The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon June 19, 2013 at 4:30 PM EDT
Nearly 50 years to the day after President John F. Kennedy delivered his historic speech to a city divided by the Cold War, President Obama spoke to the people of Berlin about the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Germany, and the values we share.
A symbol of the Germany’s progress since President Kennedy’s visit, President Obama spoke from the east side of Brandenburg Gate – something that would have been impossible if not for the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
“While I am not the first American President to come to this gate, I am proud to stand on its Eastern side to pay tribute to the past,” President Obama said.
For throughout all this history, the fate of this city came down to a simple question: Will we live free or in chains? Under governments that uphold our universal rights, or regimes that suppress them? In open societies that respect the sanctity of the individual and our free will, or in closed societies that suffocate the soul?
This is what was at stake here in Berlin, President Obama said.
And because courageous crowds climbed atop that wall, because corrupt dictatorships gave way to new democracies, because millions across this continent now breathe the fresh air of freedom, we can say, here in Berlin, here in Europe -- our values won. Openness won. Tolerance won. And freedom won here in Berlin.
- Posted byon June 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM EDT
Today, President Obama is in Northern Ireland for the G-8 Summit in Lough Erne. This year's G-8 is President Obama's fifth since taking office, and the second stop of his three-day trip to Northern Ireland and Germany.
Yesterday, following the first stop of the trip in Belfast, the President held a number of meetings with world leaders ahead of the G-8, including a visit with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and a meeting with EU leaders on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, President Obama announced that the United States and the European Union would launch negotiations on the trade agreement in July. The partnership will boost economic growth in the United States and the EU, as President Obama explained.
[T]he U.S.-EU relationship is the largest in the world. It makes up nearly half of global GDP. We trade about $1 trillion in goods and services each year. We invest nearly $4 trillion in each other’s economies. And all that supports around 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
And this potentially groundbreaking partnership would deepen those ties. It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean.
- Posted byon June 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM EDT
This morning, President Obama spoke to the people of Northern Ireland from the Belfast waterfront.
So many of the qualities that we Americans hold dear we imported from this land -- perseverance, faith, an unbending belief that we make our own destiny, and an unshakable dream that if we work hard and we live responsibly, something better lies just around the bend.
So our histories are bound by blood and belief, by culture and by commerce. And our futures are equally, inextricably linked. And that’s why I’ve come to Belfast today -- to talk about the future we can build together.
It’s been 15 years since the people of Ireland approved the Good Friday Agreement, and President Obama called the achievement -- and the progress that followed it -- extraordinary. “For years, few conflicts in the world seemed more intractable than the one here in Northern Ireland. And when peace was achieved here, it gave the entire world hope.”
- Posted byon June 17, 2013 at 2:02 PM EDT
Before leaving for this week's G-8 summit in the United Kingdom, President Obama sat down with Charlie Rose in the White House Library for a 45-minute interview on topics ranging from Syria to the National Security Agency.
That discussion will air tonight at 11:00 PM on PBS stations across the country. For more specifics, check your local listings.
- Posted byon June 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM EDT
President Obama discusses Father’s Day and notes that nothing substitutes for the love and support of the presence of a parent in a child’s life.
- Posted byon June 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM EDT
- Posted byon June 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM EDT
Today, President Obama congratulated the Indiana Fever at the White House on their 2012 WNBA championship.
Despite being the underdog team in the finals, the President remarked that the Fever had a “Hoosiers” moment and intensified their game. With their toughness and determination, the Fever managed to defeat the Minnesota Lynx, the 2011 WNBA champions.
“And while our towns have a friendly rivalry going on, I still recognize those Midwestern values when I see them. We saw it in the Indiana Fever, which is, you look out for your teammates. You kept fighting, no matter what gets thrown at you. As Coach Dunn put it: ‘We're all blue collar. We work hard on defense. We rebound. We're tough.’”
President Obama also thanked the women for giving back to communities not only in Indiana, but across the country. He acknowledged Tamika Catchings, the MVP of the team, who started her own foundation, Catch the Stars. The foundation works with First Lady Michelle Obama’s program, Let’s Move! and urges children to stay healthy and active. Tamika isn’t the only player giving back to the country though.
“Players on the Fever have received a combined 13 WNBA Community Assist Awards for countless hours they spend volunteering," he said. "They visit local school kids as part of the Read to Achieve Program. They’ve teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for folks in Indianapolis. And right after this, they’re going to run a basketball clinic on the South Lawn for young people here in D.C.”
- Posted byon June 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM EDT
Leaders within the LGBT community were invited to the White House yesterday to kick-off Pride month with a reception hosted by President Obama.
Introducing the President were 9 year old twins, Zea and Luna, who wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this year asking him to support same-sex marriage. They explained that they were raised by their two moms who love them dearly.
In his remarks, the President discussed some of the steps we’ve made toward equality:
"We passed a hate crimes bill in Matthew Shepard’s name. We lifted the HIV entry ban, released the first national HIV/AIDS strategy. We strengthened the Violence Against Women Act to protect LGBT victims. We told hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid that they have to treat LGBT patients just like everybody else. Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will ban insurance companies from denying someone from coverage just for being LGBT. We put in place new policies that treat transgender Americans with dignity and respect. And because no one should have to hide who they love to serve the country that they love, we ended "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all."
While these are real accomplishments, the President also admitted there is still work to be done – and it might take some time.
- Posted byon June 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President hosted the new President of China at a two-day informal summit in California, spoke on the importance of supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and comprehensive immigration reform, promoted a top economic advisor, and honored the LGBT community.
- Posted byon June 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM EDT
Today, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Ollanta Humala of Peru.
“Peru is one of our strongest and most reliable partners in the hemisphere, President Obama said. “And we spent most of our discussion focused on how we can further deepen this important bilateral relationship.”
I want to congratulate President Humala on being able to sustain strong growth rates in Peru, and his focus on broad-based economic growth that includes all people. As a consequence, Peru has been able to see not only increased growth but also reduced poverty and steps to reduce inequality.
For both the United States and Peru, growth is also dependent on our continued expansion in the global marketplace, and that’s why I'm very glad that Peru and the United States are working so closely together in finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which offers the possibility of opening up markets throughout the Asia Pacific region with high standards and protections for labor and the environment.
The two leaders also discussed additional areas of cooperation, including deepening education exchange programs, connecting small and medium-sized businesses to markets throughout the hemisphere, and combatting transnational drug networks.