The White House Blog: The President

  • A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Cody Keenan

    In less than a week, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address from the Capitol. I'm the President's chief speechwriter and today I'll be taking over the White House Instagram account to give you a look inside the process. I hope you'll follow along.


  • One Week from Today: State of the Union 2014

    JANUARY 28th, 2014  9PM ET State of the UnionOne week from today, President Obama will head to the Capitol to lay out his plan for the upcoming year of action in his fifth State of the Union address.

    The President's State of the Union address to Congress is part of a tradition that dates back to our Founding Fathers. Hear what Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff, had to say about why the speech is so important, and then RSVP to watch the address on Tuesday, January 28 at 9:00 pm ET.


  • Weekly Address: Making 2014 a Year of Action to Expand Opportunities for the Middle Class

    In this week’s address, President Obama said 2014 will be a year of action, and called on both parties to help make this a breakthrough year for the United States by bringing back more good jobs and expanding opportunities for the middle class.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3


  • President Obama Discusses U.S. Intelligence Programs at the Department of Justice

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks presenting the outcome of the Administration's review of the NSA and U.S. signals intelligence programs

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks presenting the outcome of the Administration's review of the NSA and U.S. signals intelligence programs, at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Jan. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of U.S. intelligence programs.

    The review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures.


  • Honoring Those Who Continue to Serve on MLK Day

    DC Central Kitchen Service Day

    President Barack Obama talks with daughter Sasha, as they along with First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughter Malia prepare burritos while volunteering at the DC Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Day January 20, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we honor Dr. King, who believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, by encouraging all citizens to make the effort to serve their community through volunteering.

    The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems. To honor Dr. King’s legacy and those that continue to serve, the First Family participated today in a service project at the DC Central Kitchen, where they prepared meals for distribution to local shelters. They served alongside veterans who have continued to serve in their communities through programs and organizations such as DC Central Kitchen, AmeriCorps VISTA, The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, Teach for America, and Team RWB. Joining Forces is proud to recognize DC Central Kitchen and the following veterans who continue to serve.

    Celebrating its 25th anniversary today, DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is the nation’s first and leading community kitchen. DCCK turns local produce and leftover food into 5,000 daily meals for struggling individuals and families. A portion of the meals are prepared by unemployed, severely at-risk men and women enrolled in the landmark Culinary Job Training program (CJT). CJT enrolls unemployed adults overcoming homelessness, addiction, and incarceration in a 14-week professional education program and prepares them for success in the kitchen and in life. DCCK has helped veterans with CJT, which has led to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for them.

    Aaron Parlier is a United States Army veteran who has continued his service through AmeriCorps. His optimism, determination, and passion for the outdoors has resulted in the first State Park bouldering and multi-use trail in Virginia. After serving in the United States Army as a paratrooper, Aaron joined the Virginia State Parks Interpretive Project AmeriCorps program while at Virginia Tech.

    Yolanda Adams joined the United States Navy as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman and served 24 years in the military. Yolanda earned a Mission Continues fellowship with The Bridge to Freedom Foundation, a young nonprofit that focuses on helping survivors of modern day slavery become self-sufficient and transition from slavery to freedom.

    Anthony Bari, Jr is a United States Marine Corps veteran who has continued to serve both through a Mission Continues Fellowship and as a volunteer with Team Rubicon. Anthony earned a Mission Continues fellowship with The United Way Campaign, where he works with middle school students as a tutor and mentor. In November 2013, Anthony joined Team Rubicon’s Operation: Seabird to provide disaster relief in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan.

    Tyler Wright served as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy and is an AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned to Student Veterans of America (SVA) through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps. In his assignment as a Student Veteran Success Corps and Outreach Coordinator, Tyler provides support to SVA’s new employment initiative, Student Veteran Success Corps, through chapter and company outreach while also assisting in chapter development and recruitment.

    We encourage every American to follow the example of these veterans and organizations and find ways to serve their community. From volunteering at a local charity, to creating care packages for our overseas deployed service members, or working at a non-profit, there are many ways to serve.

    To learn more about getting involved in your local community, visit serve.gov.  

    Commander Cara LaPointe, US Navy, is a White House Fellow in the Office of the First Lady


  • Taking Action to Expand College Opportunity

    President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit

    President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    With the growing demand for college-educated workers, a college education is one of the surest ways into the middle class.

    The Obama administration has already taken a number of steps to help more students afford and graduate from college, including doubling Federal investments in Pell Grants and college tax credits, reforming student loans, and taking new steps to reduce college costs and improve value.

    But while continuing to push for changes that keep college affordable for all students and families, President Obama believes that to lead the world in the share of college graduates by 2020, we can and must be doing more to get more low-income students prepared for college, enrolled in quality institutions, and graduating. And yesterday, a group of leaders in higher education joined the President and First Lady at the White House to take the next step toward ensuring that every child, rich or poor, has the opportunity for a quality college education so they can get ahead.


  • West Wing Week 01/17/14 or, "Give Peace a Chance"

    This week, the President sat down for lunch with young organizers who are working to help implement the Affordable Care Act, hosted the President of Spain and the Miami Heat, traveled to the home of the Wolfpack to announce a new, public-private effort to support investment in our manufacturing sector, announced his nominee to run the Small Business Administration, and spoke on expanding college opportunity, alongside the First Lady.


  • First Lady Michelle Obama: "Meet Troy:"

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Troy Simon

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Troy Simon, student at Bard College, backstage prior to the College Opportunity Summit on expanding college opportunity in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Earlier today, the First Lady sent the message below to the White House email list, asking Americans to make a local commitment to help at least one young person make their way into higher education.

    Didn't get the email? Join millions of other Americans and make sure you're in the loop.


    Hello, all --

    Today, I met a young man named Troy.

    Troy comes from New Orleans, where his family lived through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He couldn't read until he was twelve, and would regularly cut school because the other students would tease him. When he did attend, he'd shove desks, start fights -- anything to get him out of class.

    But then Troy saw his younger siblings start down a similar path. And he decided to make a change. He connected with his fifth-grade teacher, and enrolled in a program called the Urban League College Track. With the support of College Track and his teachers, he worked hard and made his way into high school -- and today, he's a sophomore at Bard College, studying American Literature.

    There are a lot of kids like Troy out there -- kids with all the potential in the world -- but far too many of them are slipping through the cracks. They're not making their way to college -- maybe because their parents never went, or because they've never been encouraged to believe they could succeed there.

    It's on all of us to help change that.


  • A Budget Deal That Invests in Our Youngest Children

    President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom

    President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In last year’s State of the Union address President Obama laid out his bold vision to expand access to high-quality pre-school to every child in America

    He called on Congress to help turn this vision into reality, not just because studies show that children who start learning at the earliest ages are more likely to succeed in school and in life, but because for every dollar that is invested in early education, we save multiple dollars in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime.

    You can find more about those stats and the President’s proposal in this blog post, but in short, an investment in America’s children is a great investment.

    The President also made it clear during last year’s State of the Union address that the Administration couldn’t do this on our own - we needed Congress to step up and do their part, and make America’s children a priority.


  • President Obama Nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet to Lead the Small Business Administration

    President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, as Administrator of the Small Business Administration

    President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, as Administrator of the Small Business Administration, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 15, 2014. At right is Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    America’s small businesses are on the front lines when it comes to creating jobs and new opportunities. They are the cornerstones of our communities, and can help lead the way as we continue to grow the economy and add jobs in the coming year.

    “They’re part of the pact that America makes -- the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then you can build something new,” President Obama said today.

    “And that’s the dream that brought generations of hardworking immigrants to our shores, and that’s the idea that drives small business owners to create new products and expand their businesses every single day.” 

    Maria Contreras-Sweet, who President Obama announced this afternoon as his nominee to lead the Small Business Administration, knows first hand what it means to start a small business, and has a proven track record of helping other small businesses succeed.