The White House Blog: The President

  • Meet the Exhibitors in the 2014 White House Science Fair

    Today, President Obama is hosting the fourth-ever White House Science Fair, which will feature extraordinary science projects and experiments from some of America’s most innovative students.

    Find out more below about the students participating in this year’s Science Fair:

    Elana Simon, 18
    Elana Simon, 18 (New York, New York)
    After surviving a bout with a rare liver cancer at age 12, Elana Simon, now 18, teamed up with one of the surgeons who treated her, set up shop in a medical lab, and began to collect much-needed data about the rare illness she'd endured. She gathered tissue samples from patients coping with the same cancer, fibrolamellar, performed genomic sequencing tests, and found a common genetic mutation across all of the samples she collected. Elana's results were published in the top journal Science, and formed a basis for a new website, the Fibrolamellar Registry, which she built to help empower fibrolamellar patients to share their own medical data for use by researchers working to find a cure. Elana is a recent winner of the American Association for Cancer Research's Junior Champion in Cancer Research Award. She has presented her work before an audience of 16,000 cancer researchers and is headed to Harvard to study computer science in the fall.
    Deidre Carrillo, 18
    Deidre Carrillo, 18 (San Antonio, TX)
    Deidre Carrillo, 18, knows what it's like to sit behind the wheel of an innovative electric vehicle she helped design and build, and to feel the adrenaline rush of racing it over a finish line. Deidre leads and helped found her high school's Southwest Engineering Team, which competes annually in Florida's Emerald Coast Electrathon-a national competition for student-built electric cars. For the first six months of the team's existence, Deidre was the only female member. As driver of the team's Dragon 1 vehicle, she helped lead her team to second place finishes in the Electrathon for two years in a row, before grabbing a first place finish in the 2014 competition this year. After graduation, Deidre plans to study public relations at Texas A&M University.


  • The Most Important Family Value

    This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families in the 21st century, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.

    You can learn more about the summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.


    On the first Friday of every month, the Labor Department announces new employment numbers that help set the tone for the conversation about our economy and where it's headed.

    But that's not the only set of data on my mind. My older daughter, who will leave for college in a few months, just played her last high school varsity lacrosse game, and I kept the team statistics this season (Amalia had 15 goals and 14 assists, in case you were wondering).

    Involvement in my kids' sports teams is something I have made time for over the years. I've also been able to coach all three of them in baseball and basketball, something that has strengthened our bonds and given me indescribable joy. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I lost my own father when I was 12, and I am the same age today that he was when he died suddenly of a heart attack. So when it comes to family time, I have a strong sense of the fierce urgency of now.

    But I'm lucky. I've had jobs that allow me the flexibility to achieve work-life balance, to be there when one of the kids sinks a jump shot or for the parent-teacher meetings. I can move tasks around. If I don't get something done at the office at 4:30 in the afternoon, I can go back to it at 10:00 in the evening.

    But if you work in retail or in hospitality or at a call center, or if you need to take a second job at night to make ends meet, you probably don't have that option, and you can't be there for your kids. Often, it's not just about missing a game. It means you can't help with homework. It means you can't be involved enough to know when your kids are in trouble at school. Or it means if they get sick in the middle of the day, you have no way to pick them up.

    I think our families deserve better. They shouldn't have to choose between the family they love and the job they need. And it's not just about being able to put food on the dinner table -- it's about being able to actually be at the dinner table as well. The most important family value of all is time with your family.

    That's why we're convening the Summit on Working Families -- to tackle issues like childcare, paid leave and equal pay that speak to the anxieties that keep people awake at night. These issues go to the heart of middle-class economic security. Addressing them is part of fully restoring America's basic bargain -- that if you work hard and take responsibility, you will have a chance to succeed.

    We are way behind the rest of the world when it comes to progress on this front. Everything has changed in recent decades -- the economy, technology, cultural attitudes, the demographics of the workforce, the role of women in society and the structure of the American family. It's about time our laws caught up. We watch Modern Family on television, but we're still living by Leave It To Beaver rules.

    I'm proud to be Secretary of Labor. But I'm even prouder of two more important titles: dad and husband. I've been able to be all three. I want all working people, no matter what their jobs are, to be able to meet their obligations both at work and at home.


    Related links:


  • President Obama Speaks from Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day

    Watch on YouTube

    Today, President Obama traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and deliver remarks at a memorial service honoring our fallen servicemembers and their families.

    The President, who returned from Afghanistan this morning, thanked troops and veterans for their service to our nation, and paid tribute to the fallen:

    Today, in small towns across America, in cemeteries throughout our country and around the world, and here on these solemn hillsides, the families of our fallen share stories of the lives they led. Our hearts ache in their absence. But our hearts are also full -- full in knowing that their legacy shines bright in the people that they loved the most. Through almost unimaginable loss, these families of the fallen have tapped a courage and resolve that many of us will never know. And we draw comfort and strength from their example.

    We draw strength from the promise of their children. Today, Michelle and Jill are with 200 brave boys and girls whose parents gave everything they had in service to their country.

    The First Lady and Dr. Biden were seated in the audience with children who are participating in the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors' "Good Grief" camp -- a program that provides a safe and supportive atmosphere to help young survivors learn coping skills and identify support systems.


  • "We Stand in Awe of Your Service": President Obama Makes a Surprise Trip to Thank Troops in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan 14

    U.S. troops react as they shake hands with President Barack Obama at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Watch on YouTube

    President Obama made a surprise visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan today to thank the American troops and civilians stationed there for their service.

    Following an opening performance by Brad Paisley, the President addressed about 3,000 troops in a hangar on the base.

    He let them know that he was there "on a single mission" -- and that was to say thank you.

    "I thank you as your Commander-in-Chief because you inspire me," the President said. "Your willingness to serve, to step forward at a time of war, and say 'send me,' is the reason the United States stays strong and free. Of all the honors that I have serving as President, nothing matches serving as your Commander-in-Chief."


  • TAPS Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Good Grief Camps on Memorial Day Weekend

    Memorial Day is a very poignant and somber reminder for all Americans of the lives that have been lost in service to our Nation. This Memorial Day weekend, as the new Executive Director of Joining Forces, I have the deep honor of attending and supporting the 20th Annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors. These events, held in and around Washington DC, will have 4,000 participants this year -- more than 500 children. As a service member, and past participant in the Good Grief Camp, this weekend is especially meaningful. The loss and the grief for many is still fresh and for mentors and other volunteers -- the work is very personal. So too, is the national commitment to honoring the fallen and assisting their families -- thanks to organizations like TAPS.


  • Weekly Address: Paying Tribute to our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

    In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Memorial Day by honoring the brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country. As we stand with our veterans and military families this weekend, the President underscored our commitment to uphold our nation’s sacred trust with our veterans and ensure they get the benefits and opportunities they deserve and have earned.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

     

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, May 22, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, May 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


  • President Obama Promotes Local Jobs and Tourism While Protecting National Treasures

    President Barack Obama signs a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico, at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2014.

    President Barack Obama signs a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico, at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of the Interior blog. See the original post here.

    Today, we joined the community of Las Cruces, New Mexico to celebrate the President’s designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, a breathtaking set of mountain ranges and lowlands in southern New Mexico.

    This marks the 11th time the President has used his executive authority under the Antiquities Act to create national monuments, adding visibility and permanent protection to nearly 800,000 acres. Add that to the Wilderness areas and wildlife refuges he has protected during his Administration, and that’s more than 3 million acres of public lands preserved for future generations. And when the President signed the proclamation on Wednesday, he promised to do even more to protect our national landscapes and boost local tourism economies.


  • President Obama Nominates Julián Castro as Next HUD Secretary, and Shaun Donovan as OMB Director

    President Obama, with Vice President Biden, delivers remarks announcing his intent to nominate HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as OMB Director and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace him

    President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks announcing his intent to nominate Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as Office of Management and Budget Director and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace him, in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, in the White House State Dining Room, President Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).


  • Weekly Wrap Up: POTUS Takes a Walk, Baseball in Cooperstown, and More

    It was a busy week at the White House. This week, we got hyped up for next Tuesday's White House Science Fair; the Bidens traveled to Romania and Cyprus; the President took an unexpected walk over to the Department of the Interior; a new National Monument was designated; and the President talked baseball and tourism in Cooperstown. Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    Robots Invade the White House

    Robots, marshmallow cannons, and Bill Nye: These are just some of the things that we love about the White House Science Fair. Next Tuesday, students from across the country will head to the White House to put their projects on display. You're going to want to tune in.

    Check out highlights from last year's White House Science Fair:

    Watch on YouTube

    Need more science? Check out all of the incredible videos, vines, and gifs from past White House Science Fairs.


  • What CEOs are Saying: The Business Community’s Take on President Obama's National Travel and Tourism Strategy

    President Barack Obama feigns throwing a ball during a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., May 22, 2014.

    President Barack Obama feigns throwing a ball during a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., May 22, 2014. The ball was originally thrown by President Taft, the first President to throw a first pitch. Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson is at left and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson is at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Two years ago, President Obama set an ambitious goal: that the United States would annually attract 100 million international visitors by 2021. Yesterday, from Cooperstown, New York, he announced that we are right on track.

    More than 70 million travelers from around the world visited the United States in the last year alone, up from 55 million just five years ago -- and they spent more than $180 billion.  This growth in international visitors has also created approximately 175,000 American jobs over those five years.

    Using his pen, the President will sign a Presidential Memorandum calling for reductions in wait times for travelers at our 15 largest airports and take additional executive actions to encourage more international travelers to come to the United States, making it easier for foreign tourists to see more and spend more in the United States.

    That's a big deal, and will have a huge impact on our economy -- and CEOs and business leaders from around the country agree.  Take a look at what they're saying, coming out of yesterday's announcement -- and help spread the word.

    “We are particularly pleased about the firm commitment by the Administration to cut down the growing delays for airline passengers entering the country. We have been asked to participate in the public-private initiative announced today to explore all means of expediting processing of travelers at our gateways and will enthusiastically do so.”

    --Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines