The White House Blog: The President

  • Three Letters to the President: We Need to Invest in Our Schools and Teachers

    Every day, the White House receives tens of thousands of letters, faxes, and emails from Americans across the country. Garrett, Tamika, and Cheryl are three of those letter-writers. These are their stories.

    Every student in this country, regardless of their economic circumstance, deserves the opportunity to rise as far as their hard work and initiative will take them.

    Right now, there is a piece of legislation advancing through the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 5) that would cement recent education cuts -- taking funding from the schools that need it most, and giving it to some of the nation's wealthiest districts.

    Find out how a school district near you would be affected.

    Millions of Americans across the country have a very real stake in the resources that go toward paying our teachers, improving our students' curriculums, and making sure our schools have the resources they need.

    Tamika, Garrett, and Cheryl are three of those Americans, and they wrote the President to share their stories. 

  • West Wing Week: 02/20/15 or, “Hello, ‘Chiberia!’”

    This week, the President spent time in sunny San Francisco and subzero Chicago, spoke at two different summits on two different coasts, and named three new national monuments.

  • President Obama on the Causes and Antidotes to Violent Extremism

    "I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS. 

    It's not a revolution or jihad ... it's slaughter ... I was shocked by what I did. 

    This isn't what we came for, to kill other Muslims.

    I'm 28 -- is this the only future I'm able to imagine?" 

    So said one of the many former terrorists in the world who have come to reject such violence.

    What is violent extremism?

    When we think of the issue, many immediately imagine the terrorists who kill innocent people -- in America, in Europe, in the Middle East, and across the world.

    But violent extremism runs deeper than the barbaric acts it breeds. It’s the ideologies, the propaganda, the recruitment, the funding -- the entire infrastructure that extremists use to radicalize and recruit people to commit violence.

    "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."

    A violent extremist could be anyone -- a person of any color or creed. What we do know is that their extremism is rooted in common challenges: the unchecked spread of extremist ideologies, their economic grievances, and their political grievances.  

    This week, the White House is hosting a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism -- a gathering of governments, civil society groups, and community leaders from more than 60 nations in Washington, D.C. to find ways we can empower local communities to overcome these challenges. 

    President Obama addressed the Summit yesterday and today on these issues. Watch his remarks from February 18:  

    Watch on YouTube

  • Let’s Get Every Kid in a Park

    Image of two children sitting on fence in public park

    From sea to shining sea, our country is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant waterways, and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. But right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular outdoor places that belong to all of them.

    President Obama is committed to giving every kid the chance to explore America’s great outdoors and unique history. That’s why today he launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters -- for them and their families -- for a full year.

  • The 2015 Economic Report of the President

    This morning, the Council of Economic Advisers released the 69th-annual Economic Report of the President, which reviews the United States’ accelerating recovery and ways to further support middle-class families as the recovery continues. The economy is recovering from the Great Recession at an increasing pace, growing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent over the past two years, compared with 2.1 percent over the first three-and-a-half years of the recovery. The speed-up is especially clear in the labor market, where job gains have reached a pace not seen since the 1990s. But it is essential that a broad range of households benefit from the United States’ resurgent growth, so this year’s Report focuses on factors that are important to middle-class incomes: productivity, labor force participation, and income inequality. The President’s approach to economic policies, what he calls “middle-class economics,” aims to improve each of these long-standing elements and ensure that Americans of all income levels share in the accelerating recovery.

    Below are some highlights from each of the seven chapters in this year’s Report:

    Chapter 1 reviews the progress of the recovery and explores the long-term factors that drive middle-class incomes. The U.S. recovery has accelerated in terms of both output and employment, with job growth rising 30 percent faster in 2014 than in 2013 (Figure 1-2). Indeed, the unemployment rate has fallen to levels that, as recently as 2013, were not expected until after 2017. These labor market improvements have begun to translate into wage gains for middle-class workers, but nevertheless, this recent progress cannot make up for decades of sub-par middle-class income growth. The chapter provides historical and international context for middle-class income growth and the three key factors that influence it: productivity growth, changes in labor force participation, and income inequality. The increasing strength of our current recovery provides an opportunity to address these long-standing challenges, and the President supports a wide range of policies, detailed in this Report, that will strengthen all three key factors.

  • President Obama Sends Warm Wishes for the Lunar New Year

    Today, the White House released a video message from President Obama welcoming the Lunar New Year:

    Watch on YouTube

    Echoing the President’s message, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs send our best wishes to all those celebrating the Lunar New Year.

  • President Obama: "Writing the Rules for 21st Century Trade"

    This afternoon, President Obama sent the following message to the White House email list, explaining why we have to ensure that America is the country that writes this century's rules for the world's economy.

    Didn't get it? Sign up for email updates here.

    My top priority as President is making sure more hardworking Americans have a chance to get ahead. That's why we have to make sure the United States -- and not countries like China -- is the one writing this century's rules for the world's economy.

    Trade has an important role to play in supporting good-paying, middle-class jobs in the United States. Unfortunately, past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype. That's why I've made it clear that I won't sign any agreement that doesn't put American workers first.

    But we also should recognize that 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders. Exports support more than 11 million jobs -- and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. Failing to seize new opportunities would be devastating not just for our businesses, but for our workers too.

    That's why my Administration is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- so we can benefit from trade that is not just free, but also fair.

    Watch this video my team put together, and then share it with anyone who needs to know exactly what's at stake.

    Watch on YouTube

  • President Obama: "Our Fight Against Violent Extremism"

    Ed. Note: The following op-ed by President Obama appeared in the Los Angeles Times this morning.

    The United States has made significant gains against terrorism. We've decimated the core al Qaeda leadership, strengthened homeland security and worked to prevent another large-scale attack like 9/11.

    At the same time, the threat has evolved. The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. Since 9/11, terrorists have murdered U.S. citizens overseas, including in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Here in the United States, Americans have been killed at Ft. Hood and during the Boston Marathon.

    Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds.

  • Weekly Address: Giving Every Child, Everywhere, a Fair Shot

    President Obama Tapes the Weekly Address on January 30

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President laid out his plan to ensure more children graduate from school fully prepared for college and a career.

    Our elementary and secondary schools are doing better, as demonstrated by the news this past week that our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, but there is still more that can be done to ensure every child receives a quality education. That’s why the President wants to replace No Child Left Behind with a new law that addresses the overuse of standardized tests, makes a real investment in preschool, and gives every kid a fair shot at success.

    He reminded everyone that when educating our kids, the future of our nation, we shouldn’t accept anything less than the best.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • President Obama Speaks at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

    Watch on YouTube

    Earlier this afternoon, the President visited Stanford University to speak at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Today's summit brought together leaders from a number of areas -- Congress, industry, tech companies, law enforcement, students, and others -- to work together and explore partnerships that will help develop the best ways to bolster our cybersecurity.

    President Obama remarked that our nation is doing more business online than ever before, at the rate of trillions of dollars each year. And consumers are doing more online as well -- managing bank accounts, shopping, paying bills, handling medical records, just to name a few. But, these new opportunities and conveniences also bring a unique set of risks.

    "When companies get hacked, Americans’ personal information, including their financial information, gets stolen," the President explained. "Identity theft can ruin your credit rating and turn your life upside down. In recent breaches, more than 100 million Americans had their personal data compromised, including, in some cases, credit card information."