The White House Blog: The President

  • President Obama Extends Warmest Wishes for Diwali

    Today, President Obama wished a Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate the festival of lights.

    Watch on YouTube

    In 2009, President Obama became the first U.S. president to celebrate the festival of lights, a time of rejoicing for many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and across the world.


  • President Obama Extends Warmest Wishes for Diwali

    Today, President Obama wished a Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate the festival of lights.

    Watch on YouTube

    In 2009, President Obama became the first U.S. president to celebrate the festival of lights, a time of rejoicing for many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and across the world.


  • Remembering Benjamin Bradlee, "One of the Most Respected Newsmen of His Generation"

    President Barack Obama awards the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ben Bradlee during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013.

    President Barack Obama awards the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ben Bradlee during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    When he retired as executive editor of the Washington Post, the entire newsroom was on its feet.

    He'd begun his career at the paper more than four decades earlier, on Christmas Eve of 1948, as a police and court reporter earning 80 dollars a week.

    In the decades that followed, he'd guide the paper through its most challenging moments. Under his watch, the Post would successfully challenge the Federal Government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, bring the events at Watergate to light, and usher in a "new era of investigative journalism," as the President put it when he honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- last year.

    His previous boss and publisher, Donald Graham, called him "The best American newspaper editor of his time."

    Benjamin Bradlee, the legendary 26-year executive editor of the Washington Post, died at home last night at the age of 93.


  • The President’s BuySecure Initiative: Protecting Americans from Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

    President Obama signs Executive Order to provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future

    President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order to provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the Government’s payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On Friday, President Obama signed a new Executive Order — the first part of the new BuySecure initiative — that takes critical steps to protect consumers’ financial security and improve confidence in the marketplace.

    The Executive Order itself will help by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the government’s payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools.

    In remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announcing the new BuySecure initiative, the President highlighted some of the specific steps that his Administration and the private sector are taking to improve Americans' financial security — and called on Congress again to enact overdue cybersecurity legislation that will protect Americans, particularly by clarifying companies' obligations when sensitive data is breached.


  • Here's How You Can Help With the Effort to Stop the Spread of Ebola:

    President Obama Convenes a Meeting on the Government's Ebola Response

    President Barack Obama convenes a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

     
    Looking for ways to help fight the global spread of Ebola? Regular Americans across the country are helping in a variety of ways right now. Here are a couple options available to you.

    Sign up to be a medical volunteer.

    If you're a qualified medical professional and want to volunteer to work in West Africa, the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) can connect you with reputable organizations who are active in the Ebola response. Click here to learn more.

    The CDC is also developing an introductory safety training course for licensed clinicians who want to work in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Africa. Learn more here.

    Click here to meet some of the CDC experts who have traveled to West Africa to help stop the spread of the disease.


  • “Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of this Generation”: The President’s Innovation Town Hall

    President Obama Speaks at Cross Campus

    President Barack Obama answers a question during a town hall at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, Calif. October 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Earlier this month, the President held a town hall meeting at Cross Campus, a collaborative work space in the Los Angeles Area that brings together entrepreneurs, freelancers, creative professionals, and other innovators, many from the millennial generation. A new White House report on millennials highlights the entrepreneurial ambition of this generation, with the majority interested in starting a new business.

    In conversation with the Cross Campus community, the President spoke about a wide range of issues of core importance to entrepreneurs (and considered a post-White House job offer from one of them, noting that “being able to dabble a little bit in the issues of the day while being in sweat pants and a baseball cap sounds pretty attractive”). Here are some highlights:

    Ensuring an Open Internet

    “I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality. I think that it is what has … unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don't want to lose that or clog up the pipes.”

    Fixing our Broken Immigration System

    “We know that when it comes to tech, a huge percentage of some of our biggest startups, like Intel and Google, were started by first-generation Americans, immigrants. We know that about 25 percent of our Nobel Prize winners in the sciences are naturalized Americans. And so the idea that we would make it harder for talent to come here -- especially when so often that talent is coming to study here, going to school here, wants to stay here, wants to work here, wants to invest here -- makes no sense… And what I’ve committed to is, is that assuming Congress does not act, I will use all the executive authority that I legally have in order to make fixes in some of the system.”

    Growing Startup Communities Across the Country

    “[A] lot of folks I think are working hard to make L.A. a model for innovation here in California, but also a model for what we need to see all across the country… Obviously, California is an epicenter of it, and Silicon Valley is the crown jewel of our innovation economy, but it’s happening in Kansas City. It’s happening in places in Colorado.  It’s happening in towns in Ohio. And everywhere you go, you see people turning great ideas into great companies.”

    Developing More Engineers

    “[T]here’s nothing wrong with folks obviously going into finance, but if our best talent for numbers are all ending up on Wall Street instead of ending up as engineers, then over time our economy is going to be out of balance… And we’ve actually got a public-private initiative to get 100,000 more engineers. A lot of that then is trying to tap new talent, people who probably would make great engineers but right [now] are ending up being diverted someplace else.”

    Tapping All of America’ Tech Talent

    “How do we encourage more women but also minorities into STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering, math. On average, wages are about 33 percent higher than non-STEM occupations, and yet, women are not at all represented the way they should be in these fields -- neither are African Americans or Latinos… We have an entire effort, through the Department of Education, giving grants and incentives to school districts to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to get into STEM.”

    Reducing Student Loan Burdens

    “We’ve acted to give nearly 5 million Americans the chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income, which means that they can afford to go out and take a risk.”

    Unlocking Entrepreneurship Through Affordable Healthcare

    “The Affordable Care Act means that if you’re a young entrepreneur, you don’t have to be locked into a job worrying that otherwise you won’t have health insurance because now you’re able to get an affordable plan through the marketplace exchanges that have been set up.”

    The Promise of Millennials

    “[Y]ou have the opportunity in ways that previous generations did not have to create something yourself, to be your own boss, to have flexibility with respect to your hours, to pursue your dreams, to raise capital in creative ways, to bust down some of the barriers … and gatekeepers that traditionally existed in every industry. And that’s hugely exciting.”

    You can read or watch the full town hall conversation, and the full White House report on millennials is available here. You can also learn more about the White House Startup America initiative to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs across the country.

    As the President said in LA last week, “when I come to places like this, it inspires me and reminds me of why I am chronically optimistic about the future of America.” Contact us and let us know how you’re building a strong foundation for entrepreneurs in your community.

    Doug Rand is Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


  • Weekly Address: What You Need To Know About Ebola

    President Obama Delivers the Weekly Address on Ebola Response

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. October 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms.

    The President made clear that he and his entire Administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


    Learn More:


  • West Wing Week 10/17/14 or, "The Geography of Hope"

    This week, the President continued to lead the federal Ebola response, met with members of the international coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL, and designated the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.


  • President Obama Names Ron Klain to Coordinate the U.S. Response to Ebola

    President Obama has asked Ron Klain to coordinate the government’s comprehensive response to Ebola. He will report to the President Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and his National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

    As former Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents, Klain comes to the job with extensive experience in overseeing complex governmental operations and has good working relationships with leading Members of Congress as well as senior Administration officials.

    Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad. As the President said, while "the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low" in the U.S., "we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government." Klain will be an integral part of ensuring that we effectively respond and ultimately bring an end to Ebola.

    Click here to learn more about the steps the Administration has taken to bolster our Ebola response and to learn what you need to know about the disease.

    President Obama Meets with Ron Klain

    President Obama meets with Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice-President and Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the Vice President in the Oval Office. May 21, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


  • Here's What You Need to Know About Our Response to Ebola Right Now:

    Note: For updated information on the Administration's response to Ebola, please visit WhiteHouse.gov/Ebola-Response

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, a health care worker from Dallas was transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment after contracting the Ebola virus while helping to treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to have the disease in the U.S.

    After meeting with his Cabinet officials and Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the President updated the country on our comprehensive strategy to contain the disease, prevent its spread in the U.S., and combat it at its source in West Africa. 

    "The dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low" in the U.S., the President said. "But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government."