The White House Blog: The President

  • 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:

    Watch on YouTube


  • West Wing Week 06/13/14 or, "I Am Hip to All These Things"

    This week, the President commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, hosted his first-ever Tumblr Q&A, and spoke to graduates of Worcester Technical High School.

    Watch on YouTube


  • Behind the Scenes with President Obama and Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp

    Earlier this week, President Obama sat down for his first-ever Tumblr Q&A at the White House. "We’re constantly looking for new ways to reach audiences that are relevant to the things we’re talking about," the President said about turning to Tumblr to answer questions about education and college affordability. As Karp said, Tumblr's large user base of young Americans made this a "natural spot to open a forum to pose those questions to the President." 

    Go behind the scenes with President Obama and Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp as they record a GIF backstage, and find out the President's official position on the GIF pronunciation debate:

    You should also read:


  • ConnectED: A Year of Action for American Students and Teachers

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on ConnectED at Buck Lodge Middle School

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks detailing progress toward his ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years, at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland, Feb. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    One year ago, President Obama unveiled his ConnectED initiative to empower students and teachers with technology in the classroom. The President called on businesses, states, districts, schools, and communities to support this vision, and through the power of his pen and phone, he is building momentum and we are seeing results. 

    Over the past year, the President has worked with the private sector to catalyze impactful commitments of free hardware, software, educational content, and wireless connectivity — amounting to over $2 billion in value for American schools. 

    On top of that, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has pledged to invest an additional $2 billion to connect 20 million more students to fast broadband and wireless in their classrooms over the next two years. Taken together, this represents more than $4 billion in public and private support starting this calendar year.

    This investment is the shot of adrenaline our schools need to surge into the 21st century. It is a major down payment on providing every child in America with the high-quality teaching and technological skills that they deserve, and the economy demands. 

    And we are keeping our foot on the accelerator.

    Today, we are announcing that the 10 companies who have made ConnectED commitments are making those private funding resources available to schools across the country, and information about these and other resources will be accessible through a new ConnectED Hub. 


  • President Obama Gives the Commencement Address at Worcester Tech in Massachusetts

    Watch on YouTube

    This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver the commencement address at Worcester Technical High School.

    In his remarks, the President congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments, letting them know that they stand out among other high schools across the country:

    I’m here today because there is nothing ordinary about Worcester Tech or the Class of 2014.  You have set yourselves apart.  This high school has set itself apart. 

    Over the past four years, some of you have learned how to take apart an engine and put it back together again.  Some of you have learned how to run a restaurant, or build a house, or fix a computer.  And all of you are graduating today not just with a great education, but with the skills that will let you start your careers and skills that will make America stronger.

    "The thing I really want to do," he said, "is make sure that what we've learned here at this high school we can lift up for the entire nation. I want the nation to learn from Worcester Tech."


  • A Step Toward Cleaner Air and Healthier Communities

    Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a vital component of the President’s Climate Action Plan – proposed common-sense carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. Since air pollution from power plants can worsen asthma and other breathing problems, EPA’s guidelines will help protect the health of vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly.

    In a big step forward, yesterday the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, a body representing more than 500 medical associations and organizations, voted to formally reaffirm their support for carbon pollution standards for power plants and committed to submit comments on the EPA’s proposal underscoring the need to keep strong standards that protect public health. AMA’s vote puts them alongside other public health organizations that have taken leadership on this issue, including the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association.

    In addition to cutting carbon emissions from the power sector by about 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, EPA’s plan will also decrease that sector’s emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by about 25 percent. From the soot and smog reductions alone, for every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan, American families will see up to $7 in health benefits.

    In the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and up to 2,100 heart attacks will be prevented. These standards will also help more kids to be healthy enough to show up to school – with up to 72,000 fewer absences in the first year. The benefits increase each year from there.

    It’s a big step toward cleaner air and better public health.


  • President Obama: "There's No Advanced, Developed Country on Earth That Would Put Up with This"

    Watch on YouTube

    During yesterday's Tumblr Q&A at the White House, the President answered a question on the epidemic of gun violence in America.

    "My biggest frustration so far," he said, "is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage." Talking about the increasing frequency of school shootings across the country, the President noted that the U.S. is the only developed country where this is routine.

    "The country has to do some soul-searching about this," President Obama said. "This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me."


  • Thoughts on Fatherhood in the 21st Century

    This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families in the 21st century, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.

    You can learn more about the Summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.


    Growing up, if I wanted to play catch, I often had to play it alone. Sometimes I'd even aim at a tree for lack of person with a glove at the other end of the yard. I admit, the tree wasn't a very good replacement. But when you're a kid -- and you don't have a dad to play catch with -- you'll toss a ball at anything. Even if that thing is a 40-foot-tall oak and unlikely to toss the ball back.

    In this respect, I'm probably not unique. Far too many children grow up without a dad in their lives, like I did. And for many, the effects cut deeper and last longer than being forced to have a one-way game of catch.

    I'm a father now. My daughter was born 10 years ago, and my son soon after. And one of my greatest challenges, having never grown up with a father myself, is figuring out what a dad is supposed to do. I got the memo about taking out the garbage. And I change more light bulbs than Thomas Edison. But when it comes to preparing your kids for the slings and arrows of life, that's something I've only learned about fairly recently.

    And here's the key: I only learned about it because I was able to make the time.


  • President Obama Signs the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, and Honors the "Borinqueneers"

    Watch on YouTube

    It was a busy morning at the White House today, as President Obama signed two bills into law — the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), and the 65th Infantry Regiment Congressional Gold Medal.

    In his remarks, the President first explained how the Water Resources Reform and Development Act will "put Americans to work modernizing our water infrastructure and restoring some of our most vital ecosystems."