The White House Blog: The President

  • "We've Got to Learn the Right Lessons": President Obama Explains His Vision on Trade at Nike

    On a beautiful, sunny day just outside Portland, Oregon, the President dropped by Nike headquarters 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% more, and are more able to expand and hire. 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. 

    But this isn't just about American icons like Nike. The TPP is a big deal for small businesses too. Right now, small businesses don't have the support they need to get their handcrafted, Made-in-America products out into the world.  


  • West Wing Week: 05/08/2015 or, “Viva Los Estados Unidos!”

    This week, the President visited Lehman College in New York City for the launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, taped an episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, hosted a Cinco de Mayo celebration, announced his nominee for the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and presented the 2014 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. That’s May 1st to May 7th, or “Viva Los Estados Unidos!”


  • Asked and Answered: A World War II Veteran Writes the President

    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.


    I work in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, and one of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping process correspondence from our nation’s veterans.

    On the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day), I wanted to share with you one of the thousands of letters the President has received from WWII veterans and their families. The President was raised with the help of his grandparents — a veteran who served in the European Theater during WWII, and a Rosie the Riveter who worked on a bomber assembly line during the war. And I think partly for that reason, this mail always seems to really grab the President’s attention.

    Below is one of these letters. World War II veteran Ernest Lovato of Albuquerque, New Mexico wrote the President to thank him for a visit to the Southwest, and shared photos of two of the B-17 Flying Fortresses he painted while serving in the Army Air Corps' 100th Bombardment Group. The President responded — and he included a photograph of his own.

    Today, as we watch World War II-era planes fly over the White House in honor of the anniversary of V-E Day, we pay tribute to all those like Mr. Lovato and the President’s grandmother, who helped build and maintain these planes helping lead the Allied forces to victory. And we solemnly remember all those we lost, remaining deeply humbled by all those who served.

    Take a look at Mr. Lovato's letter, and the amazing photos he enclosed — including the B-17s he painted during WWII and the charming photo from his wedding day 72 years ago:


  • The Employment Situation in April

    The economy added 223,000 jobs in April as the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent—the lowest since May 2008—and the participation rate ticked up. This report largely reflects the ongoing recovery, but jobs in April were likely also boosted by a temporary bounce-back from winter weather. Notwithstanding the substantial progress our economy has made, it is critical to continue the overall momentum and further strengthen wage growth. That is why the President is pursuing policies including opening new markets for U.S. goods and services through expanded trade, increasing investments in infrastructure, providing relief from the sequester, and raising the minimum wage.

    FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN APRIL 2015

    1. The private sector has added 12.3 million jobs over 62 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 213,000 in April. Our businesses and the economy as a whole created more than 200,000 jobs in thirteen of the past fourteen months—the first time that has happened since 1995. After taking into account the downward revision for the March jobs number, our economy has added 3.0 million new jobs over the past twelve months, nearly the fastest pace in more than a decade.

     


  • Designing a Trade Deal with Small Business in Mind

    Tess Darrow

    In 1999, I left a design job to pursue my passion for letterpress printing and started a greeting card company, Egg Press. Letterpress is a centuries-old production printing process. It's a relief method of printing that leaves an impression in the paper that you can see and feel. Every piece is printed by hand at our studio in Portland, Oregon.


    I take pride in the fact that our products are all made by us in America, and am proud to be part of a rich history of American manufacturing.


    The creativity and care we put into each card is something customers look for – not just stores across the country, but in countries around the globe. Right now, we’re selling our Made-in-America designs on four different continents, in countries like Japan and Australia. For our business, it's a new frontier. In Japan alone, we estimate we could do half the volume we currently do in the U.S.

    But getting our cards and products to our international customers is not easy. We’re a company of 20, and right now, the logistics of trading can make that new frontier feel daunting: unpredictable customs rules, confusing shipping logistics, and unreasonable duties applied at the border that can drive the prices up on our products and deter our customers.

    A Printing Press in Action

    It's common to hear at international trade shows that, though a customer wants to order, they won't take the risk of the unknown and unpredictable expense of duties and taxes, potentially making the retail price of each card more than the market can bear. And we have experienced many pitfalls in shipping internationally such as long delays in customs and packages returned for reasons our shipper could not explain, delivering a blow to our bottom line and our customers’ respect for our business. And with our customers, trust is everything.

    These are the reasons I’m proud to support President Obama’s trade deal: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the most progressive trade deal in history. I'm looking forward to joining him when he visits the Nike campus to talk about what this deal will mean for world-renowned American businesses like Nike, and community-rooted American small businesses like mine.


  • Weekly Address: Honoring the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, May 7, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, May 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President honored the 70th anniversary of V-E Day. On this occasion, we commemorate the Allied victory in Europe during World War II. It is a day to pay tribute to the men and women who decades ago served and sacrificed for the cause of freedom. This was the generation that, by ending the war, literally saved the world, laying a foundation for peace.

    The President asked that in addition to commemorating this important anniversary, we honor the men and women in uniform who currently serve our country, and recommit ourselves to the values we share with our allies in Europe and beyond: freedom, security, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

    Also worth a read: The President's exchange with World War Two veteran Ernest Lovato, who served in the Army Air Corps' 100th Bombardment Group.


  • President Obama Honors the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy

    This afternoon, President Obama hosted the Air Force Fighting Falcons football team at the White House in honor of their winning the annual Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

    In the East Room, President Obama congratulated the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh; the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson; Coach Troy Calhoun; and the Fighting Falcons of the Air Force Academy on a great football season. The Falcons went 10-3 this past year, including a bowl victory.


  • Trading on the Oregon Trail: What Small Businesses Are Saying About the TPP

    President Obama is traveling to northern Oregon tomorrow to visit the headquarters of Nike and discuss the ways that both large and small American businesses can benefit from increased access to trade. The President’s trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — would open up new markets, support high-quality jobs, protect the environment, raise human rights and labor standards around the world, and level the playing field for American workers.

    While every state stands to benefit from the President’s trade deal, few states would benefit more than Oregon. Exporting a record $20.9 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world in 2014 and supporting 86,000 jobs throughout the state, trade is a substantial driver of Oregon’s economy. Also, three out of Oregon’s top five export markets will be covered by the TPP, and this high-standards trade deal will further unlock opportunity for businesses and foster even greater economic and job growth.

    From Portland to Medford, nearly 6,000 Oregon companies exported in 2013. And while the President is visiting one of the state’s largest businesses tomorrow, 88% of these Oregon businesses were small and medium-sized businesses — generating more than a third of the state’s total exports of merchandise in 2013.

    Whether a cup of morning tea or a ride to work, these are small businesses that Oregonians depend on — and in turn, these businesses depend on accessibility to world markets in order to expand and hire more employees. 

    Here are some of Oregon's small businesses that stand to benefit from the President's trade deal:  


  • "This Is My Heart Because You Haven't Visited South Dakota"

    Rebecca is 11 years old and her heart is broken.

    A young resident of Vermillion, South Dakota, Rebecca has been waiting and waiting for President Obama to visit her home state for the last six years. So, in April, she took matters into her own hands and wrote the President a letter laying out her best arguments for him to come: "We are the warmest of the Dakotas ... and when I just go to the park, I sometimes see coyotes, hawks, and bald eagles." 


  • Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 States

    This week, the President will visit South Dakota, marking the 50th state he has visited during his administration (as such, it's also my 50th state with him). To mark the occasion, I chose one photograph from each state that we’ve visited. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. With help from photo editor Phaedra Singelis, I tried to depict a variety of situations. Some are more lighthearted, some are sad, and some are poignant. Some are with the Vice President, some are with the First Lady and a couple are with the entire family. A selection of photos are centered on policy, and others on politics. Some focus on the President' as Commander-in-Chief — others on his role as consoler for the nation.

    I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned -- we’ll be adding a photograph from South Dakota following his visit there on Friday.


    Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)