The White House Blog: The President

  • A Major Increase in Our Response to the Ebola Outbreak

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    This afternoon, during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, President Obama spoke on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and announced a major increase in our efforts to help the international community fight the outbreak.

    While starting off by reiterating that the chances of an Ebola outbreak happening in the U.S. are extremely low, he made clear that West Africa faces "a very different situation," especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea -- the countries that have been hardest hit by the current outbreak:

    [CDC Director Tom Frieden] and others recently returned from the region, and the scenes that they describe are just horrific.  More than 2,400 men, women and children are known to have died -- and we strongly suspect that the actual death toll is higher than that.  Hospitals, clinics and the few treatment centers that do exist have been completely overwhelmed.  An already very weak public health system is near collapse in these countries.  Patients are being turned away, and people are literally dying in the streets.


  • Here's What a Medal of Honor Presentation at the White House Looks Like:

    This afternoon at the White House, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins and Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat for their actions in Vietnam.

    Most Americans know that the Medal of Honor is the highest military award that a member of the U.S. armed forces can receive -- but what goes into the actual award ceremony at the White House?

    In June, we went behind the scenes as the President presented the Medal of Honor to Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, a retired United States Marine, for his actions during combat operations in Afghanistan.

    Take a look here -- and pass it on:

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  • Weekly Address: We Will Degrade and Destroy ISIL

    President Obama tapes the Weekly Address on ISIL

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the State Dining Room of the White House. September 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President reiterated his comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL.

    His plan brings together a campaign of targeted airstrikes, increased support for Iraqi and Kurdish forces already taking on terrorists, assistance from allies and partners, expanded efforts to train and equip the Syrian opposition, and ongoing humanitarian aid for those displaced by ISIL. The President expressed his immense appreciation for the military men and women who make these efforts possible, and reminded the world that America continues to lead and stand strong against terror.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: September 6-12

    This week, President Obama spoke about the threat posed by ISIL and commemorated the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the First Lady hosted a "prep" rally in Atlanta.

    Check out what else you may have missed this week in our weekly wrap up.


    “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

    On Wednesday evening, from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the American people about our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

    ISIL was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq and has since infiltrated territories on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President highlighted that:

    ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. ... It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.


  • Celebrating 20 Years of AmeriCorps

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    This morning at the White House, President Obama joined former President Bill Clinton in celebrating the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, and welcoming some of the national service program's newest members.

    Across the country today, thousands of people took the pledge to be AmeriCorps members. Since AmeriCorps' inception in 1994, 900,000 Americans have served in the program and have committed 1.2 billion hours of service.

    In his remarks, President Obama noted how today's event echoed "back to that day in 1994, when President Clinton swore in that first class of AmeriCorps members right here at the White House."


  • This Week in History: How Our National Anthem Was Born

    Frances Scott Key was a 35-year-old Washington lawyer who'd been opposed to America's entry into the War of 1812 from the beginning. But on the evening of September 13, 1814, he found himself watching as a prisoner on a sailing ship deck as the ships of the world's mightiest navy rained shot and shell down on Fort McHenry, a small fort protecting the city of Baltimore.

    The British, having set Washington on fire and raided Alexandria, began heading north toward Baltimore, where they met a Royal Navy fleet headed in from the Chesapeake Bay. They launched their bombardment in the rain.

    A view of the bombardment of fort mchenry

    This colored etching, depicting the bombardment of Fort McHenry, was created in Philadelphia around 1816. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society)


  • Honoring 9/11 Through Service

    President Obama Greets Volunteers on September 11, 2013

    President Barack Obama greets volunteers at Food & Friends during a service project to commemorate the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, in Washington, D.C. September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, millions of people across the country will commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 through acts of service. To honor the memories of those we lost, we come together to make our communities better and our world a brighter place through acts of volunteerism.


  • "We Will Only Grow Stronger": President Obama Commemorates the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks

    President Obama, Defense Secretary Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey listen to the national anthem, Sept. 11, 2014

    President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listen to the national anthem during the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va., Sept. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Thirteen years ago today, our nation was irrevocably changed by horrific acts of terror that took the lives of thousands of innocent people. Across the country, Americans pay tribute to their memories and honor all those who have made great sacrifices in service to our country. 

    At 8:46 a.m. ET this morning, the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden joined Americans in observing a moment of silence:


  • President Obama: How We're Responding to the ISIL Threat

    Tonight, the following message was sent from President Obama to those signed up to receive updates from the White House, outlining his comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL.

    Didn't get the email? Make sure you're signed up to receive updates from the President and other senior Administration officials.


    Good evening,

    I just addressed the nation about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

    Let’s be clear: While this group may call itself the "Islamic State," it is not "Islamic." No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. Nor is it a "state." It is not recognized by any government, nor by the people it subjugates.

    This is nothing but a terrorist organization with no vision or goal other than to slaughter all who stand in its way. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, these terrorists have threatened America and our allies. And the United States will meet this threat with strength and resolve.


  • President Obama: “We Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy ISIL”

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    In an address from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the nation tonight about ISIL -- and our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group.

    The President reiterated that as Commander-in-Chief, his “highest priority is the security of the American people,” and noted that we have “consistently taken the fight to terrorists” that threaten the United States:

    We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.  We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year.  Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer. 

    “Still,” he said, “we continue to face a terrorist threat.”

    We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.  That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today.  And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge.  At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain.  And one of those groups is ISIL -- which calls itself the “Islamic State.”