The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon December 14, 2013 at 7:00 AM EDT
In his weekly address, President Obama honors the memory of the 26 innocent children and educators who were taken from us a year ago in Newtown, Connecticut.
- Posted byon December 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM EDT
On Tuesday, four American Presidents traveled to Johannesburg to pay tribute to the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. As President Obama addressed the crowd, and greeted Madiba’s extended family of South African citizens, I was reminded of a more intimate gathering earlier this year.
In November, 2013, President Obama invited members of the Mandela family to the White House for a screening of "Long Walk to Freedom," a film based on Mandela's autobiography. Take a look at this short video, featuring informal reflections by the President, the Mandela family, the former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Donald Gips, and the film’s star, Idris Elba.
- Posted byon December 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM EDT
Today in Johannesburg, President Obama joined leaders from the United States and around the world at a national memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela.
In President Obama’s remarks, he reflected on what Mandela meant to him personally, as well as to the people of South Africa, and urged all of us to remember Madiba’s legacy and contributions to humanity.
For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection. With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life? It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President.
- Posted byon December 9, 2013 at 7:46 PM EDT
In recent weeks, government affiliated armed groups and independent “self-defense” militias have committed shocking and horrific atrocities against innocent civilians in the Central African Republic. The United States is actively supporting the international community’s efforts to end the violence, protect civilians, prevent atrocities, provide humanitarian assistance, and help create an environment that allows constitutional and democratic governance to be restored.
In an audio message taped in Dakar, Senegal, today, President Obama sent a clear and important message to the people of the Central African Republic: that they should reject the violence currently threatening their country, and move together toward a future of security, dignity, and peace.
- Posted byon December 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM EDT
In this week’s address, President Obama says that before Congress leaves for vacation, they should extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million hardworking Americans who will lose this lifeline at the end of the year.
- Posted byon December 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM EDT
The White House is officially bedecked with cheer for the holiday season, which means it’s time for another special tradition: the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
This evening, President Obama, the First Lady and their family will participate in the 91st annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in President’s Park, just outside the White House gates.
Hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Lynch, this year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting features a talented line-up of performers including: The Avett Brothers, Joshua Bell, Mariah Carey, Renée Fleming, Forte, Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monáe, Prince Royce, Arturo Sandoval, Train, and Nolan Williams, Jr. and Voices of Inspiration.
- Posted byon December 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President spoke on the importance of addressing economic mobility and supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act, visited fasting immigration reform activists, marked World AIDS Day, celebrated Hanukkah, and visited a local bookstore for Small Business Saturday. That's November 29th to December 5th or, "Olde English."
- Posted byon December 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM EDT
This afternoon, from the White House Briefing Room, President Obama delivered a statement on the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, calling him "a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice."
"We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again," the President said. "So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice."
- Posted byon December 5, 2013 at 11:45 AM EDT
Ed. note: Today at 4:10 ET, tune in to whitehouse.gov/live to see President Obama deliver remarks at a White House Hanukkah Reception
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951.
In 1979, Jimmy Carter participated in lighting a Hanukkah menorah on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. Each President since then has commemorated Hanukkah at the White House. The ceremonies have ranged from small presentations in the Oval Office to large parties with the First Family, but they have all shared the common element of a Hanukkah menorah.
- Posted byon December 4, 2013 at 8:50 PM EDT
This afternoon, youth leaders from across the country gathered here for our White House Youth Summit. The Summit was made of up 160 of this country's finest national and local leaders aged 18-35. Joined by White House and Administration staff, these millennial participants discussed issues important to their generation -- especially spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act and organizing to get people enrolled in their respective communities. They also participated in a series of panels and breakout workshops with administration officials, stakeholder groups, and advocates.
To kick off the event, a very special guest dropped by to speak to the Youth Summit: President Obama -- who let young Americans know he needed their help.
So I'm going to need you all to spread the word about how the Affordable Care Act really works, what its benefits are, what its protections are and, most importantly, how people can sign up. I know people call this law Obamacare. And that's okay -- because I do care. I care about you. I care about families. I care about Americans.
But no matter how much I care, the truth is, is that for your friends and your family, the most important source of information is not going to be me, it's going to be you. They are going to trust you. If you're taking them on a website, walking them through it saying, look at the price you're able to get, look at the benefits you're able to get. That's what's going to be making a difference.