The White House Blog: The President

  • President Obama Calls on Congress to Protect Arctic Refuge as Wilderness

    Each year, as the darkness of the Arctic winter brightens into spring, as the snow melts and the hills and valleys slowly turn green, the tens of thousands of members of the Porcupine caribou herd begin their great migration — traveling some 1,500 miles through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain.

    This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.  

    But the majority of the Refuge is not protected as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain. For more than three decades, some voices have clamored to drill for oil in the Coastal Plain — a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence.

    Today, the Department of the Interior released a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan to better sustain and manage the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and President Obama took it a step further and announced his plans to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness:

    Watch on YouTube


  • Weekly Address: Middle-Class Economics

    President Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the University of Kansas, Jan. 22, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class.

    Through common-sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success.

    Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Watch President Obama's Interview with YouTube Stars

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    The East Room was transformed yesterday as three YouTube stars recreated their libraries and living rooms for an interview with the President. Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in live as YouTube creators Hank Green, GloZell, and Bethany Mota sat down for one-on-one interviews that covered topics from education and gridlock in Washington, to Cuba policy and how to get more young people engaged in politics.


  • Launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting

    We take it for granted that outdoor lights are there to help keep America moving after the sun goes down. But the outdoor lighting when you drive your car down the road at night, cheer for your favorite baseball team, or load groceries into your car after work uses energy and takes a bite out of budgets in cities and towns across the country.

    Outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume enough energy to power 6 million homes this year, costing cities about $10 billion annually.

    That is why we are working with mayors to deploy the latest technologies to determine how best to light their cities while saving money. Using today's new technologies, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. Today we are launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, and tripling the DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 poles to 1.5 million, to encourage more mayors to lead their cities with this win-win solution.


  • West Wing Week: 1/23/15 or, "B is for Believe"

    This week, the White House was a flurry of activity during the lead up to -- and aftermath of -- the President's State of the Union Address, featuring follow up trips to Kansas and Idaho, the second annual "Big Block of Cheese Day," and YouTube stars bringing their flair to the East Room to interview the President. That's January 16th to January 22nd or, "B Is For Believe."


  • How the President Will Help All Working Families with Young Kids Afford Child Care:

    President Obama plays with children at Child Center

    President Barack Obama gestures as he talks with Akira Cooper at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan. January 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


    "If we knew how to do this back in 1943 and ’44, and here we are in 2015, what’s the holdup? It is time that we stop treating child care as a side issue or a 'women’s issue.' This is a family issue. This is a national economic priority for all of us. We can do better than we’re doing right now."


  • An "Experiment" in Universal Child Care in the United States: Lessons from the Lanham Act

    In Richmond, California in 1943, approximately 35 nursery school units opened up as part of a city-wide child care program. 

    The country was mobilizing around World War II and increasing employment, particularly among women, had become a national priority. In the case of Richmond, the centers opened to help provide care for the children of women working in the nearby Kaiser shipyards.

    And heres how they were funded: Congress had passed the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940 -- popularly known as the Lanham Act.

    The law was passed in order to fund public works, including child care, in communities with defense industries. Under it, all families (regardless of income) were eligible for child care for up to six days a week, including summers and holidays, and parents paid the equivalent of just $9-$10 a day in today’s dollars. In addition to being affordable, this care was also high-quality. Many centers had low student-teacher ratios, served meals and snacks, and taught children arts and educational enrichment activities. 

    So, put quite simply: Most people don’t realize it, but we’ve done this before. And, it worked.


  • Upskill America: The President's Plan to Help Hardworking Americans Earn Higher-Paying Jobs

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    Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Boise State University in Idaho -- his first time in the Gem State. Here's why: 

    For six years, President Obama and the American people have been working hard to lay a new, stronger foundation for our economy -- one that's based on what works: middle-class economics. That means building an economy on the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot and can feel more secure in a world of constant change. 

    A key part of that is ensuring that millions of hardworking Americans have the chance to earn the higher-paying jobs of the future -- in coding, nursing, and robotics. That's why, in his State of the Union address, the President called on businesses to take the lead on helping their employees upgrade their skills without having to upheave their lives to do it. 

    That's why the President stopped in Idaho. He's calling on businesses across the country to "Upskill America" -- to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, high-paying jobs, even if they don't have higher education. 

    So here's what we know: 


  • Happening Today: YouTube Creators Interview President Obama Live from the White House

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    This is a pretty big deal:

    Each year, the President typically spends the days following a State of the Union address answering questions and elaborating on the plans he's laid out for the year. That can mean interviews with reporters, speeches across the country, or even chatting with folks from their homes.

    But because we're constantly looking for ways to reach folks we don't usually get to talk to, today we're doing something different:

    We've invited three of YouTube's top content creators to the White House to interview the President about the issues they -- and their audiences -- care most about. 

    You can watch it all live at 5 p.m. Eastern at WhiteHouse.gov/Live. And in the meantime, you can join the conversation online using #YouTubeAsksObama.


  • Precision Medicine: Improving Health and Treating Disease

    Last night, at his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he is launching a new precision medicine initiative that will help deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

    Many of you may be wondering: What exactly is “precision medicine,” and how can it transform medicine as it is practiced today?

    Today, most medical treatments have been designed for the “average patient.” In too many cases, this “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t effective, as treatments can be very successful for some patients but not for others. Precision medicine is an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles, making it possible to design highly effective, targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases. In short, precision medicine gives clinicians new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.