For your submission
Lindsay HolstMay 29, 2015
01:34 PM EDT
Today in 1917, John F. Kennedy -- the 35th President of the United States, and the first to be born in the 20th century -- was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Of Irish descent, President Kennedy was the youngest man to be elected President, and was also the youngest to die.
Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.
Having returned from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Read more about President Kennedy's life and legacy here.
Aaron Shikler's iconic 1971 portrait of President Kennedy in a contemplative pose hangs in the cross hall in the central corridor of the White House's State Floor.
Watch White House Curator Bill Allman tell the story of that portrait, and how it came to be painted:
May 29, 2015
12:33 PM EDT
In December 2014, when the President announced our historic shift in Cuba policy, he opened a new era in our relationship with the Cuban people, and the entire hemisphere. The President’s new approach to Cuba moves beyond decades of unsuccessful efforts to isolate Cuba, and is the continuation of a process designed to empower the Cuban people. This dramatically improves our capacity to promote the interests and democratic values that the United States stands for across the Americas and around the globe.
As part of our new way forward with Cuba, the President in December instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and conclude that review within six months. In April, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba should no longer be designated as a State Sponsors of Terrorism. The President then submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.
The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period is now complete and we are pleased to note that today the Secretary of State has rescinded Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Adam GarberMay 29, 2015
11:04 AM EDT
This week, the President donned a yarmulke at Adas Israel Congregation, where he also sang and danced with some preschoolers; marked the first Memorial Day since our war in Afghanistan came to an end; hosted the NATO Secretary-General in the Oval Office; and answered your questions on climate change during a Twitter Q&A in Miami. That's May 22 to May 28th or, “High Fives for Everybody!”
- The President greeted rabbis at Adas Israel, one of Washington’s oldest synagogues, to mark Jewish American Heritage Month – and made an impromptu visit to a preschool classroom.
- The President hosted foreign diplomats for an annual reception in the East Room.
- On Memorial Day, the President joined 5,000 people at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and reflect on the day with the families of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.
- Reporters from all over the world joined the President and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office, following their bilateral meeting.
- The President teamed up with the Vice President to surprise Vivian Bailey on her White House tour.
- The EPA announced its finalized Clean Water Rule, after reviewing over a million public comments. The Rule will protect safe and clean drinking water for millions of American families.
Jason FurmanMay 29, 2015
09:30 AM EDT
Today’s downward revision to GDP growth was entirely accounted for by revisions to inventory investment and net exports, with other changes being small and neutral on balance. The first-quarter slowdown was the result of harsh winter weather, tepid foreign demand, and consumers saving the windfall from lower oil prices. The combination of personal consumption and fixed investment, the most stable components of GDP, has grown 3.4 percent over the past four quarters. This solid long-term economic trend complements the robust pace of job growth and unemployment reduction over the last year. The President is committed to further strengthening these positive trends by opening our exports to new markets with new high-standards free trade agreements that create opportunities for the middle class, expanding investments in infrastructure, and ensuring the sequester does not return in the next fiscal year as outlined in the President’s FY2016 Budget.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.7 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2015, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The decline follows an increase of 3.6 percent at an annual rate during the second half of 2014. First-quarter growth was likely affected by a number of factors including especially harsh winter weather in the first quarter (see point 3) and a spike in personal saving (see point 4). A decline in the trade balance was another major contributor, partially reflecting the continued drag on U.S. exports from the slowdown in foreign growth. Indeed, net exports subtracted nearly 2 full percentage points from quarterly GDP growth. Structures investment subtracted about 0.7 percentage point from GDP, likely reflecting reduced oil mining in the wake of last year’s decline in oil prices.
Ken MeyerMay 28, 2015
12:31 PM EDT
The President just wrapped up on Twitter -- but the conversation doesn't end here:
Thanks for the questions! This was fun. I've got to run, but let’s do it again soon. Tell me what you're doing to #ActOnClimate.
— President Obama (@POTUS) May 28, 2015
Share what you would fight to protect here -- then scroll down to see all of the President's answers to your #AskPOTUS questions.
President Obama jumped on Twitter to answer a few of your questions about Climate Change. Yes, it’s really @POTUS! Follow the conversation in real-time right here:
Ahead of the hurricane season, President Obama is in Florida today to get his yearly briefing on the steps that the federal government, states, and families are taking to prepare.
Here's what he's doing next: talking to you on Twitter. Starting at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, the President is hopping on his brand-new Twitter account, @POTUS, to answer questions on climate live from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Just got a hurricane preparedness briefing in Miami. Acting on climate change is critical. Got climate Qs? I'll answer at 1pm ET. #AskPOTUS
— President Obama (@POTUS) May 28, 2015
Got a question about the impacts of climate change? Get on Twitter and ask it using the hashtag #AskPOTUS. You can also follow the conversation as it happens right here, where you'll find the latest on what President Obama has to say about climate change and what he's doing to combat it.
While you wait, check out the "People's Briefing" on Hurricane Preparedness, so you are as up to date as the President on what we can do to be ready for extreme weather this year.
May 28, 2015
12:23 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the White House Conference on Aging's website. See the original post here.
Today at the White House Conference on Aging Regional Forum in Boston, Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell announced that the 2015 White House Conference on Aging will be held on July 13.
The July event will continue our year-long effort to listen, learn, and share with older adults, their families, caregivers, advocates, community leaders, and experts in the aging field on how to best address the changing landscape of aging in the coming decade. The 2015 Conference aims to embrace the transformative demographic shift occurring in the United States to recognize the possibilities of aging.
May 27, 2015
11:56 AM EDT
Ed. note: This blog is cross-posted from the Environmental Protection Agency. You can read the original post here.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army are finalizing a Clean Water Rule to protect the streams and wetlands we rely on for our health, our economy, and our way of life.
As summer kicks off, many of us plan to be outside with our friends and families -- fishing, paddling, surfing, and swimming. And for the lakes and rivers we love to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them have to be clean, too. That’s just one of many reasons why this rule is so important. Here are several more:
Clean water is vital to our health.
One in three Americans get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection from pollution without the Clean Water Rule. Finalizing the rule helps protect 117 million Americans’ health.
Brian DeeseMay 27, 2015
10:01 AM EDT
This morning, I had the pleasure of kicking off the Department of Energy’s Better Building Summit. It reminded me of the founding of Better Buildings four years ago. At that time, as we continued to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression and were faced with a paralyzed Congress, President Obama made clear to his economic team that we were to look for more creative and durable ways to contribute to an accelerated economic recovery.
The more work we did on this issue, the clearer it became that making buildings, plants and homes more energy efficient was a triple win — a win for jobs and economic growth; a win for businesses’ operating costs and bottom lines; and a win for our effort to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
Cutting energy waste was a common sense solution when President Obama launched the Better Buildings program in 2011 — with the goal of improving the energy use of our nation’s commercial, industrial, residential, and public buildings by 20 percent over 10 years — and it still is. In fact, four years later, we have made tremendous progress.
Cecilia MuñozMay 27, 2015
09:55 AM EDT
Every business owner knows the importance of working with reliable, stand-up business partners who can deliver on-time and on-budget and follow the law. That last part is important, because a contractor who doesn’t follow the law isn’t living up to his or her obligations to you and may endanger your own workers and operations.
The same is true for the federal government, which contracts with many thousands of private businesses that employ almost one in five American workers.
John P. HoldrenMay 26, 2015
10:40 AM EDT
Last week, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and its National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced that they will convene an international meeting this fall at which researchers, ethicists, and other experts will discuss the implications of human germline gene-editing technologies in both research and clinical applications.
The White House applauds NAS and NAM for convening this dialogue and fully supports a robust review of the ethical issues associated with using gene-editing technology to alter the human germline. The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.
Jenna BraytonMay 25, 2015
08:49 PM EDT
This afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Class of 2015 at Oberlin College in Ohio.
The First Lady addressed the graduating Oberlin College class because Oberlin College was selected as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative’s “Near-Peer Mentoring College” Challenge – a challenge to institutes of higher education urging them to share videos on the ways they are helping high school students take charge of their future.
Jenna BraytonMay 25, 2015
03:41 PM EDT
This Memorial Day morning, President Obama traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia to pay solemn tribute to the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
President Obama continued the tradition of many past presidents before him, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivering remarks to those in attendance. The President was also joined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.
David HudsonMay 23, 2015
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.
The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought.
Adam GarberMay 22, 2015
07:12 PM EDT
This week was National Police Week, and the President honored fallen officers at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service; celebrated the reform efforts of police officers in Camden, New Jersey; signed the National Blue Alert Act to help protect police officers; and congratulated the graduates at the 134th Commencement of the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. POTUS also sent his first tweet. That's May 15 to May 21 or, "@POTUS!"
David HudsonMay 22, 2015
01:44 PM EDT
Over the past few months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions on our We the People petitions platform related to community policing, in the wake of the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and others. This week, we invited these petition signers to join a White House call about improving community-police relations.
Yesterday's conversation participants included:
- Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity
- Brittany Packnett, Member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
- DJ Patil, U.S. Chief Data Scientist
- David Wilkinson, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation
During the call, they highlighted new steps we're taking to improve community-police relations through the use of open data, demilitarizing local police forces, and other recommendations from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
The participants also answered some questions that petition signers submitted in advance of the call -- questions such as what we can achieve by looking at police data on a national level, or how we can change the view of the community to one where police are seen as "guardians" instead of "occupiers."
If you missed yesterday's call, you can listen to the full discussion below. (And if you want to be in the loop about future events like this, make sure to visit We the People and add your voice by creating or signing a petition.)
Tanya SomanaderMay 22, 2015
10:00 AM EDT
Jewish American values are woven into the fabric of American life and have shaped the progress we’ve made as a country. That history has fundamentally shaped the President’s personal views and leadership. As he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg:
"To me, being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish is part and parcel with the values that I've been fighting for since I was politically conscious and started getting involved in politics. There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law."
Today at 11:00 am ET, in honor of National Jewish American Heritage Month, President Obama will address the Adas Israel congregation in Washington, D.C., the first synagogue in the U.S. to be addressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch his remarks live:
Before the President speaks, he'll meet with a few leaders from the American Jewish community who exemplify the many ways that American Jews contribute to and strengthen our country. And we wanted to share a first look with you.
May 21, 2015
04:41 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama delivered the commencement address to the 134th Cadet Class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The President congratulated the class on all they had achieved over the last four years, but reminded them of the challenges they will face both domestic and abroad; challenges like counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, search and rescue, and disaster relief.
Of the greatest challenges the Cadets will face will be those wrought by our changing climate. As the President stated:
“Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. Caribbean islands and Central American coasts are vulnerable, as well. Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees. And I guarantee you the Coast Guard will have to respond. Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a ‘threat multiplier.’”
Secretary Penny PritzkerMay 21, 2015
01:38 PM EDT
This week, I had the honor of presenting 45 American companies with the President's “E” and “E” Star Awards, a recognition awarded to U.S. businesses that have made significant contributions to U.S. exports. These awardees, which range from small- and medium- sized businesses to household names, understand the importance of exports to their bottom line, American jobs, and the U.S. economy.
Increasing U.S. exports is a top priority for President Obama and our entire Administration. With our support, America’s private sector made 2014 another record year, selling $2.35 trillion of goods and services to overseas markets. Exports also supported 11.7 million private sector jobs in 2014, an all-time high.
We are achieving these new records because the 300,000 U.S. businesses that export, including our “E” awardees, understand that their competitiveness depends on reaching the 96 percent of the world’s customers who live beyond our borders. They are companies like Vac Pac, a family-owned business in Baltimore, whose company first won the “E” Award in 1966. Their “E” Star recognition 50 years later is a reflection of their consistent contributions to U.S. export growth.
We also honored household names like Harley Davidson, which has exported their iconic motorcycles for over a century.
Jenna BraytonMay 21, 2015
12:05 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama traveled to New London, Connecticut to give the commencement address to the class of 2015 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Tanya SomanaderMay 20, 2015
08:52 PM EDT
“We’ve grown up with you. The country has – after a tough day at the office or coming home from work, knowing you’ve been there to give us a little bit a joy a little bit of laughter – it has meant so much. You’re part of all of us.”
– President Obama to David Letterman, May 4, 2015
After 33 years, it’s the last night of the Late Show with David Letterman, an incomparable American icon. Since the first show aired in 1982, Letterman has taken on a lot of new territory, including interviewing President Obama -- the first sitting President to appear on late-night talk shows.
President Obama has sat down with Letterman a total of five times — three while in office — and joined him as one of his last guests on May 4, 2015.
Here are our top three favorite moments from the times David Letterman sparred with the President.
September 21, 2009 – “I was black before the election.”
On whether the rancor and vitriol surrounding the President’s health care reform efforts was “rooted in racism”:
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it’s important to realize that I was black before the election.
LETTERMAN: And how long have you been a black man?
THE PRESIDENT: So the American people, I think, gave me this extraordinary honor. That tells you a lot about where the country is at. I actually think that what’s happened is that whenever a President tries to bring about significant changes — particularly in times of economic unease — then, there is a certain segment of the population that gets very riled up … What has been missing from the conversation is that the overwhelming majority of people — Republican or Democrat — they just want to see some common sense, some honesty and integrity in Washington.