For your submission
Tanya SomanaderApril 25, 2015
11:41 PM EDT
The White House Correspondents Dinner -- the night when Washington decides to celebrate itself.
As the President said, "Somebody's got to do it."
Ever since the first one kicked off in 1920, the political press corps, members of the Administration, the President, and a few famous faces have gathered to celebrate the importance of journalism to our democracy -- and to face a good roast over the satirical fire.
Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong summed up the night: "The White House Correspondents Dinner is a chance for all of you to unwind, relax, and laugh as soon as you notice someone slightly more powerful than you is laughing."
But first, President Obama took his place at the WHCD podium for the sixth time, and welcomed everyone to the fourth quarter of his presidency. Here are our top three favorite moments of the night:
1. The Opener: Welcome to the Fourth Quarter
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 26, 2015
Beats by Barack. The President and Grumpy Cat: The Interview. And a South Lawn swim ... welcome to the fourth quarter.
Lindsay HolstApril 25, 2015
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, April 24, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In this week’s address, the President laid out why new, high-standards trade agreements are important for our economy, our businesses, our workers, and our values. These new trade deals are vital to middle-class economics -- the idea that this country does best when everybody gets their fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules. The President has been clear -- any deal he signs will be the most progressive trade agreement in our history with strong provisions for both workers and the environment. It would also level the playing field -- and when the playing field is level, American workers always win.
April 24, 2015
05:33 PM EDT
From an Earth Day trip to a 1.5-million-acre wetland ecosystem to a trade deal that protects endangered species, this was a week of conversation about how we can protect our environment. President Obama traveled to the Everglades in southern Florida to discuss how climate change is affecting our environment and spoke about his trade deal that would protect endangered species from illegal wildlife trafficking. Back at the White House, we reviewed our progress on combating environmental challenges and asked you to share what you would fight to protect for this Earth Week.
In case you missed it, here are a couple highlights from the week.
On Wednesday, the President traveled to the Everglades in southern Florida for the first time to celebrate Earth Day. While enjoying the natural beauty of the 1.5-million-acre wetland ecosystem, President Obama also highlighted how climate change is affecting the region and our planet. The President also sat down with Bill Nye the Science Guy to discuss that threat, conservation, and science education in America. Watch that conversation below:
Adam GarberApril 24, 2015
03:38 PM EDT
This week, the President hosted the Italian Prime Minister, three different sports teams, and a bipartisan group of members of Congress. He also visited the Everglades in balmy Florida to celebrate Earth Day with Bill Nye. That's April 17th to April 23rd or, "The Savage Splendor of a Swamp."
Max SgroApril 24, 2015
03:25 PM EDT
This is the latest post in our "Asked and Answered" series, in which we periodically feature an exchange between the President and an American who wrote him. Check back soon for more — and if you'd like to write the President yourself, you can do so here.
Every day, the White House receives thousands of letters and emails from Americans across the country. I work in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, and our job is to sort and read through all of those messages, and make sure they get to the right people for responses. Sometimes, letters to the President are shared with his Senior Advisors, either by the President or directly from our office.
In the spirit of Earth Day, we've been reviewing and sharing letters from Americans speaking out about climate change and the importance of preserving our nation's beautiful natural places, and we came across Josie's note from May 2013. While a student at Globe University in Wisconsin, Josie wrote us about the importance of preserving and protecting the Florida Everglades, where she and her family would often vacation when she was a child. That's something the President agrees with wholeheartedly, which is exactly why he headed to this very region this week to take a tour and deliver remarks.
So Senior Advisor to the President Brian Deese, whose duties include overseeing climate, conservation, and energy policy, decided to send an additional reply to Josie. He let Josie know that we agree with her, and shared some of the actions the President has taken in the areas of conservation and preservation since Josie wrote us.
David HudsonApril 24, 2015
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, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in January 2015. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in March 2015 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.46 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
April 24, 2015
11:05 AM EDT
There is a long list of Hollywood greats who have acted on the nation’s outdoor stage. From far-away galaxies to jurassic jungles to the rustic Wild West, our epic American landscapes have played just about every role imaginable.
In addition to all they give us environmentally and leisurely, our National Parks and forests continue to bring authenticity to some of our favorite films. In honor of National Parks Week, here's a look at some of the best National Parks and forest cameos in modern cinema.
1. Butch, the Kid, and Zion National Park.
Featured in: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
A young Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in a classic western about two bank- and train-robbing bandits. Much of the stunning natural scenery featured comes courtesy of Utah’s 229-square-mile Zion National Park.
Tanya SomanaderApril 24, 2015
06:00 AM EDT
Right now, America has more open jobs than at any point since 2008. They pay well and they’re a surefire pathway into the middle class. But not enough hardworking Americans have the right skills to fill them.
So President Obama and Vice President Biden kicked off a new public-private effort to help hardworking Americans get ahead at work through a new initiative called Upskill. Together, employers, educators, tech innovators, unions, training providers, cities, states, and non-profits are turning entry-level jobs across the country into stepping stones to the middle class.
It’s a great idea — and it works in practice. Take a look at Marilu’s and Kendra’s stories to see exactly what happens when you give hardworking Americans the leg up they deserve:
Jenna BraytonApril 23, 2015
07:35 PM EDT
Today, President Obama welcomed the 2015 Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots, to the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate their 2015 NFL championship.
The event this afternoon honored the NFL champions as part of the President’s broader push to recognize athletes and sports stars for their contributions to their communities and their leadership on and off the field.
On the South Lawn, the President congratulated the Patriots for being one of the teams committed to leading the way, commending the players for volunteering in the community and visiting schools and hospitals through the NFL’s Play 60 initiative. President Obama also congratulated the Patriots Marathon Team for running in the Boston Marathon, where they raised more than $230,000 for charity, helping to show that Boston is still stronger than ever.
April 23, 2015
04:48 PM EDT
President Obama is the first to say it: Past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype.
Coming from Illinois, he saw first-hand how trade could devastate small-town communities as manufacturers moved overseas in search of lower wages. Previous trade deals like NAFTA also failed to put in place tough labor and environmental standards, leaving American workers to fight an uphill battle on an uneven playing field.
That’s why the President is working with Congress to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s the best opportunity we have to level that playing field and engrain American values in a trade agreement that will put American workers first.
Twelve countries – including Canada and Mexico – will be party to the TPP. That means we have the opportunity to renegotiate and improve on our old trade agreements to make sure America’s middle class reaps the benefits.
Check out this chart to see what the Trans-Pacific Partnership will do that past deals like NAFTA did not:
Katy KaleApril 23, 2015
03:50 PM EDT
Yesterday marked the 10th year that the White House has participated in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” This year, in order to give more kids an opportunity to grow and broaden their horizons, the White House expanded its program beyond the children of Executive Office of the President staff to include children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.
In keeping with this year’s theme, “Empowering Young Minds at the White House,” the programming was shaped around STEM education, the arts, and career exploration. Approximately 200 children began their day today by taking the Oath of Office, just as the President and all of his staff do. Following their oath, the children spent time in a variety of different activity stations including: a presentation from NASA; photo captioning with the White House Photo Office; creating circuits with stickers with the Office of Science and Technology Policy; printing on a 3D printer; and taste testing healthy cupcakes made by the White House Pastry Chefs. With the Japanese State Dinner right around the corner, the children also learned how to make origami frogs.
April 23, 2015
01:00 PM EDT
“Violence against women is not a women’s issue alone. It’s a man’s issue as well… So to all of the guys out there—you have to step up. That’s how we can change the culture on campus and around the country to one that understands no means no.”
– Vice President Biden
Today at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vice President Biden is honoring April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month by sharing an update on the Administration’s efforts to help combat sexual assault, especially on college and university campuses.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have made it a national priority to root out sexual violence and assault wherever it exists, particularly in our schools. Last year, they launched a public awareness and education campaign called It’s On Us, which seeks to empower college students to respond effectively to sexual assault, and to prevent it in the first place.
Tanya SomanaderApril 23, 2015
09:49 AM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, April 23, 2015, regarding the January U.S. Government counterterrorism operation against Al-Qaida that killed hostages Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by Al-Qaida since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national held by Al-Qaida, since 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President addressed the American people this morning regarding a U.S. counterterrorism operation this past January that resulted in the tragic deaths of two hostages.
Watch it here:
Watch President Obama's statement on the deaths of Dr. Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto. http://t.co/Q45dNddEUs
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 23, 2015
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also released the following statement:
April 22, 2015
07:44 PM EDT
Earlier this week, we asked White House email subscribers to share a photo of the outdoors spot that they would fight to protect from the effects of climate change. Today, we sent the following message to the White House email list highlighting some of the amazing responses we received.
Didn't get this message? Sign up for email updates here.
President Obama celebrated the 45th-annual Earth Day by spending the afternoon exploring the Everglades in southern Florida. As a 1.5-million-acre wetland ecosystem, the Everglades is home to more than 350 species of birds, both alligators and crocodiles, and a wide diversity of plant life that gives shelter and beauty to the region.
Unfortunately, the Everglades is currently threatened. Each day, climate change is negatively affecting the nature, species, and beauty of the region. But climate change isn't just hurting the Everglades -- it's hurting our parks, ecosystems, and outdoor spaces in every state and every region of America.
That's why on Monday, we asked you to join us in taking a stand. We called on you to help make this real for your friends, family, and followers on social media by sharing a photo of your favorite outdoors spot that you'd fight to protect. And we were overwhelmed by your responses.
Here are a few of the places that people said they're fighting for:
"I will fight to protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain region in California. It's home to hundreds of animal species, including one of my favorites, the Black Tailed Mule Deer." -- Mary H.
Tanya SomanaderApril 22, 2015
07:28 PM EDT
What’s a pangolin?
A “walking pinecone”? A modern-day dinosaur? Your Google Earth Day Quiz result? There are lots of different ways to describe the pangolin — a cat-sized, scaly creature that lives in Southeast Asia and Africa. But here’s one indisputable fact about the pangolin: It is the most trafficked animal in the world.
Photo credit: Ruslan Rugoals
Traffickers seek out pangolins for their scales and blood — which are boiled off or drained to use in traditional medicine — and their meat, which is considered a delicacy. Thousands of pangolins are trafficked each year, making them among the most critically endangered species in the world and liable to go extinct if we don’t take action.
This is where the President’s trade deal comes in. A trade deal may not seem like an obvious way to help protect pangolins from illegal trafficking, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not an ordinary trade deal. As the most progressive trade deal in history, the TPP will put in place environmental standards that combat wildlife trafficking in countries that sign on as our trading partners.
Here’s why that’s important: Five of the countries who will join the TPP deal are among the world’s 17 “mega-diverse” countries — a group covering less than 10 percent of the earth’s area, but supporting more than 70 percent of the earth’s plant and animal species.
Check out just a few of the other animals that the TPP will help protect from wildlife trafficking and overfishing:
Jenna BraytonApril 22, 2015
06:09 PM EDT
Next week, President Obama and Vice President Biden will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the United States -- and we want you to join.
The Prime Minister will begin his U.S. visit with an arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn the morning of April 28. Arrival ceremonies began during the Kennedy Administration and have evolved into the traditional way to welcome visiting world leaders.
We want our followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine to help us welcome Prime Minister Abe. While you're here at the White House, you will get to attend the arrival ceremony on the South Lawn and then head inside for meetings with Administration officials with an interest in diplomacy.
Sound fun? The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET, so don’t wait! Apply now.
Jenna BraytonApril 22, 2015
12:40 PM EDT
Today, in honor of Earth Day, President Obama is traveling to the Everglades – the tropical wetlands in the southern part of Florida.
Since 1970, we've commemorated Earth Day on April 22 each year, with worldwide celebrations in support of environmental protection. President Obama is visiting the Everglades this year to highlight how climate change is already damaging American treasures like our National Parks, as well as how climate change will affect our economy, our personal health, and our national security. The Everglades, one of the most beautiful and environmentally sensitive regions in the country, is a key source of drinking water for a third of Florida’s residents, and significantly boosts Florida’s revenue and economy through tourism at the park.
President Obama isn't the first President or Cabinet member to visit the Everglades, though. Check out a few photos of other Presidential and Cabinet trips to the Everglades over the years:
Lindsay HolstApril 22, 2015
10:33 AM EDT
President Obama celebrated Earth Day this week by visiting the Florida Everglades where he spoke about the threat that climate change poses to our economy and to the world. While there, he sat down with Bill Nye the Science Guy to discuss that threat, conservation, and science education in America. Watch that conversation below:
It's Earth Day -- and all day long, we'll be keeping you updated right here with videos, photos, and opportunities to add your voice to the #ActOnClimate conversation. Follow along here for highlights from the President's trip to the Everglades -- and speak up on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #ActOnClimate. We'll be reading and sharing what we hear from you.
Here's what we've got on tap for the day:
This morning, the President is heading to the Florida Everglades along with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) April 21, 2015
At 3 p.m. ET, the President will deliver remarks from the Everglades.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 20, 2015
At 3:30 p.m. ET, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will hold a Twitter Q&A on Latino public health.
— U.S. EPA (@EPA) April 21, 2015
Jenna BraytonApril 21, 2015
08:52 PM EDT
This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that she will deliver commencement addresses at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Chicago, Illinois.
All three schools are doing their part to answer the President’s call to ensure that America has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Jenna BraytonApril 21, 2015
06:52 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama welcomed 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing Team on the White House South Lawn. The event continued the President’s tradition of honoring athletes and teams for their efforts to give back to their communities.
During the event, President Obama also commended Kevin Harvick and his wife, DeLana, for their work on the Kevin Harvick Foundation, which aims to help underprivileged youth excel as students. “Kevin — like so many others across NASCAR — is working to make a difference,” President Obama said.