The White House Blog: The President

  • Week In Review: A Commencement Address, Discussing Poverty, and a Business Spark

    This week, the President traveled to Nike headquarters, welcomed entrepreneurs to the White House, sat down for a discussion on poverty in America, and took important steps to eliminate any ambiguity around the reforms that the Affordable Care Act calls for. The First Lady also had a busy week, which included delivering a powerful commencement address at Tuskegee University--the only university in America to be designated as a National Historic Site. 

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

    “We’ve Got to Learn the Right Lessons”

    Last Friday, the President dropped by Nike headquarters in Oregon to talk about the impact his trade deal -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- will have on American businesses, large and small. Manufacturing and exports help drive the success of our businesses and the financial security of our workers. Companies that export their goods and services pay their employees up to 18 percent more, and are more able to expand and hire.

    Watch on YouTube

    In fact, Nike announced that the President's trade deal, if secured, could lead to the creation of up to 10,000 advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs -- and up to 40,000 indirect supply chain and services jobs -- here in the U.S. over the next decade.

    Watch the President’s remarks at Nike, and learn more about his trade deal.

  • The President and Vice President’s 2014 Financial Disclosure Forms

    Today, the President and Vice President released their 2014 financial disclosure reports.

    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials. Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:

  • West Wing Week: 05/15/2015 or, “The 50th State!”

    This week, the President visited Nike Headquarters, joined a panel discussion on combatting poverty with economists, welcomed the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to the White House, and congratulated the graduates of one of the top community colleges in the nation, where he crossed a certain geographical threshold only three other Presidents have done. That’s May 8th to May 14th or, “The 50th State!”

  • On B.B. King: "The Blues Has Lost Its King, and America Has Lost a Legend"

    B.B. King Performs at the White House Christmas

    BB King performs "Merry Christmas Baby" at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. December 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "There's going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight." 

    President Obama had the following to say on the passing of American icon B.B. King: 

    "The blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend. B.B. King was born a sharecropper’s son in Mississippi, came of age in Memphis, Tennessee, and became the ambassador who brought his all-American music to his country and the world. No one worked harder than B.B. No one inspired more up-and-coming artists. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues. 

    Three years ago, Michelle and I hosted a blues concert at the White House. I hadn’t expected that I’d be talked into singing a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago” with B.B. by the end of the night, but that was the kind of effect his music had, and still does. He gets stuck in your head, he gets you moving, he gets you doing the things you probably shouldn’t do – but will always be glad you did. B.B. may be gone, but that thrill will be with us forever. And there’s going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight."

    Watch B.B. King's unforgettable performances at the White House -- including a duet with the President: 

    Sweet Home Chicago

  • The Faces of Health Care: Siobhan F.

    "It is because of ‘Obama Care’ and the revisions to prenatal coverage that we are able to both afford medical coverage for our family and grow our family."

    — Siobhan F.

    Siobhan is a wife and mother from McKinney, Texas. When she was laid off last year, she lost health care benefits -- and because her husband’s company didn’t offer coverage, her family was left without any access to health care.

    She ultimately found another job, but the premiums were still too expensive.

    But, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, all of that changed. Now, under the ACA, Siobhan not only can find coverage at an affordable rate, but knew she had quality maternity and prenatal coverage when she found out she was expecting a baby. As Siobhan said, access to affordable health care is “a blessing that no family should be denied.”

  • Must Watch: 5 of Our Favorite Obama Administration Commencement Addresses

    Graduates react as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the commencement ceremony at Morehouse College

    Graduates react as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the commencement ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., May 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    It's commencement season.

    As the President prepares to head to Connecticut to deliver the address to the United States Coast Guard Academy's graduating class of 2015 next week, we decided to pull together a few of our favorite commencement addresses from Administration officials.

    We think you'll find them pretty inspiring. Have another commencement speech you love? Tweet them to me at @Holst44.

  • 3 Important Thoughts the President Shared on Poverty in America:

    Watch on YouTube

    Today at Georgetown University, President Obama sat down with Harvard professor Robert Putnam and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks to share his views on poverty in America and what we can do to ensure every American — no matter who they are, where they come from, or where they live — has access to the opportunities they deserve.

    The conversation, hosted by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, touched on economic solutions that can broaden opportunity, the political will to support initiatives that expand those opportunities, and the minority communities that are disproportionately impacted by the decision — or failure — to make those investments. The President also offered his candid and personal views on how growing up without a father shaped how he sees these issues today. 

    Check out the top three highlights from the conversation here: 

  • What You Need to Know About the New Contraception Guidance:

    It is crucial that insurance companies provide all the benefits that women deserve under the Affordable Care Act, at no cost or inconvenience. So this week, the Obama administration took steps to eliminate any ambiguity around the reforms the ACA calls for. Here is what the Administration’s guidance makes clear:

    Most insurers must cover, without cost-sharing, at least one form of contraception in each of the 18 methods for women that the FDA has identified, including the ring, the patch, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and birth control pills.

  • Email from Jerry Abramson: "Today's Conversation with the President"

    This morning, Jerry Abramson, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs here at the White House, sent the following message to the White House email list.

    Abramson says that the tensions that have recently erupted in communities such as Ferguson and Baltimore are not solely tied to policing, but are also linked to the lack of economic opportunity. He also details a number of the efforts that President Obama is taking to expand opportunity for more Americans.

    Make sure to tune in today at 11:30 a.m. ET to watch the President's discussion at Georgetown University about poverty and opportunity -- and share with us how these issues are playing out in your own community, and how you think we can continue expanding opportunity for more Americans. (And if you didn't get the email, sign up for updates here.)

    From Ferguson and Staten Island to North Charleston and Baltimore, our nation has been moved -- to conversation and debate, protest and action -- by images of tragic encounters between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

    But as the President has made clear, these issues are not new, and every mayor (or former mayor, like me) can attest that what we are witnessing in cities across America is not only about policing.

    This is also about opportunity.

    Everyone should be empowered by the country they call home. Unfortunately, in America, too many young people are limited by the zip code into which they are born. The President doesn't treat this conversation as one to be had only every few months surrounding the latest tragedy captured on camera and replayed on the news.

    Tell us how these issues are playing out in your own community, and how you think we can continue expanding opportunity for more Americans.

    (And make sure to tune in to today at 11:30 a.m. ET as the President sits down for a special discussion at Georgetown University about poverty and opportunity.)

  • The White House Celebrates Entrepreneurs Around the World

    This afternoon at the Global Entrepreneurship meeting, President Obama welcomed emerging entrepreneurs from across the country and around the world to the White House to honor their achievements in their fields of business.

    He also announced new commitments in support of the Spark Global Entrepreneurship Initiative -- a bold goal of generating $1 billion in new investment for emerging entrepreneurs worldwide by 2017, and issued a call to action to companies, organizations, and individuals across the globe to increase their support to emerging entrepreneurs, before his trip to Kenya in July for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.