The White House Blog: The President

  • Announcing President Obama’s New Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship

    At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last October, President Obama announced that we would bring together a group of America’s best and brightest innovators to champion entrepreneurship both here at home and overseas. Together, these individuals would use their networks and platforms to stimulate a start-up culture in the United States and all over the globe. I am honored to chair this new group, the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE).

    President Barack Obama drops by the first meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

    President Barack Obama drops by the first meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


  • Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library

    Ed. note: Tune in to whitehouse.gov/live at 11:50 am ET to watch President Obama's remarks at the LBJ Presidential Library to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

    In early December 1972, heroes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, braved a rare Austin ice storm to convene at the LBJ Presidential Library for a Civil Rights Symposium. Towering figures like Hubert Humphrey, Barbara Jordan, Clarence Mitchell and Earl Warren rose to the stage in the course of the two-day conference to reflect on the movement they had helped to foster while examining the issues where progress was still needed.

    Among them was the host of the gathering, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the thirty-sixth President. It was he who, during the course of his five-year presidency, had sounded a death knell to racial inequality through a triumvirate of laws: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

    Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to the nation before signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to the nation before signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. East Room, White House, Washington, DC. 7/2/64.

    He considered the second—the Voting Rights Act—his greatest legislative achievement. As with all of them, it had come hard. In March 1965, after a protest march in Selma, Alabama, was brutally thwarted by state troopers, he stood before a joint session of Congress knowing that his plea for the law would fall on the deaf ears of segregationists in his own party. His voice strong, his will determined, he said:

    It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great president from another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact. A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

    What happened in Selma is part of a larger movement, which reached into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really, it’s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

    And we shall overcome.


  • President Obama Speaks at Fort Hood Memorial Service

    Yesterday, President Obama spoke at Fort Hood Military Base in Killeen, Texas to share his condolences after last week's tragic shooting at the base where Sergeant first Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sergeant Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, and Sergeant Timothy Owens lost their lives.

    "It was love for country that inspired these three Americans to put on the uniform and join the greatest Army that the world has ever known," President Obama said. "They lived those shining values -- loyalty, duty, honor -- that keep us strong and free."

    During his remarks at the memorial, the President explained that we must honor their lives "not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth."

    We must honor these men with a renewed commitment to keep our troops safe, not just in battle but on the home front, as well. In our open society, and at vast bases like this, we can never eliminate every risk. But as a nation, we can do more to help counsel those with mental health issues, to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are having such deep difficulties. As a military, we must continue to do everything in our power to secure our facilities and spare others this pain.


  • President Obama at Fort Hood: "It Is Love, Tested by Tragedy, That Brings Us Together Again."

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    Today, the President and First Lady traveled to Killeen, Texas to attend a memorial ceremony at the Fort Hood Military Base, remembering those who lost their lives in last week's tragic shooting at the base.

    During his remarks at the memorial, the President explained that we must honor their lives "not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth."


  • An Update on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

    President Barack Obama meets with foundation and business leaders to discuss "My Brother's Keeper," an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color

    President Barack Obama meets with foundation and business leaders to discuss "My Brother's Keeper," an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    “My administration’s policiesfrom early childhood education to job training, to minimum wagesare designed to give a hand up to everybody, every child, every American willing to work hard and take responsibility for their own success. That's the larger agenda. 

    But the plain fact is there are some Americans who, in the aggregate, are consistently doing worse in our societygroups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions; groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations. And by almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color.”

    President Obama used these words to launch My Brother’s Keeper, his initiative to help ensure that boys and young men of color in America have the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

    Since then, the public response has been overwhelming. We’ve heard from private philanthropies and businesses, mayors, state and local leaders, faith organizations, community based non-profits, and thousands of  interested citizens, all who are committed to creating more pathways to success for these boys and young men. We will continue to engage and listen to these critical voices and those of the boys and young men this initiative focuses on, as we continue to learn from the efforts of the many stakeholders who have been committed to this cause for years. And we will do our best to live up to the optimism and incredible expectations this initiative has unleashed. 


  • Taking Action in Honor of National Equal Pay Day

    President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014.

    President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama signed a new Executive Order to prevent workplace discrimination and empower workers to take control over negotiations regarding their pay.

    Just over two months after President Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors, he is again leading by example and taking action to protect American workers from retaliation if they broach the topic of unequal compensation. This is a problem facing a broad range of American workers, but women in particular are too often on the receiving end of subtle or overt penalties for even mentioning their pay.

    In addition, the President is asking the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation by race and gender — which will help employers take proactive efforts to ensure fair pay for all their employees.


  • Maria Contreras-Sweet Ceremonially Sworn In as Administrator of the Small Business Administration

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet,

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, with her husband Ray Sweet holding the bible, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama and Vice President Biden participated in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as the new Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Mrs. Contreras-Sweet is an excellent choice to lead the SBA, having served at high levels in both the public and private sectors.  Mrs. Contreras-Sweet served as the first Latina cabinet secretary in the history of California, oversaw one of the largest state government agencies in the country, and built a successful bank dedicated to serving traditionally underserved Latino communities from scratch. 

    Maria Contreras-Sweet is a champion for the success of small businesses; that’s why President Obama said during her nomination that “Maria Contreras-Sweet will help small businesses get their good ideas off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas not only in our domestic markets, but also overseas.” Strengthening the economy is the President’s top priority and Mrs. Contreras-Sweet will play an integral role by supporting small businesses with expanded access to SBA loans.


  • Rethinking High School: President Obama Announces New Youth CareerConnect Grants

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    "How do we start making high school ... more interesting, more exciting, more relevant to young people?"

    That's the idea behind the Youth CareerConnect grant program, which President Obama discussed this morning during his visit to Bladensburg High School in Prince George's County, Maryland. In his remarks, the President announced that Bladensburg High was part of a three-school team in Prince George's County that won a $7 million Youth CareerConnect grant. 


  • Behind the Scenes: “In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul”

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    Last month at the White House, the President and First Lady honored great “foremothers” of American music -- music legends and contemporary artists whose songs express the struggles and achievements of women. The program, “In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul,” included performances by Tessanne Chin, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monáe and Jill Scott, with Greg Phillinganes as music director.  

    Check out this behind-the-scenes look at the event, then tune to PBS tonight at 9:00 pm ET to watch the full program. Check your local listings for times and channel information.


  • Weekly Address: The President’s Budget Ensures Opportunity for All Hardworking Americans

    In this week’s address, the President highlighted the important differences between the budget he’s put forward — built on opportunity for all — and the budget House Republicans are advocating for, which stacks the deck against the middle class.

    While the President is focused on building lasting economic security and ensuring that hardworking Americans have the opportunity to get ahead, Republicans are advancing the same old top-down approach of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and slashing important investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3