Our Top Stories
Matt ComptonMay 13, 2013
05:02 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House, where the two leaders discussed issues ranging from economic development to the unfolding conflict in Syria.
"[T]he great alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom is rooted in shared interests and shared values, and it’s indispensable to global security and prosperity," President Obama said. "But as we’ve seen again recently, it's also a partnership of the heart."
The President thanked the people of the United Kingdom for their support in the wake of the bombings in Boston. In London, marathoners observed a moment of silence and dedicated their race to the victims in Massachusetts.
Prime Minister Cameron echoed the President's sentiments on the strength of the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.
"[The] relationship between Britain and the United States is a partnership without parallel," the Prime Minister said. "Day in, day out across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together, our soldiers serve together, and our businesses trade with each other."
In his remarks today, Prime Minister Cameron made a point to focus on three issues under discussion: the economy, the G8, and Syria. The United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the G8 and will host the group's next summit in June -- in Northern Ireland.
Watch the full video of the press conference here:
Matt ComptonMay 12, 2013
04:06 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday celebrated a new class of graduates from Eastern Kentucky University.
"You all went through so much to make it to this day -- the highs and the lows, the triumphs, the challenges, the celebrations, the devastations -- and I'm not just talking about your love lives, either," the First Lady told the graduates. "I'm talking about all those papers you poured your heart into; all those caffeine-fueled all-nighters; those moments of anxiety as you set out on your own, looking to find new friends you clicked with and a new community to call your own."
Matt ComptonMay 11, 2013
02:19 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed a group of the nation's best police officers to the White House to celebrate their service and heroism.
"We don't always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe," he said from the East Room. "But they're out there, hundreds of thousands of you, patrolling our streets every single day. And we know that when we need you most, you’ll be ready to dash into danger, to protect our lives even if it means putting your lives on the line. That's what these folks are all about."
The President celebrated more than 40 law enforcement officials -- including Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was one of First Lady Michelle Obama's guests at the State of the Union earlier this year. Lt. Murphy was the first officer on the scene in response to the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.
"He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers, who are here today, to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside -- even though he was lying there bleeding from 12 bullet wounds," President Obama said. "When he was asked how he did it, he said, 'That’s just the way we’re made.'"
The TOP COPS are chosen by the National Association of Police Organizations each year after being nominated by their colleagues for noteworthy service.
Read President Obama's full remarks here.
Matt ComptonMay 11, 2013
05:30 AM EDT
May 10, 2013
05:41 PM EDT
The Arctic is rapidly changing. While the Arctic region has experienced warming and cooling cycles over millennia, the current warming trend is unlike anything previously recorded. As sea ice diminishes, ocean resources are more readily accessible. This accessibility, along with recent scientific estimates indicating the presence of significant energy and other resources, have inspired strong interest for new commercial initiatives in the region, including energy production, increased shipping, scientific research, tourism, and related infrastructure development. As an Arctic nation, the United States must be proactive and disciplined in addressing changing regional conditions and in developing adaptive strategies to protect its interests. An undisciplined approach to exploring new opportunities in this frontier could result in significant harm to the region, to our national security interests, and to the global good.
Today, we are releasing the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. Through this strategy, we are setting the United States Government’s strategic priorities for the Arctic region. These priorities are intended to position the United States to respond effectively to emerging opportunities – while simultaneously pursuing efforts to protect and conserve this unique environment.
Megan SlackMay 10, 2013
05:20 PM EDT
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, President Obama today spoke to a group of women – including many moms – about the ways the Affordable Care Act is already helping millions of Americans like them.
"Women in particular now have more control over their own care than ever before," the President said. "And I’m pleased to be joined today by many women who wrote in to tell us what the Affordable Care Act means to them."
Carol was one of the women who wrote to the President, and today, she introduced him in the East Room. Carol's son, a 22-year-old college grad and traumatic brain injury survivor with a rare genetic lung disease, was able to stay on his family’s health insurance policy instead of being kicked off the plan this year. Finding coverage on his own would have been nearly impossible, as Carol wrote to the President: “Given his history, he would be virtually uninsurable under the old set of ‘rules.’ Instead of contemplating law school, all of his resources would have been channeled into somehow, somewhere, finding health insurance.”
Carol and her son are why the Affordable Care Act lets young people stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26, President Obama said.
Alycia was also standing behind the President today.
"Alycia is the mother of Avey, who is a beautiful, sweet, 3-year-old girl who also happens to have Leukemia," he explained. "Imagine what that’s like for a parent. While you’re just figuring out how to take care of a baby, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to pay for expensive treatment that could save your baby’s life.
May 10, 2013
03:53 PM EDT
Launching the Jobs & Opportunity Tour: On Thursday, the President was in Austin to launch his Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour. Austin is leading the nation in manufacturing and tech job growth and is a benchmark for “a thriving, rising middle class and a dynamic, cutting-edge economy.” The President met with high school students, local residents, and entrepreneurs as he toured the city.
The President also announced two executive actions to help make America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing. The Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes and is also requiring government data to be more open and accessible to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth.
- A Plan to Revitalize American Manufacturing
- Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Explained in 60 Seconds
- Learn more about the Administration’s open data efforts
- Landmark Steps to Liberate Open Data
President Park of South Korea Visit: On Tuesday, President Obama was joined by South Korean President Park Geun-hye for a joint press conference. Park is South Korea’s first female president and the visit was her first foreign trip as head of her nation. The visit marked the 60th anniversary of our alliance, and both leaders made it clear they will not tolerate North Korea’s threats and provocations.
The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever. And faced with new international sanctions, North Korea is more isolated than ever. In short, the days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions -- those days are over.
South Korea has been a strong economic partner, and in part due to the the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, American automobile exports are up almost 50 percent. The agreement is projected to boost U.S. exports by $10 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs, while also creating jobs in Korea.
Kasie CoccaroMay 10, 2013
10:00 AM EDT
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to honor military mothers and show their appreciation and thanks for all the important work they do as well as the sacrifices their families have made in service of our country.
Adam GarberMay 10, 2013
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President made his fourth trip to Mexico, continued on to Costa Rica, spoke to the graduating class of 2013 at The Ohio State University, hosted the new President of South Korea, discussed hurricane preparedness, and kicked off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour in the Lone Star State.
Megan SlackMay 09, 2013
06:00 PM EDT
Today President Obama traveled to Austin, Texas, kicking off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours focused on creating a strong and vibrant economy built on good middle class jobs.
The first stop on today’s tour was Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning the real-world skills they need to fill jobs that are available right now. Watch the President’s remarks at the school here.
Next, President Obama sat down for lunch (Texas barbecue, of course) with local residents to discuss his vision for making sure that hard work leads to a decent living. He also met with technology entrepreneurs who showed him some of the tools and products they are developing that will drive America’s long-term economic growth.
Valerie JarrettMay 09, 2013
05:22 PM EDT
Ed. note: The full text of the op-ed by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett is printed below. The piece is published today on The Huffington Post, and can be found here.
Yesterday, I was honored to attend the 7th Annual Pearls of Purpose Gala hosted by FAIRgirls. FAIR stands for Free, Aware, Inspired, and Restored, and it works to prevent the exploitation of girls worldwide with empowerment and education. At the gala, I spoke about the horror of child sex trafficking—a crime that President Obama and his administration have been fighting hard to end for good.
About a year ago, I visited FAIRgirls. I will never forget sitting around the table with a group of girls as they used beads to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. At first, I was struck at how hard they each concentrated on their masterpieces, with meticulous attention to detail. But then, slowly, they began to share their stories.
As the girls described the atrocities they had suffered—in many cases, for years—my blood boiled. How on earth could this happen time and time again, right here in our community? How could the internet be used so blatantly as a tool to sell our children into slavery?
At the same time, I was inspired by the professionalism and sensitivity of the FAIRgirls staff and the resilience, strength, and courage of each of the girls, as well as the steadfast and tender support they demonstrated to one another. Were it not for FAIRgirls, I cannot imagine what the future of thousands of girls would be.
It still shocks me that we are forced to ever string these three words together: Child. Sex. Trafficking.There is no issue as grave and devastating.While FAIRgirls is helping to transform the lives of girls, one girl at a time, we must all accept responsibility to vigilantly ensure that no girls are exploited, abused, or trafficked in the first place. And if they are, we must provide them with loving, patient, and comprehensive care so that they do not just survive, but thrive.
Megan SlackMay 09, 2013
03:30 PM EDT
After shedding jobs for a decade, American manufacturers have added about 500,000 positions over the past three years. Production is growing at its fastest pace in over a decade. And as part of his plan to do everything he can to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and fuel economic growth, President Obama is committed to continuing this progress, which is why he’s laid out a comprehensive agenda to make America a magnet for manufacturing.
Today, following through on a promise he made in his State of the Union, the President rolled out the first piece of that agenda, announcing competitions to establish three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. These new institutes, partnerships among business, universities and community colleges, and government, will develop and build manufacturing technologies and capabilities to help U.S.-based businesses and workers create good jobs.
We asked Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, to explain in 60 seconds or less why these institutes are an important part of the President’s strategy to invest in manufacturing. Hear what he had to say below.
For more information:
May 09, 2013
11:45 AM EDT
Today, as he heads to Austin, Texas, for a Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing historic steps to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth. The Executive Order declares that information is a valuable resource and strategic asset for the Nation. We couldn’t agree more.
Under the terms of the Executive Order and a new Open Data Policy released today by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget, all newly generated government data will be required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, greatly enhancing their accessibility and usefulness, while ensuring privacy and security.
During his visit to Austin, President Obama will meet with technology entrepreneurs who are hiring workers with cutting-edge skills and creating the tools and products that will drive America’s long term economic growth. This includes technology entrepreneurs utilizing government data to grow their company. Under the President’s Open Data Executive Order, more data will be made available allowing these types of entrepreneurs and companies to take advantage of this information, fueling economic growth in communities across the Nation.
Megan SlackMay 08, 2013
05:25 PM EDT
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out his belief that a thriving middle class is the engine of economic growth — one that we can reignite by investing in jobs, skills, and opportunity.
Tomorrow, the President is making his first stop on a series of Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours, traveling to Austin, Texas to learn more about what's being done there to create stable and well-paying jobs that can support a middle-class family. He'll visit a high school where students are learning real-world skills for today's jobs and meet technology entrepreneurs who are creating the tools and products that will drive America's long-term economic growth.
We checked in with Todd Park, the United States Chief Technology Officer, to find out more about the President's trip. Hear what he had to say below.
Matt ComptonMay 08, 2013
05:20 PM EDT
This afternoon, Cecilia Muñoz sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to share their American stories. If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up.
Hi everyone --
This is the start of a national debate. Across the country, we're having a serious discussion about how we can build a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
And we need your help to make sure that genuine, personal perspectives are part of the conversation. The truth is, that if we go back far enough, nearly every American story begins somewhere else -- so often with ancestors setting out in search of a different life, carving out a future for their children in this place that all of us now call home.
We want to make sure that idea isn't far from the minds of policymakers here in Washington as we work to reach an agreement to reform immigration.
To kick things off, one of the President's senior advisors sat down to share his story with you.
When Americans from all over the country -- each with different backgrounds, each from different circumstances -- all speak out with the same voice, it's powerful in a way that's hard to ignore. We've seen it again and again, in debate after debate.
Valerie JarrettMay 08, 2013
12:53 PM EDT
Last week, as part of President Obama’s visit to Mexico and Costa Rica, I had the pleasure of participating in a roundtable discussion on women’s entrepreneurship.
In Mexico, President Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto underscored the importance of their countries’ cooperation on regional and international issues, including gender equality.
On this, we were thrilled to hear that Mexico will join the Equal Futures Partnership, a multilateral effort to expand women’s economic empowerment and political participation which I helped launch last September.
Also in Mexico, I participated in a roundtable for Women Entrepreneurship in the Americas, or WEAmericas with Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne. The goal of our roundtable was to discuss and identify potential opportunities to work together to support more women entrepreneurs throughout Mexico, the region, and around the world.
Megan SlackMay 07, 2013
05:39 PM EDT
Today, President Obama welcomed President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to the White House to mark 60 years of bilateral partnership between our two nations.
Established following the Korean War, the US-ROK Alliance is a linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia Pacific region. And today, the two leaders affirmed that they would continue building on the past six decades of stability by strengthening and adapting the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.
“Guided by our joint vision, we’re investing in the shared capabilities and technologies and missile defenses that allow our forces to operate and succeed together,” President Obama said. “And we’re determined to be fully prepared for any challenge or threat to our security.”
President Obama and President Park also agreed to continue implementing the historic trade agreement between the United States and South Korea, which is already yielding benefits for both countries, President Obama said.
Matt ComptonMay 06, 2013
03:36 PM EDT
The Ohio State University is an institution that dedicates itself to “Education for Citizenship” -- the Buckeye motto emblazoned on the school seal.
So when President Obama spoke to the Class of 2013 at the school's graduation, citizenship was his theme.
"As citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us," he said. "It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, Class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process."
The President made a pitch for civic connection -- for participation in public life, for engagement in national debates, for community service. He pointed to those who stand up in moments of crisis -- running toward the damage inflicted by the bombs in Boston to care for survivors, helping neighbors dig out from Hurricane Sandy last fall -- as examples.
"We've seen courage and compassion, a sense of civic duty, and a recognition we are not a collection of strangers; we are bound to one another by a set of ideals and laws and commitments, and a deep devotion to this country that we love," he said. "And that's what citizenship is."
Above all, he urged survivors to break through the cycle of cynicism that too often cripples progress in this country.
"Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be," President Obama told the graduates. "But it requires your dedicated, and informed, and engaged citizenship. And that citizenship is a harder, higher road to take, but it leads to a better place."
Secretary Arne DuncanMay 06, 2013
10:23 AM EDT
So many of America’s teachers are amazing. Each day, they take on the extraordinary responsibility and highly complex work of moving all students forward. As I visit schools across the country and talk with teachers at the U.S. Department of Education, they astound me continually with what they accomplish every day. Not only are teachers some of the smartest, most compassionate people I know, but they do work that few of us could accomplish on our best days.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, the people who value teachers often take time to send them a note of thanks or a token of appreciation. This is appropriate. The least we can do once a year is to push “pause” on our lives and thank them in the short term. However, what our teachers really need—and deserve—is our ongoing commitment to work with them to transform America’s schools. They need us to acknowledge them as professionals who are doing our nation’s most important work. We can begin this work by making it a priority to listen toand to celebrate teachers.
Here are some ways we plan to listen to and to celebrate teachers at the Department of Education this week.
Listening: On Monday, May 6, we will host a Google hangout celebrating African-American educators around the country, broadcasting from the campus of Howard University. You can view the conversation – “Celebrating African-American Teachers in our Classrooms” –live at 4 pm Eastern or check out the archived version of the Hangout afterwards at our YouTube site. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter at #AfAmTeachers. On Wednesday and Friday, our Teaching Ambassador Fellows will host roundtable discussions with teachers of children with exceptionalities and teachers of English language learners. We want to know from them what is working in their schools, what is not working, and how we can better support them.
Celebrating: Every day this week I will be making phone calls to great teachers who are leading change from their classrooms. We will also be celebrating teachers on Twitter; please be part of that by using the hashtag #thankateacher. On Wednesday I will drop by a local Teacher Appreciation Breakfast to thank teachers for making tremendous progress closing gaps and raising achievement in their school. We are also hosting a reception at the Department for the more than 400 current and former teachers who work at the Department of Education, and talking about how we can better make use of their experiences to improve our work.
Walking in Teachers’ Shoes: One of my favorite activities all year long is our ED Goes Back to School Day, taking place this year on Thursday, May 9. More than 65 of my senior staff and regional officers will shadow a teacher for a day or half-day, witnessing firsthand how demanding and rewarding it can be to juggle reforms, pedagogy, and practice. After the shadowing, the teachers and staff will meet with me back at ED to talk about their experiences and share lessons learned. Last year our staff benefitted tremendously from the experience, talking about what they saw for months afterward and connecting their experiences with their daily work here.
I encourage everyone to take time this week to not only take a more active role honoring teachers, but to listen to them actively and to celebrate their great work. I hope this week will be your chance to ask a teacher, How can I support you in America’s most important work, all year long?
Kori SchulmanMay 04, 2013
02:15 PM EDT
This week, President Obama traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America.
President Barack Obama arrives aboard Air Force One at Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica. May 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama arrived in Costa Rica on Friday -- his first visit to the country -- and participated in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Costa Rican President Chinchilla’s, as well as a working dinner. During the press conference, the President spoke about the friendship and economic ties between our two countries:
Costa Rica shows the benefits of trade that is free and fair. Over the last few years, under the Central America Free Trade Agreement, our trade with Costa Rica has doubled, creating more jobs for people in both of our countries. Our partnerships are creating more opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including young people and women. As I told President Chinchilla, the United States will continue to be your partner as Costa Rica modernizes its economy so that you’re attracting more investment and creating even more trade and more jobs.