The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon December 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM EST
Yesterday morning, Vice President Biden made a surprise visit to Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida to welcome over 300 sailors home from a seven month deployment to the Middle East.
The sailors serve on the USS Gettysburg, which was returning to its homeport in Mayport. The Gettysburg deployed last May – along with helicopters and crew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 (the “Spartans”, based at nearby Naval Station Jacksonville) – as part of the George H.W. Bush Strike Group.
As the Gettysburg slowly made its way into port, the Vice President said a few words to the hundreds of family and friends gathered to welcome home their loved ones. He was joined by Rear Admiral Nora Tyson, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 2 – the first woman in U.S. Navy history to assume command of a carrier strike group. The Vice President thanked the families for the sacrifices they have made while their loved ones served overseas. “They also serve who only stand and wait,” he said, quoting poet John Milton.
He also recalled his own son Beau’s homecoming after serving a year in Iraq.
“I learned early, early on,” the Vice President said, “if anyone got - no matter who it was, the president, the Lord almighty - got between his mother and him or his wife and him as he was getting off that bus, they would have been trampled.”
“I promise I'm not going to get between you and that ship coming in here,” he told the crowd.
- Posted byon December 7, 2011 at 11:14 AM EST
In August, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Pearl Harbor after his trip to Asia to pay his respects at the USS Arizona Memorial -- a 184-foot structure that rests atop the midsection of the sunken World War Two battleship.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona, one of 21 battleships attacked on December 7th, 1941, is the final resting place for 1,177 American crewmen. It represents the greatest loss of life on any ship that day and about half of the total number of Americans killed in the attack.
The Vice President, his daughter-in-law Kathleen, and his granddaughter Naomi visited the memorial at sunset, and had the opportunity to reflect on the overwhelming loss of life in the memorial’s sanctuary, where 1,177 names of the fallen are etched in marble on the wall.
After laying a wreath at the foot of the wall, the Vice President and his family silently sprinkled flower petals into the sea -- a symbolic tribute to all those lost in the attack.
- Posted byon December 4, 2011 at 8:28 PM EST
Vice President Joe Biden had one last stop to make in Istanbul earlier today before departing for Athens - the last leg of his trip through the region.
Samatya Square -- a traditional neighborhood in the Fatih district of Istanbul -- is home to all sorts of vendors and food stands carrying local specialties.
The neighborhood is said to represent a "mosaic of life" in Istanbul, having been home to Turks and various minority groups for centuries.
Vice President Biden walked through the cobblestone streets stopping in stores and picking up a few things. On the Vice President's shopping list: oranges, tangerines and other fruit as well as olives and cheeses.
Vice President Joe Biden visits a shop in the Samatya Square neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, December 4, 2011. (by David Lienemann)
- Posted byon December 3, 2011 at 4:30 PM EST
Following their meeting, the Vice President and the Ecumenical Patriach were joined by members of the Holy Synod, Metropolitans, and Greek community leaders for continued discussions - not to mention an abundance of the local dessert of choice, Turkish Delight.
Vice President Biden then had the opportunity to tour the Church of St. George at the Patriarchate with His Eminence Archbishop Demitrios Trakatellis, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, with whom the Vice President recently met in New York City. A beautiful day in Istanbul, the tour included a stroll through the Church's mosaic adorned courtyard. It was a special honor to later light a candle at the Church with the Ecumenical Patriarch.
- Posted byon December 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM EST
Earlier today in Istanbul, Vice President Biden addressed the second Global Entrepreneurship Summit, convened by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Vice President is leading the U.S. delegation to the summit, which follows the 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship hosted by President Obama in Washington, D.C.
This year’s summit comes at a critical moment in the Middle East and North Africa as millions have risked their lives for political freedom and economic opportunity.
"Democratic revolutions like the ones in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya -- and the ones still unfolding in Syria and Yemen --are imbued, literally imbued with entrepreneurial spirit, a spirit that requires risk and initiative, steadfast determination, and a unifying idea," said Vice President Biden. "They aim to do more than merely change the government which is in power, but also to end practices like authoritarianism, corruption, the stifling of free expression -- practices that make political and economic freedom impossible."
The Vice President also highlighted how entrepreneurs are a driving force for job creation and economic growth in the United States.
"Once, the wealth of a nation was primarily measured by the abundance of its natural resources, the expanse of its landmass, the size of its population and the power of its armies," the Vice President said. "Today, the true wealth of a nation is found in the creative minds of its people and their freedom and ability to bring those ideas to life -- to develop not only new products, but the technologies that will create entirely new industries, entire new markets, entire new opportunities."
- Posted byon December 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM EST
Speaking at an event in Baghdad to honor the shared sacrifice and commitment of American and Iraqi servicemembers, Vice President Biden heralded a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and Iraq – one rooted in civilian cooperation as the remaining American troops prepare to return home by the end of this year. More than 200 U.S. and Iraqi servicemembers attended the event at Al Faw Palace - a former palace of Saddam Hussein.
“Today we come together at another moment of transition,” said Vice President Biden. “In America, and in Iraq, the tide of war is receding. And our relationship, borne on the battlefield and long defined by the imperative of security alone, is now giving way to a new, more normal partnership between sovereign nations seeking to build a future together.”
In reflecting on the 4,486 American servicemembers who lost their lives in the war in Iraq, and the more than 30,000 wounded, the Vice President quoted President Harry Truman in describing the end of the war as a “solemn but glorious hour.”
The event capped two days of productive talks in Baghdad with Iraqi political leaders – including a meeting of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee – all focused on the transition to an Iraq in control of its own security, with the United States as an enduring strategic partner across a broad range of areas. From energy development, to trade, to the rule of law, to agriculture, to education – these areas of cooperation defined by the Strategic Framework Agreement offer an “opportunity to help a new Iraqi democracy secure its place in the community of responsible nations,” the Vice President said.
From Baghdad, Vice President Biden traveled to Erbil where he met with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.
The next stop for the Vice President: Ankara, Turkey, the first leg on a four-day visit to Turkey and Greece.
Related: See the slideshow from the Vice President's trip to Iraq
- Posted byon November 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM EST
This morning, the Vice President arrived in Baghdad.
He's there to co-chair a meeting of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee and speak at a ceremony honoring the sacrifices of both U.S. and Iraqi troops -- and the victories they've won.
That ceremony takes on particular significance because, between now and the end of the year, the last of the American servicemembers stationed in Iraq will come home, as President Obama has repeatedly promised.
While in the country, Vice President Biden will also hold talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, and other political leaders.
They'll discuss ways in which our two countries can deepen our cooperation on a range of policies -- from trade to energy to technology.
- Posted byon November 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM EST
Without a vote from Congress, taxes for nearly every American will go up on January 1, 2012. The American Jobs Act would expand existing tax cuts and put more money in your pocket. This morning, Vice President Joe Biden sent the email below to the White House email list, asking folks to check out our calculator to see how your own bottom line would be impacted. At 12:15 p.m. EDT today, President Obama will discuss the importance of the American Jobs Act and tax cuts for the middle class. Watch live at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
If you didn't get the email, but sure to sign up for the White House email list.
I'll cut to the chase: If Congress doesn't act soon, middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up starting on January 1st, taking almost $1,000 out of the pockets of a typical family next year.
Last year, President Obama and members of both parties in Congress cut the payroll tax for 155 million workers, putting money in your pockets. Now, that tax cut is expiring. So in September, the President and I proposed extending that tax cut and cutting your taxes even further: giving the typical family a $1,500 tax cut. Steps like this won't just help families feel more secure in their budgets, it'll give them more money to spend at local businesses that will hire more people and make investments in new equipment too.
We thought the extension would win bipartisan support again. How could Republicans in Congress, some of whom have pledged not to raise taxes by a penny, oppose extending the same tax cuts they just passed? But after years of protecting expensive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, many Republicans now say we should let this middle-class tax cut expire.
There's a lot at stake here for you and your family, and the better folks understand how much more they may have to pay, the easier it will be to get Congress to do the right thing. We've put together a calculator to show how much of your money hangs in the balance.
- Posted byon November 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM EST
On November 18, 2010 Vice President Biden joined thousands of people from around the country in telling LGBT young people that “It Gets Better.” Watch the video here.
The teenage years are a difficult time in anyone’s life. But those years are much harder to endure for young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and face bullying and harassment from their own peers as a result. The It Gets Better campaign was created after a spate of bullying-related suicides to tell these young people that life has far more in store for them.
Vice President Biden knows what it’s like to be bullied. “They made fun of me because I stuttered,” he said in his video message. “And it hurt.”
Through the support of his parents, the Vice President said he was able to recognize that “the fact that I stuttered didn’t make me less bright, it didn’t make me less worthy or less of a person.”
He reminded young people that “one day not long from now you’re going to look back on this time in your life, and you’ll be incredibly proud that you’re able to get through it, too.”
“Things do get better,” he said. “You might not be able to see it right now, but it’s there and it’s waiting for you.”
- Posted byon November 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM EST
On November 13th, 2011, Vice President Biden delivered a speech to over 2,000 rabbis, educators and Jewish community and business leaders in Detroit. The remarks, included below, were made at the anniversary dinner of Yeshiva Beth Yehuda, the oldest and largest Jewish schools system in Michigan.
VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN
DELIVERS REMARKS TO THE
YESHIVA BETH YEHUDA ANNIVERSARY DINNER
Renaissance Center Marriott Hotel
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I understand I’m not even the end of the program. (Laughter.)
Well, first of all, let me thank Debbie for inviting me. And she is correct, everyone knows about you in Washington. And everyone knows something else -- at least Joe Biden knows -- when Debbie Stabenow asks you something, just say yes the first time. Don’t say, I have to check my schedule. Don’t say, I’m not sure -- just say yes. Governor, start listening to her. Say yes, because Carl and everyone else listens to her. (Applause.)
By the way, Governor, it’s an honor to be with you tonight. I appreciate your -- being with you. I think we can call a quorum of the United States Congress here today. (Laughter.) To all my former colleagues in the House and the Senate, I say thank you for allowing me to be here with you.
Ladies and gentlemen, 97th anniversary -- I’m told you began with a weekly class of just five students some 97 years ago. And now, you’re the largest Jewish school system in the state. And nearly a century -- for nearly a century you’ve set a standard for excellence not just in Jewish education, but in education period, preparing each generation for leadership and service in the community, which is an unyielding Jewish tradition.