America Is a Place Where Hard Work Should Be Rewarded

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 9, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week's address, the President made the case for why it's past time to raise the minimum wage. Increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 28 million Americans, and make our economy stronger. While Republicans in Congress have blocked this commonsense proposal, a large and growing coalition of state and local leaders and owners of businesses large and small have answered the President's call and raised wages for their residents and employees.

    This progress is important, but there is more that can be done. No American who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. That's why the President will continue to push Congress to take action and give America its well-deserved raise.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • "The Geography of Hope": President Obama Designates the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

    President Obama walks onstage at Bonelli Regional Park to announce the creation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

    President Barack Obama walks onstage at Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas, Calif., where he announced the creation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, Oct. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "We are blessed to have the most beautiful landscapes in the world.  We have a responsibility to be good stewards of them for future generations."

    -- President Obama, October 10, 2014

    It is our moral obligation to protect America's most beautiful lands for the next generation. Today, President Obama officially ensured that the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument will join a vast landscape of natural treasures, as part of what writer Wallace Stegner once called "the geography of hope."

    Speaking in the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas, California, the President said: 

    It’s not just the natural beauty of the San Gabriels that makes it invaluable. Within these hills lies millennia of history, including the ancient rock art of Native peoples -- the first Americans. And just as this region teaches us about our past, it has always offered us a window into the future. It was here at the Mount Wilson Observatory that Edwin P. Hubble showed the universe to be ever-expanding, and it's where astronomers still explore the mysteries of space. I can think of no better way to honor our past and protect our future than by preserving the San Gabriel Mountains.


  • President Obama Congratulates Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on Winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

    President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai

    President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago, in the Oval Office, Oct. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Every child has the right to an education. 

    That is the simple but powerful message that Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old girl from Pakistan, is bringing to millions across the world. It is the message that the Pakistani Taliban tried to stop her from sharing. It is a message that no bullet can silence. 

    Today, for her unwavering courage to champion education for all children anywhere, Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize. She shares that honor with Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights activist who is working tirelessly to bring an end to child slavery in India and across the globe. 

    Reflecting on his meeting with Malala last year, the President released the following statement to congratulate her and Kailash on their remarkable accomplishments in the pursuit of peace: 


  • Celebrating America's Newest National Monument: The San Gabriel Mountains

    Today, President Obama will travel to Los Angeles County, California to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as America’s newest national monument, and a timeless piece of our national heritage. In many ways, this nation’s story is etched into its land, and as the President is recognizing today, each of our monuments provides us with an important cultural bridge between our past and our future.

    In his time in office, President Obama has preserved more than 3 million acres of public land, and he’s not done yet. Natural treasures like the San Gabriel Mountains are not only remarkably beautiful, as they frame the Los Angeles Skyline, but with this new designation, they will bring even more tangible benefits to the 15 million people who live in their shadow. Tourism in the area will be strengthened, as will local businesses as hikers, bikers, outdoor adventurists, and nature lovers make their way to enjoy all 346,177 acres receiving the President’s new designation. 

    The President remains committed to respecting and reflecting our nation’s diversity in the monuments and precious lands we preserve, while ensuring access to parkland, monuments, historical landmarks, and majestic landscapes for Americans of all backgrounds to relish.