The White House Blog: The President

  • Preparing Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change

    President Barack Obama drops by a meeting of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

    President Barack Obama drops by a meeting of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    We've been talking a lot recently about the need to rebuild and strengthen our nation's infrastructure. As the President has made clear, a world-class infrastructure system is a vital part of a top-performing economy.

    But there's another important reason why we need to rebuild our infrastructure: climate change.

    Communities across America need more resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change -- like more extreme weather and increased flooding. That's part of the reason why the President established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last November.

    The Task Force, made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country, advises the President on how the federal government can best help American communities dealing with the effects of climate change. Today, the Task Force came to the White House for their fourth and final meeting, and will give the President final recommendations this fall.


  • President Obama Hosts Iftar Dinner at the White House

    President Obama hosts 2014 Iftar dinner

    President Barack Obama hosts an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Last night, President Obama hosted his sixth Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House, an annual tradition started by First Lady Hillary Clinton when she hosted a Ramadan Eid celebration dinner in 1996. Many consider President Thomas Jefferson to be the first President to host an Iftar dinner, as he hosted a sunset dinner to accommodate the fasts of an envoy from Tunisia over 200 years ago.

    The Iftar is the meal after sunset that concludes the day of fasting during the month of Ramadan, a time to pray and reflect, to be reminded that we are equals in humanity, and to reaffirm commitments to helping the less fortunate, including those struggling from economic hardship and inequality.

    Last night, guests were welcomed into the East Wing where a copy of the Quran owned by President Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was on display from the Library of Congress. At sunset, guests gathered in the Grand Foyer to break their fast with a date following the traditional melodic Muslim call to prayer led by a local student from the University of Maryland. Then finally, after a 16-hour day of fasting since sunrise, guests gathered in the State Dining Room for a halal meal with the President.


  • The President Speaks on the Importance of Our Nation's Infrastructure

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, July 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This morning, President Obama took a quick trip across the Potomac to visit the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, a facility in McLean, Virginia that focuses on highway technologies that help make driving safer and smarter.

    In the President's remarks, he talked about the importance of investing in new infrastructure technologies and renewing the Highway Trust Fund, as well as Congress's continued inaction on important policies that would positively benefit millions of Americans.


  • In Case You Missed It: The President's Trip to Colorado and Texas

    Last week, President Obama took a trip to Colorado and Texas, meeting people who simply wrote him letters about how they're doing.

    The President stayed pretty busy on the three-day trip -- not only talking with the people that wrote him, but also delivering a speech on the economy, chatting with people on the street in downtown Denver, and playing pool with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, among other things.

    If you missed any of it, don't worry -- the latest edition of our "West Wing Week" video series features some amazing footage from last week's trip.

    Check out the highlights below starting at 2:22, and make sure to pass this on. (And if you want to write the President yourself, you can do that right here.)

    Watch on YouTube


  • The First-Ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., April 16, 2014. Students Zach Kuzma and Stephanie Womack demonstrate equipment that teaches students how to manipulate gears, pulleys, sprockets, etc. to adjust the speed and/or torque of a motor or system. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    To create new opportunities for more hard-working Americans, the President and his team are committed to advancing job-driven training initiatives that help American workers acquire the skills they need to succeed in good jobs that are available now. Expanding quality apprenticeship is a key strategy to make education and training programs more job-driven.

    As part of that effort, today, we hosted the first-ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship to gather the best ideas and to catalyze action to dramatically increase apprenticeship in America. More than 60 attendees presented their ideas — including leading employers, big and small, like IBM, Bank of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Oberg Industries; labor unions like the IBEW and SEIU; training providers like Ivy Tech and Lone Star Community Colleges; and local workforce leaders from states as diverse as Pennsylvania and South Carolina.


  • Weekly Address: Expanding Opportunity – It’s Time for Congressional Republicans to Do Their Part

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President recapped his visits with folks who have written him letters about their own American stories -- their successes and struggles. While congressional Republicans are blocking meaningful measures that would strengthen the middle class, the President continues looking for ways to grow the economy and expand opportunity for more hardworking Americans.

    The President again urged Congress to join him, as they were elected to do, in working on behalf of everyday Americans – including those the President spent time with this week – by investing in our infrastructure to support American jobs, and ensuring that the Highway Trust Fund does not expire.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: "The Departed," Pizza, Pool, and Fireworks

    This week, President Obama sat down with everyday Americans who wrote him from around the country; he grabbed some pizza and shot some pool in Denver; he chowed down on some BBQ in Austin; and we celebrated Independence Day at the White House. 

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    POTUS Channels "The Departed"

    Yesterday, President Obama capped off a three-day road trip with a visit to Austin, Texas, where he sat down for coffee with a letter writer, delivered a speech on the economy, and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint.

    In his speech at the historic Paramount Theatre, the President took a line from "The Departed" to describe Republicans in Congress:

    There’s a great movie called “The Departed” -- a little violent for kids. But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg -- they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking. And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, “Well, who are you?” And Wahlberg says, “I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.” Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, I’m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy.


  • West Wing Week 07/11/14 or, "Responding to Your Letter...In Person!"

    This Fourth of July week, the President welcomed some newly naturalized Americans, and spent time with middle-class Americans in Denver and Austin, while Dr. Jill Biden wrapped up a week-long trip to Africa. 

    Watch on YouTube


  • SupplierPay and QuickPay: Strengthening America's Small Businesses

    Today, President Obama announced the creation of SupplierPay, a new partnership with the private sector that will strengthen America's small businesses by increasing their working capital. He's also renewing the QuickPay initiative for federal small business subcontractors, which the President launched in 2011.

    If you're scratching your head and asking yourself, "What does that mean, exactly?" — don't worry. We'll do our best to break it down for you.


    Why do we need to strengthen small businesses?

    Small businesses are vital to our nation's economy. Not only do they employ half of America's workers, but they create almost two out of every three new American jobs, and they're often the source of great innovation.

    The Great Recession disproportionately affected small businesses, as they lost 40 percent more jobs than the rest of the private sector combined. Although they're still creating most of our new jobs, 66 percent of small businesses say that they find it "difficult to raise new business financing," according to a recent Pepperdine and D&B study.

    What's more, it often takes too long for small businesses to get paid for their products and services. Estimates show that the average small business invoice goes unpaid for almost two months, and "past due" payments are increasing. This causes small businesses to spend unnecessary funds in order to cover the cash flow issues caused by late payments — funds that could be spent on growing their businesses and creating new jobs instead.


  • A Day in the Life: Austin

    President Obama capped off a three-day road trip with a visit to Austin, Texas, where he sat down for coffee with a letter writer, delivered a speech on the economy, and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint.

    Relive the President's day in Austin right here. (And, if you want to write the President yourself, you can always do that here.)


    In the morning, the President grabbed coffee with Kinsey Button, who wrote him a few months ago.

    Kinsey Button is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. She wrote the President talking about her family's struggles, after both of her parents lost their jobs.

    Kinsey said she's always been passionate about politics and engaging with this country's most important issues -- but after the government shutdown last year, she wrote in her letter that she felt like Washington wasn't listening.