April 26, 2013
05:50 PM EDT
White House Science Fair: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed our country’s youngest scientists and innovators for the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair. More than 100 students from more than 40 states joined the President for the all-day celebration. The President toured the fair and even hopped on a bicycle-powered, emergency water-sanitation station developed by high-school students Payton Karr and Kiona Elliott of Oakland Park, Florida.
The President launched the White House Science Fair in 2009 as way to help encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In December of 2012 the Administration announced a goal of one million new STEM graduates in the next decade, and the President’s plan works for educational opportunities and support for women and underrepresented minorities.
- Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy and LeVar Burton interview some of the young inventors
- See all the videos from the 2013 White House Science Fair
- Check out the full list of students who participated and find out more about their inventions
- Girls in STEM: A New Generation in Science
- Watch President Obama fire a marshmallow cannon at the 2012 White House Science Fair
Colleen CurtisApril 26, 2013
05:30 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan make statements to the press prior to a bilateral meeting, in the Oval Office, April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama today welcomed His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to the White House, where the two leaders once again discussed the very urgent issues impacting that country, and the rest of the world.
President Obama met with the Jordanian leader last month on his trip to the Middle East, and this afternoon he thanked the King for his "extraordinary" hospitality, and praised his efforts to foster democratization, entrepreneurship and economic development inside Jordan. In remarks to the press before their bilateral meeting, the President said that he believes Jordan can be an "extraordinary model for effective governance in the region."
Matt ComptonApril 26, 2013
03:00 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today’s release includes visitor records generated during the month of January 2013. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to nearly 3.2 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
Megan SlackApril 26, 2013
02:37 PM EDT
Today, President Obama spoke at the Planned Parenthood Conference in Washington, DC, reaffirming the core principle that has guided the organization for nearly a century: that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health.
President Obama thanked the doctors, nurses, advocates and staff who work tirelessly to keep the doors open for the millions of women who depend on the health services Planned Parenthood offers.
Somewhere there’s a woman who just received a new lease on life because of a screening that you provided that helped catch her cancer in time. Somewhere there’s a woman who’s breathing easier today because of the support and counseling she got at her local Planned Parenthood health clinic. Somewhere there’s a young woman starting a career who, because of you, is able to decide for herself when she wants to start a family.
“One in five women in this country has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care,” he said. “And for many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care -- not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling.”
Ezra MechaberApril 26, 2013
01:40 PM EDT
We see a lot of exciting things here at the White House every day, and sharing them with you is one of the best parts of our jobs. That's why we're so excited about launching a presence on Tumblr — a microblogging platform designed especially for curating and sharing content.
Here are some of the things you can expect to see on the White House Tumblr:
- Behind-the-scenes photos of life at the White House
- Quotes from President Obama
- Infographics about important issues
We're also looking forward to seeing what you have to share with us. President Obama is committed to making this the most open and accessible administration in history, and our Tumblr is no exception.
You can follow us on whitehouse.tumblr.com.
Not on Tumblr? Here are a few more ways you can engage with the White House online:
Alan KruegerApril 26, 2013
09:30 AM EDT
Today’s report indicates that the economy posted its fifteenth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Over the last fifteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 8.3 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 12.2 percent. Real GDP is now 3.2 percent larger than it was at the previous business cycle peak in 2007:Q4. While there is more work to be done, this report, together with other economic indicators, provides further evidence that the economy is moving forward in the right direction.
It is important to recognize that GDP is made up of various components. Personal consumption expenditures, for example, rose by 3.2 percent at an annual rate in 2013:Q1, the fastest rate in over two years. Residential investment grew by 12.6 percent last quarter and has increased for eight quarters in a row, its longest streak since 2004-2005. Federal defense spending fell 11.5 percent at an annual rate in 2013:Q1, while federal nondefense spending declined at a 2.0 percent rate and state and local government purchases fell at a 1.2 percent rate.
The “advance" estimate of first quarter GDP growth encompasses the first month after sequestration began on March 1. It is likely that the contraction in Federal defense and non-defense spending, at least in part, reflects the onset of sequestration. These arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come, and will cut key investments in the nation’s future competitiveness. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the sequester will reduce GDP growth by 0.6 percentage point for the year.
Megan SlackApril 25, 2013
06:15 PM EDT
Today, President Obama traveled to Waco, Texas to speak at a memorial service for those lost and injured in last week’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in nearby West, Texas.
The President honored the first responders and volunteers from the tight-knit community who rushed to the scene as soon as the fire alarm sounded, “farmers and car salesmen; and welders and funeral home directors; the city secretary and the mayor… folks who are tough enough and selfless enough to put in a full day’s work and then be ready for more.”
And together, you answered the call. You dropped your schoolwork, left your families, jumped in fire trucks, and rushed to the flames. And when you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought that blaze as hard as you could, knowing the danger, buying time so others could escape. And then, about 20 minutes after the first alarm, the earth shook, and the sky went dark -- and West changed forever.
“Today our prayers are with the families of all who we’ve lost -- the proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts,” President Obama said. “Our thoughts are with those who face a long road -- the wounded, the heartbroken, the families who lost their homes and possessions in an instant.”
Adam GarberApril 25, 2013
05:44 PM EDT
This week, the Vice President traveled to Boston for a memorial for Officer Collier, and the President memorialized the victims of the West Texas explosion. The President also hosted the Amir of Qatar, the Teacher of the Year, the 3rd White House Science Fair, and visited Dallas with the First Lady for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Colleen CurtisApril 25, 2013
01:45 PM EDT
President Barack Obama stands with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Tex., April 25, 2013. Former First Ladies Laura Bush, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, are also pictured. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President and Mrs. Obama were in Dallas today for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. It was an historic occasion that brought all the living former Presidents -- Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- together for the first time since right before President Obama took office in 2009. They were joined by former First Ladies Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton (also a former Secretary of State, as President Obama noted) and Laura Bush.
In his remarks, President Obama highlighted the special bond that connects our past presidents, and said that despite disagreement on matters of foreign policy, all of the men on the stage with him shared "a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families. And we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the United States."
April 25, 2013
01:00 PM EDT
One year ago, the President established the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) that established an innovative new model of federal-local collaboration dedicated to assisting communities get back on their feet and create jobs by helping them better leverage federal resources and form key partnerships to implement economic visions. Teams of federal employees are embedded with seven Mayors across the country to provide tailored technical assistance to cut through red tape, increase government efficiency, and build partnerships to help local leaders implement sustainable economic plans.
A year later, we have learned a lot about collaboration, team work, and how the federal government can support local communities working as a team to get things done.
These lessons are outlined in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Annual Report, which describes the impact of the SC2 Initiative and identifies emerging innovations that have the potential to be applied to many other communities working to strengthen their economies and job creation at the local level.
At a time when communities must accomplish more with every dollar of investment, SC2’s work in its first few years has already enabled communities to maximize the impact of more than $345 million in existing federal funds.
Valerie JarrettApril 25, 2013
11:32 AM EDT
Last week, I attended the Equal Futures Partnership: From Promise to Progress event at the World Bank, to share progress made by the Obama Administration since the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership last September. The Equal Futures Partnership is a multilateral initiative that seeks to break down barriers to women’s economic empowerment and political participation so that every woman and girl can reach her full potential. It is a response to the challenge issued by President Obama in September 2011 at the UN General Assembly. He said, “Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.”
For the United States, our Equal Futures commitments seek to promote four key objectives: opening doors to quality education and high-paying career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields; breaking the cycle of violence and ensuring economic security for survivors of violence; promoting civic education and public leadership for girls; and expanding support for women entrepreneurs.
April 24, 2013
03:37 PM EDT
Editor's Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the ONDCP Blog.
The President has outlined his vision of an America built to last—where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet--for far too many Americans--that vision is limited by drug use, which not only diminishes the potential of the individual, but jeopardizes families, communities and neighborhoods.
The economic costs of drug use are enormous: In 2007 alone, illicit drug use cost taxpayers more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs. But the human costs are worse. Nationwide, drug-induced overdose deaths now surpass homicides and car crashes as the leading cause of injury death in America.
We are not powerless to address these challenges. And as recent data has shown, we are not unable to reverse these trends. Prescription drug abuse is beginning to decline. Cocaine use and related overdoses are dropping. And recent data show the nation’s prison and jail population dropping for the third straight year.
Today we are releasing a science-driven plan for drug policy reform in America to build upon this progress. This 21st century drug policy outlines a series of evidence-based reforms that treat our nation’s drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. This policy underscores what we all know to be true: we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.
Colleen CurtisApril 23, 2013
08:04 PM EDT
President Obama today met with Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar, a nation the United States works with on a range of issues, including security, military cooperation, commerce and trade.
In remarks following the bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, the President praised Qatar as "a center of innovation" and said the country has shown enormous progress ranging from education to health care under the Amir's leadership.
But President Obama said that most of the leaders' conversation was focused on security issues in that region, relating to U.S. interests and those of the entire world:
"We had a conversation about the situation in Syria. And obviously we've been cooperating closely with Qatar and other countries in seeking to bring about an end to the slaughter that's taking place there; the removal of President Assad, who has shown himself to have no regard for his own people; and to strengthen an opposition that can bring about a democratic Syria that represents all people and respects their rights regardless of their ethnicity or their religious affiliations. And I'm very pleased that we are going to be continuing to work in coming months to try to further support the Syrian opposition, and we'll be closely coordinating our strategies to bring about a more peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.
We also had an opportunity to discuss the situation in Egypt, where we both very much want to see success on the part of Egyptian democracy. And both of our countries are committed to trying to encourage not only progress in this new democracy, but also economic progress that can translate into actual prosperity for the people there.
We had an opportunity to discuss the situation with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we both agree that peace is in the interest of everyone -- a secure Israel side-by-side with a sovereign Palestinian state. And we exchanged ideas about how we can advance those negotiations, and I've shared the importance of providing support to President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority so that they can be in position to have fruitful negotiations with the Israelis that can bring about, in a timely fashion, a two-state solution.
And I had an opportunity to thank the Amir for the strong support that his country has provided to our efforts in Afghanistan, including the efforts that he has personally been involved with in getting a dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban that might potentially result in some sort of political reconciliation.
These are all very difficult issues and neither of us are under any illusions that they will be solved overnight. But what we agree with is that if our two countries are communicating frankly and constructively, and pursuing common strategies, that we can be a force for good for the entire region and for a vision of a Middle East that is democratic, that is prosperous, that is tolerant, that is representative of all peoples, and that is a force for good around the world."
Megan SlackApril 23, 2013
04:30 PM EDT
Twelve years ago, Zillah High School in Washington state had no engineering classes. The science curriculum was lagging behind, and students had to go off campus to take technology classes.
Jeff Charbonneau, who returned to his hometown 11 years ago to teach at Zillah High, was determined to change that. And he did. Science enrollment is way up. Kids are graduating with college-level science credits. The school expects to have to hire more teachers now to meet the demand.
And today, President Obama honored Jeff as the 2013 National Teacher of the Year.
Jeff teaches chemistry, physics, and engineering, and works to create accessible, interactive lessons that help convince kids that the science classes most students consider hardest are worth diving in to, not running away from. But President Obama said that it’s not just his work in the classroom that distinguishes Jeff.
“He started an outdoors club,” President Obama said. “He brought his passion to the drama program. He’s even helping out other schools.” Because of Jeff, hundreds of students all over Washington are now participating in high-skills robotics competitions and gaining valuable engineering experience.
April 22, 2013
06:34 PM EDT
You don’t have to be an outdoor expert or live near an iconic park to enjoy the broad network of national parks across the country. Some of the most treasured and well-used parks are located in and around America’s major cities, including San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Miami, San Antonio, Baltimore – and right here in Washington, D.C.
If you don’t have a national park in your city or town, chances are the National Park Service has played a role in increasing access to outdoor recreational opportunities in your community. Through the Land & Water Conservation Fund, the National Park Service has funded recreational facilities, such as playgrounds and trails, in 99 percent of counties across America.
April 22, 2013
05:57 PM EDT
President Obama today celebrated the remarkable achievements of student science fair winners and extraordinary kid innovators from across the nation in the third White House Science Fair. The Fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
As the President said in 2009, when he announced the first-ever White House Science Fair, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you've produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
Megan SlackApril 20, 2013
01:10 PM EDT
On Monday, April 22 President Obama hosted the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair, celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country and people everywhere were able to watch live from this blog post.
This year’s Science Fair featured 100 students from more than 40 states and represented 45 different competitions and organizations that recognize the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators. Students showcased projects ranging from economically-viable algae biofuel to a robot that paints with watercolor to a computer program that improves cancer detection and many more.
As the President has noted, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
For a full list of the exhibits that the President will see, as well as more information on all the students, competitions, and organizations being honored, click here.
Megan SlackApril 20, 2013
06:00 AM EDT
President Obama speaks to the American people about the act of terror at the Boston Marathon that wounded dozens and killed three innocent people on Monday, and says that through it all, Boston’s spirit remains undaunted and Americans have proven they refuse to be terrorized.
Matt ComptonApril 20, 2013
12:02 AM EDT
After a daylong manhunt that saw police searching door-to-door through Boston, law enforcement officials captured the remaining suspect believed to be responsible for Monday's bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He was ultimately found in Watertown, Massachusetts.
In a statement from the James Brady Briefing Room after the arrest, President Obama commended the response from the state and local police and federal investigators.
"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all our outstanding law enforcement professionals," he said. "These men and women get up every day, they put on that uniform; they risk their lives to keep us safe -- and as this week showed, they don't always know what to expect. So our thoughts are with those who were wounded in pursuit of the suspects and we pray for their full recovery."
While tonight's arrest closes one chapter in this tragedy, we're still left with many questions about these young men. President Obama pledged to put the full weight of the federal government behind finding answers.
"I've instructed the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and our intelligence community to continue to deploy all the necessary resources to support the investigation, to collect intelligence, and to protect our citizens," he said. "We will determine what happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had. And we'll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe."
It's been a long week, and the events in Boston have in some ways overshadowed another tragedy -- the explosion that took the lives of at least 14 people in West, Texas and wounded more than 200. Before the President closed, he made sure to remind the people of that community that they hadn't been forgotten.
"Our thoughts, our prayers are with the people of West, Texas, where so many good people lost their lives; some lost their homes; many are injured; many are still missing," he said. "I've talked to Governor Perry and Mayor Muska and I've pledged that the people of West will have the resources that they need to recover and rebuild. And I want everybody in Texas to know that we will follow through with those commitments."
Adam GarberApril 19, 2013
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President responded to the terror attack in Boston, met with AmeriCorps volunteers, invited the Wounded Warrior riders to the White House, and for the first time, asked a citizen to deliver the weekly address.
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