The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Keeping Up the Demand for Action on Gun Violence

    It’s been two weeks since President Obama released his plan for reducing gun violence. Since then, the President and the Vice President have continued their push for common-sense steps to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence. They’ve spoken with mayors, law enforcement officers, and ordinary Americans about the plan going forward. They’ve continued to meet with experts about effective steps that cities and states have taken. And they’ve kept in contact with members of Congress about how to move forward on common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence.

    On January 17, the day after the President released his gun violence prevention plan, the Vice President spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the plan. Last week, the Conference officially endorsed the President and Vice President’s proposals.  

    Vice President Biden Addresses Conference of Mayors

    Vice President Joe Biden addresses the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, at the Capital Hilton, in Washington, DC, Jan. 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann).

    On January 24th, the Vice President participated in a “Fireside Hangout” hosted by Google, talking with Google+ users from across the country about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence. Catch up on that conversation now: 

    On January 25th, the Vice President traveled to Richmond, Virginia to hold a roundtable discussion with experts who helped improve Virginia’s background check system after the Virginia Tech shooting. Along with Secretaries Napolitano and Sebelius, Senator Tim Kaine, and Congressman Bobby Scott, they talked about what still needs to be done to make sure that there is a criminal background check for every gun sale in America.


  • Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden Visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with medical staff

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with medical staff during a visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany, Feb., 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited with Wounded Warriors and their medical caretakers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Landstuhl, Germany. 
     
    Landstuhl RMC is the largest U.S. military hospital outside the United States. It serves American servicemembers and their families who are stationed in Europe. Landstuhl RMC is also the nearest medical trauma center treating wounded U.S. servicemembers coming from Afghanistan. The center treats wounded coalition military members serving alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan as well.
     
    The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter thanked the combat-injured U.S. soldier for his service to our country and thanked his wife and their young son for their sacrifices. They also spent time visiting with two wounded soldiers serving in Afghanistan who were from the Republic of Georgia. Of the fifty-nation coalition providing forces in Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor, providing over 1,560 forces who primarily serve in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province.
     
    The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter also took time to specially thank on-duty medical caretakers in the surgical wards and the intensive care unit for caring for our Wounded Warriors. Vice President Biden said, “Even if there were no Wounded Warriors here to visit today, we wanted to stop by and visit with you to say thank you for all that you do for them. What you do is truly breathtaking. And because of you, our Wounded Warriors can return home alive to their mothers and fathers, to their wives and husbands, and to their sons and daughters.”


  • Law Enforcement Officials Discuss Keeping Our Communities Safe

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials to discuss policies the President put forward last month that would reduce gun violence in communities across America, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden continued the conversation about reducing gun violence in a meeting with law enforcement officials.

    No group is more important in helping make our communities safer, President Obama said, because they recognize that it’s not only the high-profile mass shootings that need to be addressed, but also the everyday gun violence that happens in cities and towns across the country.

    That’s why part of the conversation that we're going to be having today relates not only to the issue of new laws or better enforcement of our gun laws, it also means what are we doing to make sure that we've got the strongest possible law enforcement teams on the ground?  What are we doing to hire more cops?  What are we doing to make sure that they're getting the training that they need?  What are we doing to make sure our sheriff's offices in rural counties have access to some of the resources that some of the big cities do in order to deal with some of these emergencies?  

    Two weeks ago, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to help reduce gun violence, and called on Congress to pass laws that will help keep guns out of the wrong hands, ban assault and high-capacity magazines, make our schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. Read more about the plan here.


  • West Wing Week 01/25/13 or: “Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013”

    This week, Washington D.C. was transformed into an historic stage, with an estimated one million people on hand to witness the President and Vice President take the Oath of Office at the United States Capitol. Through it all, West Wing Week was there, from the terrace of the Capitol to backstage at the balls. America, take a moment to look back at where we've been this week for this special edition of West Wing Week, January 18th to the 24th, or "Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013."


  • Watch: “Fireside Hangout” with Vice President Biden on Reducing Gun Violence

    Vice President Joe Biden participates in a Google+ Hangout 1

    Vice President Joe Biden participates in a Google+ Hangout about the Administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence, in the Secretary of War Suite in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex. January 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    This afternoon, Vice President Biden sat down with Americans from around the country to talk about proposals to reduce gun violence in a live Google+ Hangout. During the virtual roundtable, participants from all different backgrounds asked the Vice President about topics ranging from an assault weapons ban to the Second Amendment and from mental health checks to making our schools safer. In case you missed the event live, check out the full video below, and learn more about the plan.

    This "Fireside Hangout" was hosted by Google and moderated by Hari Sreenivasan of PBS NewsHour with guests including: Guy Kawasaki, an author and technology expert; Phil DeFranco, a media entrepreneur and host of the Phil Defranco show on YouTube;  Theresa Ttillett, a mother and grandmother living in Hartford, CT; and Kimberley Blaine, a blogger and therapist who leads several parenting communities on Google+. This was the Vice President's first hangout, and the first White House hangout of the second term. 


  • Fireside Hangouts: Vice President Biden Joins a Conversation on Reducing Gun Violence

    Ed. Note: The hangout with Vice President Biden has concluded. You can watch the full video here.

    This week, the White House will continue a series of conversations with top administration officials on Google+. On Thursday, January 24 at 1:45 p.m. ET, Vice President Biden will join the latest “Fireside Hangout” – a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses – to talk about reducing gun violence.

    On January 16, President Obama and Vice President Biden released a plan to help protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence. The plan outlines specific, common-sense steps we can take right now to help keep guns out of the wrong hands, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, make our schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. Learn more about the plan here.

    During the hangout hosted by Google and moderated by Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour, Vice President Biden will discuss the White House policy recommendations on reducing gun violence. Google+ users from the around the country will join the discussion, including Guy Kawasaki and Phil DeFranco. If you have a question, you can suggest it by writing it on the participants’ on Google+ pages. Watch the hangout with Vice President Biden live on WhiteHouse.gov, or tune in to the White House's Google+ page or YouTube channel.

    We'll continue to host hangouts with key members of the President’s cabinet on a range of second term priorities. Follow us on Google+ for updates from the Administration and opportunities to participate in upcoming hangouts.


  • President Obama and Vice President Biden Take the Oath of Office

    Today, in two separate, private ceremonies, President Obama and Vice President Biden were officially sworn into office, marking the start of the second term. (The Constitution mandates that the President takes the oath on January 20. Since that date falls on a Sunday this year, the public inauguration ceremony and festivities will take place tomorrow, January 21)

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House on Inauguration Day, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama, holding the Robinson family Bible, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, stand with the President. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama took the oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, in the Blue Room of the White House, using a bible that belonged to First Lady Michelle Obama’s paternal grandparents.

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House on Inauguration Day, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama, holding the Robinson family Bible, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, stand with the President. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Vice President Biden was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in front of family and friends in a ceremony at the Naval Observatory. Vice President Biden took the oath using the Biden family bible.  

    Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden

    Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden during the official swearing-in ceremony at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington DC, Jan. 20, 2013. Dr. Jill Biden holds the biden family Bible. Also pictured, from left, are: Maisy Biden, Hunter Biden, Naomi Biden, Finnegan Biden, Natalie Biden, Kathleen Biden, Hunter Biden, Ashley Biden, Howard Krein, Beau Biden and Hallie Biden. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


  • Giving Back on the National Day of Service

    President Barack Obama stains shelves during a National Day of Service

    President Barack Obama stains shelves during a National Day of Service school improvement project at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, the First Family kicked off Inauguration weekend by participating in the National Day of Service, helping out with some school improvement projects at Burrville Elementary in Washington, DC.

    President Obama asked Americans around the country to take part in the National Day of Service to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday falls on Inauguration Day this year. The President and First Lady asked that we all remember the importance of giving back and looking out for others – both central to Dr. King’s work – as we celebrate this weekend.

    “This is really what America is about,” President Obama said. “This is what we celebrate.” He said that this Inauguration is “a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power, but it should also be an affirmation that we’re all in this together and that we’ve got to look out for each other and work hard on behalf of each other.”


  • West Wing Week: 01/18/13 or "#NowIsTheTime"

    This week, President Hamid Karzai came to the White House, as did nine newly posted foreign ambassadors and the President held the final news conference of his first term before signing executive orders initiating 23 separate executive actions to prevent gun violence.


  • President Obama Announces New Measures to Prevent Gun Violence

    President Barack Obama signs executive orders initiating 23 executive actions on gun control, Jan 16, 2013

    President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, signs executive orders initiating 23 separate executive actions, after delivering remarks to unveil new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Jan. 16, 2013. Joining them on stage are children from around the country who wrote the President letters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety, and their parents. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    President Obama today announced a series of sweeping reforms that will help curb gun violence in our nation.

    In front of a crowd that included victims of gun violence, families who lost loved ones to gun violence, elected officials, and school children who had written letters asking him to do something to prevent more senseless massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the President introduced a comprehensive proposal that will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and will give law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence, and keep our children safe.  

    “This is our first task as a society,” the President said. “This is how we will be judged.  And their voices should compel us to change.”

    These actions are the result of the effort led by Vice President Joe Biden and members of the Cabinet to come up with concrete steps that we can take right now to keep our children safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. 

    The President acknowledged that implementing some of these changes will be difficult, but vowed to make it a priority: “I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.”