The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon April 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM EDT
President Obama last night joined Conan O'Brien onstage at the Washington Hilton for the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, and gave his fifth address to the organization of journalists who cover the White House. In his remarks, the President poked at himself, as well as some of the news organizations and politicians in the room. He also showed a spoof promo for Steven Spielberg's followup to "LIncoln," a biopic called "Obama."
But while everyone had a good laugh during the speech, President Obama closed his speech on a more serious note, reminding the audience of the important role the media plays in American society, especially during times of crisis like the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosion that killed so many first responders in West, Texas.
You can watch the entire speech below or on YouTube:
- Posted byon April 27, 2013 at 5:45 AM EDT
President Obama says that because Republicans in Congress allowed a series of harmful, automatic budget cuts—called the sequester—to take effect, important programs like Head Start are now forced to reduce their services. After travelers were stuck for hours in airports and on planes this past week, members of Congress passed a temporary band-aid measure to stop the cuts that impact airlines — but they must do more to stop cuts to vital services for the American people. That’s why it’s time for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that makes smarter cuts and reforms in the tax code while creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
- Posted byon April 26, 2013 at 5:30 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan make statements to the press prior to a bilateral meeting, in the Oval Office, April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama today welcomed His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to the White House, where the two leaders once again discussed the very urgent issues impacting that country, and the rest of the world.
President Obama met with the Jordanian leader last month on his trip to the Middle East, and this afternoon he thanked the King for his "extraordinary" hospitality, and praised his efforts to foster democratization, entrepreneurship and economic development inside Jordan. In remarks to the press before their bilateral meeting, the President said that he believes Jordan can be an "extraordinary model for effective governance in the region."
- Posted byon April 26, 2013 at 2:37 PM EDT
Today, President Obama spoke at the Planned Parenthood Conference in Washington, DC, reaffirming the core principle that has guided the organization for nearly a century: that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health.
President Obama thanked the doctors, nurses, advocates and staff who work tirelessly to keep the doors open for the millions of women who depend on the health services Planned Parenthood offers.
Somewhere there’s a woman who just received a new lease on life because of a screening that you provided that helped catch her cancer in time. Somewhere there’s a woman who’s breathing easier today because of the support and counseling she got at her local Planned Parenthood health clinic. Somewhere there’s a young woman starting a career who, because of you, is able to decide for herself when she wants to start a family.
“One in five women in this country has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care,” he said. “And for many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care -- not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling.”
- Posted byon April 25, 2013 at 6:15 PM EDT
Today, President Obama traveled to Waco, Texas to speak at a memorial service for those lost and injured in last week’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in nearby West, Texas.
The President honored the first responders and volunteers from the tight-knit community who rushed to the scene as soon as the fire alarm sounded, “farmers and car salesmen; and welders and funeral home directors; the city secretary and the mayor… folks who are tough enough and selfless enough to put in a full day’s work and then be ready for more.”
And together, you answered the call. You dropped your schoolwork, left your families, jumped in fire trucks, and rushed to the flames. And when you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought that blaze as hard as you could, knowing the danger, buying time so others could escape. And then, about 20 minutes after the first alarm, the earth shook, and the sky went dark -- and West changed forever.
“Today our prayers are with the families of all who we’ve lost -- the proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts,” President Obama said. “Our thoughts are with those who face a long road -- the wounded, the heartbroken, the families who lost their homes and possessions in an instant.”
- Posted byon April 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM EDT
This week, the Vice President traveled to Boston for a memorial for Officer Collier, and the President memorialized the victims of the West Texas explosion. The President also hosted the Amir of Qatar, the Teacher of the Year, the 3rd White House Science Fair, and visited Dallas with the First Lady for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
- Posted byon April 25, 2013 at 1:45 PM EDT
President Barack Obama stands with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Tex., April 25, 2013. Former First Ladies Laura Bush, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, are also pictured. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President and Mrs. Obama were in Dallas today for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. It was an historic occasion that brought all the living former Presidents -- Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- together for the first time since right before President Obama took office in 2009. They were joined by former First Ladies Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton (also a former Secretary of State, as President Obama noted) and Laura Bush.
In his remarks, President Obama highlighted the special bond that connects our past presidents, and said that despite disagreement on matters of foreign policy, all of the men on the stage with him shared "a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families. And we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the United States."
- Posted byon April 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM EDT
President Obama today met with Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar, a nation the United States works with on a range of issues, including security, military cooperation, commerce and trade.
In remarks following the bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, the President praised Qatar as "a center of innovation" and said the country has shown enormous progress ranging from education to health care under the Amir's leadership.
But President Obama said that most of the leaders' conversation was focused on security issues in that region, relating to U.S. interests and those of the entire world:
"We had a conversation about the situation in Syria. And obviously we've been cooperating closely with Qatar and other countries in seeking to bring about an end to the slaughter that's taking place there; the removal of President Assad, who has shown himself to have no regard for his own people; and to strengthen an opposition that can bring about a democratic Syria that represents all people and respects their rights regardless of their ethnicity or their religious affiliations. And I'm very pleased that we are going to be continuing to work in coming months to try to further support the Syrian opposition, and we'll be closely coordinating our strategies to bring about a more peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.
We also had an opportunity to discuss the situation in Egypt, where we both very much want to see success on the part of Egyptian democracy. And both of our countries are committed to trying to encourage not only progress in this new democracy, but also economic progress that can translate into actual prosperity for the people there.
We had an opportunity to discuss the situation with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we both agree that peace is in the interest of everyone -- a secure Israel side-by-side with a sovereign Palestinian state. And we exchanged ideas about how we can advance those negotiations, and I've shared the importance of providing support to President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority so that they can be in position to have fruitful negotiations with the Israelis that can bring about, in a timely fashion, a two-state solution.
And I had an opportunity to thank the Amir for the strong support that his country has provided to our efforts in Afghanistan, including the efforts that he has personally been involved with in getting a dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban that might potentially result in some sort of political reconciliation.
These are all very difficult issues and neither of us are under any illusions that they will be solved overnight. But what we agree with is that if our two countries are communicating frankly and constructively, and pursuing common strategies, that we can be a force for good for the entire region and for a vision of a Middle East that is democratic, that is prosperous, that is tolerant, that is representative of all peoples, and that is a force for good around the world."
- Posted byon April 23, 2013 at 4:30 PM EDT
Twelve years ago, Zillah High School in Washington state had no engineering classes. The science curriculum was lagging behind, and students had to go off campus to take technology classes.
Jeff Charbonneau, who returned to his hometown 11 years ago to teach at Zillah High, was determined to change that. And he did. Science enrollment is way up. Kids are graduating with college-level science credits. The school expects to have to hire more teachers now to meet the demand.
And today, President Obama honored Jeff as the 2013 National Teacher of the Year.
Jeff teaches chemistry, physics, and engineering, and works to create accessible, interactive lessons that help convince kids that the science classes most students consider hardest are worth diving in to, not running away from. But President Obama said that it’s not just his work in the classroom that distinguishes Jeff.
“He started an outdoors club,” President Obama said. “He brought his passion to the drama program. He’s even helping out other schools.” Because of Jeff, hundreds of students all over Washington are now participating in high-skills robotics competitions and gaining valuable engineering experience.
- Posted byon April 22, 2013 at 5:57 PM EDT
President Obama today celebrated the remarkable achievements of student science fair winners and extraordinary kid innovators from across the nation in the third White House Science Fair. The Fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
As the President said in 2009, when he announced the first-ever White House Science Fair, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you've produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”