The White House Blog: The President

  • Our Latest Tool to Combat Cyber Attacks: What You Need to Know


    "Starting today, we’re giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit." -- President Obama


    For the first time, President Obama is giving our country a new tool to combat the most significant cyber threats to our national security, foreign policy, or economy. It's an important step, and many people may be wondering how it will work. Take a look at a few answers to some questions you may have on how the President's latest Executive Order will bolster our cybersecurity: 

    1. Why is President Obama issuing an Executive Order? 

    We live in an information age – almost every aspect of our daily lives is entwined in some way with the Internet. Here’s the problem: The very networks that we rely on to enable many aspects of our increasingly digital lives are vulnerable to cyberattack. Every day, malicious actors are targeting our businesses, trade secrets and critical infrastructure, and sensitive information – and many of these attacks originate from outside our borders.  

    When it comes to the worst actors, one of the biggest challenges we currently face is developing tools that will allow us to respond appropriately, proportionately, and effectively to malicious cyber-enabled activities, and to deter others from engaging in similar activities. With this Order, President Obama is taking action to give America a new way to confront the growing threat posed by significant malicious cyber actors that may be beyond the reach of our existing capabilities.


  • Expanding Our Ability to Combat Cyber Threats

    As the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, I advise President Obama on the range of security challenges facing the United States every day, from terror threats at home and abroad and pandemic disease, to natural disasters and cybersecurity. Cyber threats are at the top of the President’s list of security concerns. In just the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the frequency, scale, and sophistication of cyber incidents targeting the American people, including everything from large data breaches and significant intrusions to destructive and coercive cyber attacks intended to influence the way ordinary Americans exercise their constitutional rights. In many cases, these threats stem from actors overseas using malicious cyber activities to inflict harm on Americans without ever leaving their desks.

    No one connected to the Internet is immune from these harms — not businesses, not private citizens, and not the government. Moreover, the implications of these harms are as real as they are complex — everyone can feel the effects of malicious cyber activity, from the consumer who is forced to deal with the consequences of a data breach affecting a business with whom he or she deals, to the company whose trade secret is stolen by faraway competitors.  

    We are at a transformational moment in how we approach cybersecurity. The actions we take today will help ensure that the Internet remains an enabler of global commerce and innovation.


  • President Obama Helps Dedicate the New Edward M. Kennedy Institute

    President Obama Speaks at the New Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Mass., March 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady traveled to Boston today to celebrate the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The building — complete with a full-scale replica of the United States Senate chamber — honors the life and legacy of Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who served as a U.S. Senator from 1962 to 2009.

    Located adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Institute offers interactive exhibits, a replica of Sen. Kennedy’s D.C. office, and historic documents and memorabilia from the Senator’s life.

    “The John F. Kennedy Library next door is a symbol of our American idealism. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is a living example of the hard, frustrating, never-ending, but critical work required to make that idealism real,” President Obama said today.

    Watch the President's full remarks here:

    Watch on YouTube


  • AmeriCorps Program Improves Childhood Literacy

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the Corporation for National and Community Service's blog. See the original post here.

    One of my priorities as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service is using evidence and data to show results and drive greater impact on pressing national challenges. That’s why I’m so excited about new research that demonstrates AmeriCorps tutors are increasing literacy and kindergarten readiness – key benchmarks for success in school and in life.

    The research, conducted by an independent evaluator, focused on the Pre-K program of the Minnesota Reading Corps, the largest AmeriCorps tutoring program.  This program, started in Minnesota in 2003, has been replicated in seven other states and Washington, DC.

    Among other findings, the evaluation found that students tutored by AmeriCorps members were significantly more prepared for kindergarten than students without such tutors. AmeriCorps members helped students meet or exceed targets for kindergarten readiness in all five critical literacy skills assessed. The effect sizes were not only significant, but substantial in magnitude.  The program was effective across a range of settings – both in public schools and Head Start Centers – and for all students regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, or dual language learner status.


  • Reinforcing the U.S.-Africa Partnership

    Last summer, the United States paved new pathways for our relationship with Africa by hosting the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Fifty-one African leaders joined President Obama in Washington for a discussion on "Investing in the Next Generation", the theme of the Summit. This gathering resulted in $33 billion dollars in new commitments to support economic growth across Africa, as well as tangible U.S. and African efforts to improve security, promote human rights and good governance, and provide opportunities for Africa’s sizeable youth population.

    As the White House announced earlier today, the United States is partnering with the Government of Kenya to host the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The President will travel to Kenya this summer – his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa and the most of any sitting U.S. president – where he will participate in bilateral meetings and attend this important event.


  • Weekly Address: Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, March 27, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, March 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.

    The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Week in Review: 5 Years of the ACA, Our Fifth Science Fair, and a Talk About the War on Drugs

    This week, the President celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, hosted students at the fifth-annual White House Science Fair, sat down with the creator of “The Wire” to discuss criminal justice policy, and traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to highlight new actions to crack down on abusive payday lending practices.

    Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.


    5 Years Later

    On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a historic law that has transformed the lives of millions of Americans. Thanks to Obamacare, people across the country have more affordable coverage, higher-quality care, and better health.

    Today, more than 16 million Americans have gained health coverage that suits their needs. 76 million people are now benefiting from preventive care coverage. Up to 129 million people with pre-existing conditions are no longer at risk of being denied coverage.

    The facts are in: The Affordable Care Act is working. Look back at the passage of the Affordable Care Act and see all it's done for America since.


  • More than 4.41 Million Records Released

    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 December 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.41 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.


  • West Wing Week: 03/27/2015 or, “The Magic Page”

    This week, the President welcomed to the White House both student filmmakers and student scientists, hosted the Afghan president, and honored the five year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, while the First Lady championed the Let Girls Learn initiative in Japan and Cambodia. That's March 20th to March 26th or, "The Magic Page."

    Don't forget to tune in next week for a special, 5th-anniversary edition of West Wing Week:


  • The President’s Trip to Birmingham

     

    This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to highlight new actions the Administration is taking to protect you, the American consumer.

    While in Birmingham, the President hosted a roundtable on the economy and delivered remarks at Lawson State Community College. He advocated for stricter payday lending rules and taked about the progress we’ve made building a safer and stronger financial system.

    President Obama praised the  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent watchdog that is taking new steps towards cracking down on abusive practices involving payday loans. Now, lenders will be required to verify that borrowers can pay them back, and limit short-term credits to 45 days.

    President Obama participates in a roundtable at Lawson State

    President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable on consumer protection issues, at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, March 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)