The White House Blog: The President

  • West Wing Week: 06/05/15 or, “Two Rules”

    This week, the President met with one of our oldest European allies, held a Q&A with 75 young Southeast Asian leaders, awarded two medals of honor posthumously, and welcomed the World Series champion San Francisco Giants to the White House. That’s May 29th to June 4th or, “Two Rules.” 


  • Asked and Answered: What 10-Year-Old Yadid Asked the President

    This is the latest post in our "Asked and Answered" series, in which we periodically feature an exchange between the President -- or a Senior Administration Official -- and an American who wrote him. If you'd like to write the President yourself, you can do so here.


    May was Jewish American Heritage Month. To celebrate, the President joined communities around the country in honoring the contributions Jewish Americans have made to our nation and the shared values that move us forward together.

    To highlight these enduring ideals, we wanted to share a letter exchange between the President and a young Jewish American writer whose parents celebrated Hanukkah at the White House last year. Ten-year-old Yadid Frydman Orlow from White Plains, New York thanked the President, but asked a few important questions as well. His thoughtful questions reflect the recognition that progress begins when someone dares to ask, "What can I do to help?"

    Here is the handwritten letter from Yadid, along with his parents’ invitation to last year’s celebration:


  • Behind the Lens: Photographing an American Hero

    Six years ago — on June 6, 2009 — I photographed Cory Remsburg for the first time.

    It was amid a whirlwind day in France for President Obama — and for me. We’d had an event with U.S. embassy personnel in Paris; a flight on Air Force One from Paris to Caen; a state visit with then-President Sarkozy; a picturesque helicopter ride into Normandy; the 65th anniversary of D-Day; a helicopter, then a plane ride back to Paris; and finally a tour with the Obama family at the Cathedral de Notre Dame. The President and First Lady greeted hundreds of people that day, including a small group of Army Rangers in Normandy.

    Eight months later, I accompanied the President as he made his regular quarterly trip to visit wounded warriors at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The 10th patient he visited that day did not at all look familiar to me. The patient, an Army Ranger, had suffered a severe brain injury caused by a roadside explosion in Afghanistan.

    His name was Cory Remsburg.


  • Why the President’s Trade Deal Is the Best Ingredient to Empower Women in Business

    ½ lb butter, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, flour, salt, oatmeal, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips. Separate and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

    That’s the recipe for freckled oat cookies, and a delicious artifact of my life as an accidental entrepreneur.

    Diana Doukas

    I started baking for fun, as a way to feed my hungry co-workers and celebrate the holidays. That hobby slowly took over my small, post-college apartment, where my two roommates graciously let me spill flour, start mild fires, and turn my love for baked goods into an online business. 

    Like many women entrepreneurs, I turned to friends and family for support and to the Internet for customers. I sent emails to my friends, posted the menu on my Facebook page, and shared my goals with my social network. 

    2007 taught me a lot about the joys of participating in global commerce — and the frustrations, like faulty shipping or the occasional mishap in which more than 500 pralines were mobbed by ants on their way to a wedding, forcing me to start the order all over again.

    However brief, my year as a woman entrepreneur gave me important insight into the struggles our small business owners face, and sparked my desire to help make it a bit easier for them to expand, hire, and go global. 

    That’s why I’m part of a team working on securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — President Obama’s high-standard trade agreement that puts a premium on protecting the American worker. It’s also the first time there are chapters dedicated to the small business and e-commerce economy. 

    Our trade policy is actually vital to empowering women entrepreneurs and workers, both here at home and abroad.

    Here are four reasons why:  


  • 5 Photos: The President Awards the Medal of Honor to Sergeant William Shemin and Private Henry Johnson

    Today, in a ceremony at the White House, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Sergeant William Shemin and Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I.

    Sergeant Shemin entered the Army on October 2, 1917. He was assigned as a rifleman to Company G, 47th Infantry Regiment, which moved from Syracuse, New York to Camp Greene, North Carolina, joining the 4th Infantry Division. The Division arrived in France in May, 1918.

    Private Johnson entered the Army on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment, an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment. The Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Private Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French Army colonial unit in front-line combat.

    Take a look at five photos from today's ceremony -- and then read more about Sgt. Shemin and Pvt. Johnson's heroic actions.

    Command Sergeant Major Louis Wilson accepts the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama awarded posthumously to Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I, at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, June 2, 2015.

    Command Sergeant Major Louis Wilson accepts the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama awarded posthumously to Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I, at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, June 2, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


  • The White House Hosts a Forum on Combating Antibiotic Resistance

    Today, the White House hosted a forum on combating drug-resistant bacteria and enhancing good antibiotic stewardship. The gathering today was an effort to engage in a discussion on the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics, and follows the March release of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

    At the forum, the White House announced a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to buy meat from sources that follow responsible antibiotic use. Separately, it was announced that here at the White House, the Presidential Food Service will only serve meats and poultry that have been raised in accordance with the same responsible-use policies. 


  • President Obama Hosts a Question-and-Answer Session with Young Southeast Asian Leaders

    Today, as part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, President Obama hosted a meeting with 75 emerging leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the White House. The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative encourages civic and government leaders from Southeast Asia to enhance their leadership skills and work with their American counterparts to help promote economic empowerment, good governance, and environmental and natural resources management in their home countries.

    President Obama answers questions from YSALI

    President Obama hosts a discussion with fellows from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Fellows Program on themes of civic engagement, environment and natural resources management and entrepreneurship, in the TK of the White House, June 1, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


  • In Memory of Beau Biden: "Quite Simply, The Finest Man Any Of Us Have Ever Known"

    “Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known” –Vice President Joe Biden

    On Saturday, May 30, our country lost a dedicated public servant – a fighter for justice on the frontlines of war and in the courts here at home. A committed son, father, and husband, Beau Biden put his family first. His was a life we all strive to lead.

    For all who knew him, who were inspired by his example, who share the passion for service that guided every day he lived, please offer your thoughts, prayers, and a message that will be shared with the Biden family as they grieve the loss and honor the memory of a most cherished man. 

    Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Beau Biden on stage together at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver

    Then Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Beau Biden on stage together at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)


  • Weekly Address: Pass the USA Freedom Act

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 29, 2015.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 29, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    In this week's address, the President addressed critical pieces of national security business that remained unfinished when the Senate left town. This Sunday at midnight, key tools used to protect against terrorist threats are set to expire. The USA Freedom Act strikes a balance between security and privacy, reauthorizing important measures that give our national security professionals the authorities they use to keep us safe, while also implementing reforms that enhance the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens. But currently, a small group of senators is standing in its way.

    The President asked Americans to speak with one voice to the Senate to put politics aside, put the safety of the American people first, and pass the USA Freedom Act now.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • More than 4.51 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 February 2015. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.51 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.