The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon September 8, 2011 at 9:02 AM EST
As part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Vice President Joe Biden hosted a screening for Washington, DC area college students of REBIRTH, a documentary film that chronicles the lives of five people directly affected by the events on 9/11. The film follows a survivor from the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC); a firefighter who survived the collapse of the WTC but lost his best friend; a high school student who lost his mother; a young woman who lost her fiancé; and a construction worker who lost his brother, assisted with recovery efforts, and is presently helping to build the Freedom Tower.
The area college students were invited to the White House screening to reflect on the tragic events that shaped their generation and their country, and that continue to affect the world today. In remarks introducing the film, Vice President Biden emphasized the extraordinary ability of America to find renewal and rebirth even in its darkest hours and praised the courage and determination of the survivors and family members struggling to find renewal in their own lives.
- Posted byon September 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM EST
Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by daughter-in-law Kathleen and his granddaughter Naomi, recently visited Pearl Harbor 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. This year 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 and his family visited the memorial at sunset, and were given a tour by Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Vice President had the opportunity to personally 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. Admiral Walsh noted that survivors of the attack have the right to again join their brothers in arms by designating that their final resting place be with their shipmates interred beneath the sea in the USS Arizona.
- Posted byon September 1, 2011 at 5:46 PM EST
Welcome to West Wing Week, your guide to everything that happens at 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue. This week we are broadcasting dispatches from Vice President Joe Biden's trip through China, Mongolia and Japan.
In between meeting with world leaders and speaking with locals, the Vice President took in the sights, sounds and culture of the far east. Join the Vice President as he opens new channels of communication with China, gets to know Mongolian leaders and culture at a traditional Naadam festival and visits Japanese communities recovering from the March earthquake and tsunami before speaking to US troops in Tokyo and Hawaii
- Posted byon August 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM EST
A quick look at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
#VPinAsia: The Vice President spent the last week traveling through Asia and meeting with leaders in the region. He delivered a major speech in China, met with the Prime Minister of Mongolia, and paid tribute to the enduring spirit of the Japanese tsunami survivors.
Hurricane Irene: The President has urged Americans to take this storm seriously. With the hurricane poised to reach the east coast this weekend, it is important to take steps ensuring your preparedness. We've compiled a list of helpful resources in case you are in the projected path of the hurricane.
Libya: Following a call with the National Security Council, President Obama spoke about the evolving situation in Libya. President Obama said, "The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," making it clear that the courage of the Libyan people has brought freedom within reach.
- Posted byon August 26, 2011 at 6:01 AM EST
Vice President Biden arrived In Tokyo late Monday evening -- the final leg of his trip through Asia. As he told Prime Minister Naoto Kan, he came to Japan for two main reasons: to express sympathy, admiration, and continued support from the U.S. in the wake of the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and to reiterate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance. "We [the United States] are a Pacific power. You are a Pacific power. You are our ally," said the Vice President.
From Tokyo, he traveled 90 miles north to the Sendai region -- one of the hardest hit by the tsunami last March. Delivering remarks on the second floor of Sendai International Airport's main terminal -- where hundreds of residents from nearby neighborhoods fled to escape the tsunami's path -- Vice President Biden praised U.S. Forces Japan for working around the clock to clear debris and repair a runway that enabled the arrival of hundreds of relief workers, and hundreds of tons of humanitarian assistance.
Vice President Biden also paid tribute to the "incredible spirit" of the Japanese people. The Japanese "remind the world of something equally as forceful as the force of nature," said Vice President Biden. That spirit "is equally as formidable, particularly when we join together in the most trying of times," he said.
After paying his respects at a memorial site where the town of Natori once stood, the Vice President took a short ride to a temporary housing facility that hundreds of Natori residents now call home. Meeting with displaced survivors and listening to their stories, the Vice President pledged that "America isn't going anywhere" and that U.S. assistance will be available as long as they need it.
Vice President Biden concluded his trip to Japan by delivering remarks to U.S. service members and their families at Yokota Air Base -- headquarters of U.S. Forces Japan. In his speech, the Vice President thanked the troops for their quick and decisive efforts to help the Japanese people and provide critical assistance in the aftermath of the disaster.
- Posted byon August 26, 2011 at 5:46 AM EST
This week we bring you Mailbag Day, Summer Edition 2011 where we respond to some of your emails and letters. Also this week, the President addresses the situation in Libya, monitors Hurricane Irene, and Vice President Biden travels to Asia to re-emphasize our strong economic and diplomatic ties to Asian nations. Plus, the White House experiences a little shake.
- Posted byon August 24, 2011 at 3:43 PM EST
Arriving at Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan Airport on Monday, Vice President Biden was formally welcomed to Mongolia – the second country on his trip through Asia – by Prime Minster Sukhabaatar Batbold and the sounds of a 32-person honor guard.
From there, it was off to the Government House, set on Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar Square, for meetings with Prime Minister Batbold and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
Speaking after his meeting with Prime Minister Batbold, Vice President Biden praised Mongolia’s 22 years of democracy. “Mongolia is not just a shining example for other nations in transition,” said the Vice President, “it’s an emerging leader in the worldwide democratic movement, a responsible actor on the world stage, and a close friend and partner of the United States.”
Vice President also thanked Mongolians for their contributions to international peace and security. Over the past decade, Mongolia’s army, trained as peacekeepers, has been deployed to countries around the world, including Sierra Leone, Chad, Darfur, Kosovo and Western Sahara, as well as tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before his meeting with President Elbegdorj, Vice President Biden paid a visit to the President’s ceremonial ger – a traditional tent still used by nomadic Mongolians – set up on the fifth floor of the Government House.
After a morning of official business came the ultimate Mongolian cultural experience – a mini-Naadam festival in a field just outside of Ulaanbaatar at the foot of rolling hills encircling the capitol city. Naadams – traditional Mongolian festivals held throughout the country during the summertime – showcase the “Three Games of Men”: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. The Naadam for Vice President Biden also included traditional music and dance performances, as well as the ceremonial presentation of a gift horse, which the Vice President named Celtic.
For more information about the Vice President's trip to Asia, check out our photo galleries from China and Mongolia and watch his first travelogue from the road. You can follow the Vice President's trip in real time on Twitter, #VPinAsia
- Posted byon August 23, 2011 at 8:17 AM EST
Sichuan University, located in China's rapidly developing southwestern city of Chengdu, was the site of Vice President Biden's major speech on U.S.-China relations on the morning of his 4th day in China. Speaking on a range of issues facing the two largest economies in the world, the Vice President reiterated that a "rising China" is a "positive development, not only for the people of China but for the United States and the world as a whole."
He noted that with increased cooperation between the US and China comes increased competition. "We should reject the misplaced notion of the zero-sum game in which everything one nation achieves somehow comes at the expense of the other," said Vice President Biden (you can watch the full speech, above). Vice President Biden also expressed confidence in America's ability to compete in the 21st century. "The United States is hardwired for innovation," he said. "Openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise and liberty are among the reasons why the United States, in my view is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. It's why our workers are the most productive, why our inventors and entrepreneurs hold more patents than any other country in the world, why we are reinvesting in the fundamental sources of our strength -- education, infrastructure, innovation -- and why President Obama and I are so confident that America will weather the current economic storm and emerge even stronger."
- Posted byon August 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM EST
Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China on the important relationship between the United States and China. During his remarks, the Vice President reflected on the partnership that our two nations have been working to build:
A rising China will fuel economic growth and prosperity and it will bring to the fore a new partner with whom we can meet global challenges together. When President Obama and I took office in January of 2009, we made our relationship with China a top priority. We were determined to set it on a stable and sustainable course that would benefit the citizens of both our countries. Our Presidents have met nine times since then, including very successful state visits in Beijing and Washington, and have spoken numerous times by telephone.
Direct discussions between senior policymakers and the personal ties that result from such discussions in my view over the last 35 years of conducting foreign policy are the keys to building cooperation. They're built on understanding. They allow us to better understand each other and allow us to define our interests in ways that are clear so that each one of us know what the other country’s interests are, and to see the world through the eyes of the other with the intention of preventing miscommunications and misconceptions that tend to fuel mistrust.
With that goal in mind, we have worked very hard to develop our cooperative partnership through more than 60 separate dialogues on issues of matter to both China and to the United States; and I would suggest to the world as a whole.
- Posted byon August 21, 2011 at 7:38 AM EST
The second day in Beijing began in a familiar setting for Vice President Biden. The site of today's U.S.-China Business Dialogue, the Beijing Hotel, was also the site of meetings held during his first trip to China in 1979, when some of the earliest discussions about the possibility of American companies doing business in China took place. Over 30 years later, Vice President Biden and Vice President Xi brought together 19 CEOs and business leaders from the United States and China to bring the conversation into the 21st century. "President Obama and I, we welcome, encourage and see nothing but positive benefits flowing from direct investment in the United States from Chinese businesses and Chinese entities. It means jobs. It means American jobs," said Vice President Biden.
Participants at the roundtable ranged from the CEO of Coca Cola to the Group President of Caterpillar, from the Captain of Cosco to the Board Chairman of Lenovo.
In his opening remarks at the Dialogue, Vice President Xi expressed strong confidence in the U.S. economy, calling it "highly resilient" with "a strong capacity for self-repairment." "We believe that the U.S. economy will achieve even better development as it rises to the challenge," he continued.
Next up for Vice President Biden was a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Ziguangge, Zhongnanhai, or, the Leadership Compound, which serves as the primary residence for leaders of the Politburo.
Seated side by side in the compound's Purple Light Pavillion, Wen praised the Vice President for engaging widely with the sectors in China, both public and private. "You have been sending a very strong message that the further growth of U.S.-China ties is not only important for our two countries, but also for the whole world."
Vice President Biden later took Premier Wen up on an impromptu invitation to tour the lakeside grounds of the compound. Tight schedule in mind, the Vice President joked that he would need a note to explain his tardiness to President Hu, the last meeting of his day back at the Great Hall of the People.
Next stop, Chengdu of Sichuan Province in China's Southwest.
For more information about the Vice President's trip to Asia, check out this photo gallery and watch his first travelogue from the road. You can follow the Vice President's trip in real time on Twitter, #VPinAsia