The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon February 13, 2013 at 1:23 AM EDT
Tonight President Obama outlined his plan for a thriving middle class and a strong America.
"Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis," he said, "and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger."
The President described a strategy that will make the United States a magnet for jobs and manufacturing, equip every American with the skills they need to do those jobs, and ensuring that hard work leads to a decent living -- through investments manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure, and education.
He asked Congress to send him legislation to reform immigration, combat climate change, increase the minimum wage, and reduce gun violence.
To make sure you get the most out of the State of the Union, we put together an enhanced broadcast with charts, infographics, and important statistics. Watch that here:
We're also introducing new tool you can use to dig in to the President's speech, line by line, and tell us what resonates with you and matters for your community. It's called the Citizens Response. Check it out here.
- Posted byon February 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM EDT
This afternoon, former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House. He's the fourth living individual to do so.
On Oct. 3, 2009, Romesha was part of a unit attached to Combat Outpost Keating in the northeastern mountains of Afghanistan. In the early morning, while most of the unit was still asleep, they came under attack. Fifty-three Americans found themselves defending a position the Defense Department later called "indefensible" from more than 300 Taliban fighters.
It soon became one of the most intense battles in the war in Afghanistan.
"With gunfire impacting all around him," President Obama said, "Clint raced to one of the barracks and grabbed a machine gun. He took aim at one of the enemy machine teams and took it out. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and his neck. But he kept fighting, disregarding his own wounds, and tending to an injured comrade instead."
- Posted byon February 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM EDT
With Tuesday's State of the Union address only 39 hours away (9:00 p.m. ET), we're putting the final touches on a week that's jam-packed with opportunities to respond to the speech, get answers to your questions and join an online video-chat with the President.
In addition to some things that have been really popular for past "SOTU" Addresses, we've got some exciting new features to introduce. Here's the rundown:
When the President addresses the nation, the White House will provide something you can't find anywhere else: an enhanced version of the speech that offers charts, facts and other info as the President speaks (check out last year's here). You can watch live on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU, through the White House mobile apps for iPhone, Android and iPad, and also on the official White House presences on YouTube, Google+, Hulu, Facebook, and Ustream. And if you'd like, you can embed the stream on your own site.
- Posted byon February 9, 2013 at 6:45 AM EDT
President Obama urges Congress to act to avoid a series of harmful and automatic cuts—called a sequester—from going into effect that would hurt our economy and the middle class and threaten thousands of American jobs. The President urges Congress to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that makes investments in areas that help us grow and cuts what we don’t need.
- Posted byon February 7, 2013 at 8:27 PM EDT
This week, the President honored our nation's top scientists and innovators, nominated a new Secretary of the Interior, and worked toward reducing gun violence, enacting immigration reform, and reducing our deficit in a balanced way.
- Posted byon February 7, 2013 at 4:37 PM EDT
In discussing his faith at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama made a call for humility -- a trait which, he noted, Washington could embrace more fully.
"In a democracy as big and as diverse as ours, we will encounter every opinion," he said. "And our task as citizens -- whether we are leaders in government or business or spreading the word -- is to spend our days with open hearts and open minds; to seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and to find the common ground that allows for us as a nation, as a people, to take real and meaningful action. And we have to do that humbly, for no one can know the full and encompassing mind of God. And we have to do it every day, not just at a prayer breakfast."
Presidential attendance at the breakfast is a long-standing tradition, and this is President Obama's fifth appearance.
Read his full remarks here.
- Posted byon February 6, 2013 at 6:24 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and Sally Jewell applaud outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after President Obama announced Jewell as his nominee to replace Salazar, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Speaking in the State Dining Room at the White House, President Obama today announced that he has chosen Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior. For the past eight years, Ms. Jewell has been the CEO of REI, one of America's most successful and environmentally conscious retailers. Previously, she had worked in oil fields in Oklahoma and Colorado, and as an energy expert in banking -- experience the President highlighted as he introduced Ms. Jewell to the American people:
So even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington -- where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located -- she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet.
- Posted byon February 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM EDT
In a statement from the briefing room today, President Obama explained that while our economy is headed in the right direction, looming automatic budget cuts will cost jobs and slow down our recovery.
But, those deep, indiscriminate cuts to job-creating investments and defense spending, also known as the sequester, don't have to happen, the President said. He's already worked with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to cut the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, but there's more to be done to meet the $4 trillion in deficit reduction needed to stabilize our debt.
"I think this balanced mix of spending cuts and tax reform is the best way to finish the job of deficit reduction," the President said.
The reforms to Medicare and other entitlements the President proposed during the fiscal cliff negotiations are still on the table, he said. "These reforms would reduce our government’s bills by reducing the cost of health care, not shifting all those costs on to middle-class seniors, or the working poor, or children with disabilities, but nevertheless, achieving the kinds of savings that we're looking for"
- Posted byon February 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM EDT
In these videotaped remarks, President Obama delivers a clear message to the people of Kenya: the upcoming elections are a historic opportunity for Kenyans to stand together, as a nation, for peace and progress, and for the rule of law. The President has strong ties to the people of Kenya. From visiting his father’s village to touring the country as a U.S. Senator, he has a deep and personal interest in seeing Kenya flourish.
Kenyans have made remarkable progress since the devastating violence that followed the elections five years ago. Lives and communities have been rebuilt, the economy has rebounded, and Kenyans have peacefully stood together to pass a historic constitution and advance important political reforms. While the international community has assisted these efforts, the Kenyan people have stood together to solidify the rule of law and put Kenya on a path to greater prosperity.
As Kenyans prepare for the March elections, President Obama urges the people of Kenya to put aside tribal and ethnic differences; to clearly reject intimidation and violence; to address electoral disputes through Kenya’s courts, rather than on the streets; and to come together as a nation on the 50th anniversary of Kenyan independence. It is a moment to put strife and impunity firmly in the past, and to embrace a bright and peaceful future.
- Posted byon February 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks following a roundtable discussion with local leaders and law enforcement officials on how to reduce gun violence, at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama was in Minnesota today, where he met with men and women who are on the front line of the fight to prevent more tragedies like the ones in Newtown and Aurora: local police officers, community leaders, and people who themselves had been victims or whose families had been victims of gun violence.
The roundtable was part of the Obama Administration's ongoing conversations with Americans on all sides of this debate about how we can work together to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. President Obama was eager to hear from those gathered at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center because they know firsthand the awful consequences of this epidemic, and they know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to move forward without regard for politics. Afterwards, the President described the discussion as productive:
One of the things that struck me was that even though those who were sitting around that table represented very different communities, from big cities to small towns, they all believe it’s time to take some basic, common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. We may not be able to prevent every massacre or random shooting. No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe. But if there’s even one thing we can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try.
That’s been the philosophy here in Minneapolis. A few years back, you suffered a spike in violent crime involving young people. So this city came together. You launched a series of youth initiatives that have reduced the number of young people injured by guns by 40 percent -- 40 percent. So when it comes to protecting our children from gun violence, you’ve shown that progress is possible. We've still got to deal with the 60 percent that remains, but that 40 percent means lives saved -- parents whose hearts aren't broken, communities that aren't terrorized and afraid.