The White House Blog: The President

  • President Obama Provides an Update on the Latest in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri

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    This afternoon at the White House, President Obama delivered a statement on the latest developments in Iraq and in Ferguson, Missouri — two issues he has been following closely each day.

    First, the President relayed to the nation that the American operation in Iraq has effectively protected our personnel by stopping the terrorist group ISIL from advancing on the city of Erbil, and by helping Iraqi forces to recapture the largest dam in Iraq:

    The Mosul Dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq. If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would have threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endangered our embassy compound in Baghdad. Iraqi and Kurdish forces took the lead on the ground and performed with courage and determination. So this operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together in taking the fight to ISIL. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.


  • From the Archives: Air Force One and Presidential Air Travel

    • President Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrates his 61st birthday on the Dixie Clipper

      President Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrates his 61st birthday on the Dixie Clipper while flying from Trinidad to Miami. 1/30/1943

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    • President Harry S. Truman’s Presidential Airplane, the Independence

      President Harry S. Truman’s Presidential airplane, the Independence, in flight over an unknown location. 1950

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    • The Columbine II Sits on the Tarmac in Washington, D.C.

      The Columbine II sits on the tarmac in D.C. awaiting the arrival of President Eisenhower. 2/23/1953. (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

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    • President John F. Kennedy Arrives in Alameda, California

      President John F. Kennedy arrives in Alameda, California. 3/23/1962

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    • President Lyndon B. Johnson Holds Grandson Patrick Lyndon Nugent

      President Lyndon B. Johnson holds his grandson Patrick, who plays with the telephone as First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and Luci Johnson look on. 3/2/68

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    • Arrival of Air Force One in Peking, China

      Arrival of Air Force One in Peking, China. 2/21/1972

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    • First Lady Betty Ford and President Gerald Ford Inside Air Force One

      First Lady Betty Ford and President Gerald Ford inside Air Force One after Sara Jane Moore’s assassination attempt. 9/22/1975

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    • President Jimmy Carter with White House Staff Aboard Air Force One

      President Jimmy Carter with White House staff aboard Air Force One. 7/20/1977

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    • President Ronald Reagan Sitting with the Crew in the Cockpit of Air Force One

      President Ronald Reagan sitting with the crew in the cockpit of Air Force One. 3/16/1982

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    • President George Bush is Welcomed by Military Personnel

      President George Bush is welcomed by Military Personnel to Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10/28/1990

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    • President William J. Clinton on Air Force One

      President William J. Clinton speaking on the telephone to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from his office on Air Force One. 9/9/1993

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    • Air Force One Landing At Buyant-Ukhaa Airport

      Air Force One landing At Buyant-Ukhaa Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 11/21/2005

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    • President Barack Obama Plays With Bo

      President Barack Obama plays with Bo aboard Air Force One during a flight to Hawaii. 12/23/2011 (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • President Barack Obama Looks Out the Windows of Air Force One

      President Obama looks out of Air Force One with Nicky and Zachary DeParle. 12/23/2011 (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    • President Barack Obama and White House Staffers Aboard Air Force One to Paris

      President Obama and White House staffers aboard Air Force One look at Reggie Love's photos of Egypt on June 5, 2009. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern Presidents have access to a variety of transportation options, including flying aboard Air Force One. Strictly speaking, the term “Air Force One” is used to describe any Air Force aircraft when the President is on board, but since the middle of the 20th century, it has been standard practice to use the title to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief.


  • Weekly Address: Everyone Should Be Able to Afford Higher Education

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 8, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    In this week’s address, with schools getting ready to open their doors again over the next few weeks, the President talked directly to students and parents about the importance of preparing for an education beyond high school.

    In today’s economy, some higher education continues to be the surest ticket to the middle class, but for too many families across the country, paying for higher education is a constant struggle. The President and First Lady know this first hand -- they only finished paying off their student loans 10 years ago -- and that’s why they have made it a priority to help make college more affordable for families. They have taken action to reform student loans, expand grants and college tax credits, help make loan payments more manageable, and have proposed plans to make sure colleges also do their part to bring down costs. And just this week, as part of the President’s Year of Action, the administration announced a new series of commitments to support students who need a little extra academic help getting through college.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: Iraq and Ferguson, Raising the Wage, and Modernizing Government

    This week, President Obama gave updates on the continuing humanitarian crisis in Iraq and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri; the White House announced progress on raising the minimum wage; and the Administration launched the U.S. Digital Service to help modernize our government.

    Check out what else you may have missed this week in our weekly wrap up.


    A Statement on Iraq and Ferguson

    Yesterday, President Obama delivered a statement about what's happening in Iraq. He said that although conditions are still dire for Iraqis who are "subjected to ISIL's terror throughout the country," the situation for civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar has "greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts."

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    The President also spoke about the events in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He called on the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney on the scene to work with local officials in making sure the investigation is open and transparent. "Now is the time for healing," he added.

    I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest; a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us; and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.


  • Catch the Rising Tide of U.S. Travel Jobs, Exports

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Tradeology, the official blog of the International Trade Administration. You can see the original post here.

    Whatever your fancy -- toes in sand, skis in fresh powder, or your golf ball in the middle of the fairway (we hope) -- your travel plans support millions of jobs throughout the United States.

    We have the data to prove it: New data from the Department of Commerce show the travel and tourism industry supported 7.6 million jobs in 2013, up 146,000 jobs from 2012.


  • The President Gives an Update on Iraq and the Situation in Ferguson, Missouri

    President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situations in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri, from Edgartown, Massachusetts

    President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situations in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri, from Edgartown, Massachusetts, August 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This afternoon, President Obama updated the nation on two issues that he's been monitoring closely over the past several days -- America's military operations in Iraq, and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

    Speaking first on Iraq, the President noted the progress the U.S. has made in carrying out "targeted military operations" in the country:

    Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.

    A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.


  • President Obama Issues a Statement on the Death of Michael Brown

    This afternoon, President Obama issued a statement on the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot on Saturday by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri:

    The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time.  As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed.  I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding.  We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.  Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.


  • President Obama on the Passing of Robin Williams: "He Was One of a Kind"

    President Obama released a statement this evening, following the passing of legendary stand-up comedian and actor Robin Williams:

    Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien -- but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most -- from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.

    Robin Williams in Afghanistan

    Comedian Robin Williams visits with Commanding General of Combined Task Force 101 U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell after the USO Holiday Tour show at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on Dec.15, 2010. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Navy, and his wife Deborah are hosting the holiday tour featuring Williams and comedians Lewis Black and Kathleen Madigan, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and country musicians Kix Brooks and Bob Dipiero touring the Central Command area of responsibility. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, U.S. Navy. (Released)


  • President Obama Discusses the Latest Developments in Iraq

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    This afternoon, President Obama gave an update on the most recent developments in Iraq.

    First, the President noted that U.S. forces have "successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to protect American civilians there." He also addressed our ongoing humanitarian efforts to help those who are stranded on Mount Sinjar, adding that we've deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help.

    "Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain," he said, "and we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety."

    The President reiterated that "the only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government," and highlighted important steps Iraq is taking in that effort:


  • President Obama Signs Bill to Support the Needs of People with Autism

    On Friday, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act, or Autism CARES Act of 2014, into law. Autism CARES, which reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act, continues important investments in research, prevalence monitoring and services for both children and adults on the autism spectrum. 

    Approximately $1.5 billion has been dedicated to autism spectrum disorders research over the past five years through the combined efforts of U.S. government agencies and private organizations. This investment has helped to support progress in key research areas such as identifying risk factors, treatments and interventions, services, and data collection. The Department of Health and Human Services also supports the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, which trains health professionals from a variety of disciplines in evidence-based ASD practice and also supports states in developing and improving the system of health care for autism spectrum disorders, including early identification and coordination of care. 

    The Autism CARES Act will allow us to continue to build on these efforts. It will increase understanding of the barriers that youth and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disability face as they transition from school-based services to those available during adulthood by charging federal agencies with assessing the particular needs of this population.