The White House Blog: The President

  • The President Talks Manufacturing and Innovation at TechShop Pittsburgh

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    Yesterday afternoon, President Obama stopped by TechShop Pittsburgh to talk about manufacturing and innovation, and answer some questions from those in attendance.

    TechShop, which has multiple locations across the country, describes itself as "part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hackerspace and part learning center." The company provides its members access to professional tools, equipment, and software, and gives them a space to make and design almost anything — all "for the price of a gym membership," as the President said yesterday.

    In his remarks, the President explained how technological advances are changing the face of manufacturing, giving more people the opportunity to be inventors and producers:

    Part of what’s exciting is that, traditionally, manufacturing was viewed -- and we’re in a steel town here in Pittsburgh -- that manufacturing meant big factories, all kinds of smoke and fire, and a lot of heavy capital. But because of advances in technology, part of the opportunity is now to make the tools that are needed for production and prototypes are now democratized. They’re in the hands of anybody who’s got a good idea.

    And what we’ve been trying to do is to encourage more and more entrepreneurs, inventors to not just take root here but also have access to the kinds of equipment and technology -- whether it’s 3D printers or laser cutters -- that allow them to design their own ideas, create prototypes, put them out to market, test them, tinker with them, refine them, and ultimately create brand new businesses.

  • A Historic Day for Our Judiciary

    This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:

    • Judge Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a lifetime-appointed federal judge in our nation’s history.
    • Judge Salvador Mendoza, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.
    • Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois.

    Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones:

    • For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day.
    • President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton.
    • President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush.

  • The Urgency of Immigration Reform: Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest

    It has been nearly a year since the Senate passed a strongly bipartisan immigration reform bill that would fix our broken immigration system, reduce federal deficits by nearly $850 billion, and increase GDP by $1.4 trillion over the next two decades. As the economic costs of inaction continue to grow, now is the time for the House of Representatives to do its part to get a commonsense immigration reform bill to the President’s desk. Simply put: The House can and should act before August. 

    Throughout this week, we will highlight the urgency and importance of attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Senate bill would effectively “staple” a green card to the diplomas of advanced STEM graduates from U.S. universities, so that these talented researchers have a chance to stay and contribute to our economy.

    Every foreign-born graduate with an advanced STEM degree is associated with, on average, 2.6 jobs for American workers. By some estimates, immigration was responsible for one-third of the growth in patenting in past decades, and these innovations contributed to increasing U.S. GDP by 2.4 percent. 

    When President Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of California, Irvine this past weekend, he told the story of just one of these talented graduates:

    There are people here who know what it means to dream.  When Mohamad Abedi was a boy, the suffering he saw in refugee camps in Lebanon didn’t drive him into despair -- it inspired him to become a doctor.  And when he came to America, he discovered a passion for engineering.  So here, at UC Irvine, he became a biomedical engineer to study the human brain.  And Mohamad said, “Had I never come to the United States, I would have never had the ability to do the work that I’m doing.”  He’s now going to CalTech to keep doing that work.

  • Tune In: A Conversation About Working Families' Issues With Labor Secretary Tom Perez

    This Wednesday, June 18, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez will be joining a digital conversation about how working families' issues -- from paid leave to other policies that offer more flexibility in the workplace -- uniquely impact low-wage workers.

    The conversation, which will be hosted and moderated by HuffPost Live, will include business leaders who have instituted these policies, workers whose lives they are helping, and business leaders who are advoacting on behalf of them. 

    Have a question that you'd like to ask the Secretary about workplace policies that can help more working families succeed?

    You can submit a video question or comment here.

    And if you've got a story to tell about how your family would be helped by 21st-century workplace policies, you can share it here.

    Wednesday's conversation is the digital completement to a series of regional roundtable events that have been happening across the country, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.

    To learn more about the event and how you can participate, visit


  • President Obama Speaks on Climate Change at UC Irvine Commencement Ceremony

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    On Saturday afternoon, President Obama addressed the University of California, Irvine's 2014 graduating class and challenged them to get involved in one of our planet's most pressing issues: the growing threat of a rapidly changing climate.

    Speaking to more than 30,000 people in attendance at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, the President told the UC Irvine community that he was there for one simple reason: because they asked.

    "The UC Irvine community sent 10,000 postcards to the White House asking me to come speak today," the President said. Some people tried to guilt him into coming, while others tried bribery. "I'll support the Chicago Bulls," someone wrote. And another student wanted the President to speak because she thought UC Irvine was "super underrated."

  • Weekly Address: The President Wishes America's Dads a Happy Father's Day

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, June 13, 2014

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Cabinet Room of the White House, June 13, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, President Obama wished America’s dads a happy Father’s Day and underscored the crucial role fathers play in our society. The President encouraged Americans to support those living without a father figure through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper.

    He also highlighted actions he is taking on behalf of hardworking, responsible dads and moms, such as hosting the first-ever White House Working Families Summit later this month, and called on Congress to do its part to help offer more parents the chance to work hard and provide for their families.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Weekly Wrap Up: Here's What You Missed This Week at the White House

    This week, the President hosted his first-ever Tumblr Q&A, congratulated graduates from Worcester Technical High School in Massachusetts, and took yet another step to expand opportunity for all Americans — and we had #LunchWithFLOTUS on Twitter.

    But that's just a little bit of what went on this week. Check out what else happened around the White House:

    @FLOTUS on #Twitter

    The First Lady hopped on Twitter yesterday for a Q&A on school nutrition and healthy school lunches. As part of her Let's Move! initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama has helped raise awareness around the importance of kids eating healthy and getting the nutrition they need.

  • Celebrating Fatherhood and Encouraging Mentorship with “My Brother's Keeper”

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

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    I would not be where I am today without the love, guidance, and support of my father. He taught me to work hard, to dream big, to give back to my community, and to always remember the responsibility I have to be a role model for my own children.

    But as we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, we must all be mindful of a tragic truth: Far too many children simply cannot count on the love and support of an attentive parent. This is not an individual problem – it’s a national concern that affects each and every one of us. And that’s why President Obama has launched a national call to action – known as “My Brother’s Keeper” – that’s bringing together government and private groups to address persistent opportunity gaps and provide young people with the support they need to stay on the right path.

  • 5 Questions on "Making" and the White House Maker Faire

    As OK Go helped us announce last week, President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire this coming Wednesday. In advance of that, I sat down with Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media, to answer a few questions on what makes making, Making. Also, here are a few ways you can join in on a Day of Making in conjunction with the White House Maker Faire on June 18, including following and tweeting #NationOfMakers.

    Phil Larson: What is “Making”?

    Dale Dougherty: Making can be called creating, producing, crafting, shaping, tinkering, composing, and building. It covers many areas of interest and many skills, and projects often combine several of each. Making sits at the intersection of art and science, and at the crossroads of technology and design.

    Today, Making is where hardware and software are re-connecting with each other, increasing our ability to sense the physical world and initiate actions that interact with us. This is what a robot does -- or autonomous vehicle or a solar-powered toy that comes alive by day.

    When we Make things, we learn to gain control over tools and materials. Makers are using new tools and technologies that are democratizing production. With better tools, more people can make things because it is easier to take an idea and develop it into a physical thing.

  • Responding to the Situation in Iraq

    Update: June 19, 2014

    Today, after a meeting with his national security team, President Obama delivered a statement from the White House Press Briefing Room on the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response. Watch his remarks below:

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