West Wing Week: 08/07/15 or, “The Measure Of A Leader”

This week, the President announced a new historic action to cut harmful carbon pollution, advocated for the Iran deal, celebrated his 54th birthday, and inaugurated a new class of Mandela fellows. read more Read more »

#JonVoyage: Our 4 Favorite Moments from President Obama’s Interviews on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" has become one of the most influential programs on television by offering honest, passionate analysis and satirical commentary of the news. Politicians, network executives, and everyday Americans tune in four times a week and esteem his segments for their thoughtful monologues, sharp correspondents, and well-timed celebrity guests.

Since 1999, Jon Stewart has tackled current events and changed the way we talk about the world around us. His episodes show incredible range of emotion — from hilariously referring to President Obama as “dude,” to his powerful, solemn monologue after the shooting in Charleston.

Tonight, Stewart will give his last performance on "The Daily Show." He and President Obama have shared the screen a total of seven times over the past 10 years, discussing the President's work as a Senator, on campaigns, and in the White House. Most recently, President Obama sat down with Stewart last month as part of the trailblazing final season.

Here are four of our favorite moments Jon Stewart has shared with President Obama over the years:

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President Obama’s Iran Deal Speech Echoes John F. Kennedy

Yesterday, President Obama spoke on the Iran deal at American University's School of International Service.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy also delivered a historic foreign policy speech at American University. Just eight months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had boldly entered into a diplomatic agreement with an adversary of the United States -- the Soviet Union. He faced criticism at home for choosing to pursue a peaceful weapons agreement with a country no one trusted.

President Kennedy addresses the American University Commencement, recieves honorary degree. 

 

President Kennedy's diplomatic approach succeeded in advancing the national security interests of the United States -- and the Iran deal does the same. 

 

50 years ago, JFK spoke of peace in a nuclear age at @AmericanU. Today, @POTUS will too. Read JFK's speech: http://t.co/Vk6SI5hkiF #IranDeal

— The Iran Deal (@TheIranDeal) August 5, 2015

 

Both Presidents believed that a peaceful agreement was preferable to alternatives which would likely lead to military confrontation. 

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Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Want to Know More About the Iran Deal?

Yesterday, Ben Rhodes, the President's Deputy National Security Advisor, sent the following message to the White House list, announcing the launch of @TheIranDeal -- a Twitter account that is dedicated to delivering the facts and answering your questions about the deal and how it enhances American national security. 

If you didn't get the email, make sure to sign up for email updates here.

Hey,

I'm Ben Rhodes, a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. For the past few years, I've been working closely with America's negotiating team, which was tasked with finding a way to achieve a diplomatic resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Last week, after two years of tough negotiations, our team along with our international partners achieved just that.

It's a historic deal. It blocks every possible pathway Iran could use to build a bomb while verifying -- through a comprehensive inspections and transparency regime -- that Iran's nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

The deal is called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it's important that everyone here and around the world understands exactly what's in it and how it'll work.

That's why we launched @TheIranDeal -- a Twitter account that is dedicated to delivering the facts and answering your questions about the deal and how it enhances American national security. Follow along now.

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President Obama Celebrates 25 Years of the ADA

Yesterday, President Obama celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the White House.

In the East Room, President Obama honored those who made the ADA the law of the land – the activists, congressional representatives, and stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure that millions of Americans with disabilities had the chance to make their contributions to the world.

"Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life -- schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks -- they truly belong to everyone."

— President Obama

President Obama during 25th anniversary ADA remarks

An interpreter signs in the foreground while President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a reception for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the East Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama outlined the commitments that the government has made to be more responsive to people with disabilities since the passage of the ADA — and reiterated his own commitment to continuing the legacy set in place by President George H.W. Bush when the ADA was signed in 1990.

The Obama administration created the first office within FEMA dedicated to disabilities - so that if and when a disaster strikes we are prepared to help everyone – and created the first special advisor for international disabilities at the State Department. The Administration has also worked to make sure that federal contractors have plans in place for hiring people with disabilities, and has encouraged all others to do the same.

The President lauded the contributions of the ADA, and highlighted that more people with disabilities are in the workforce today than at any point in the last 30 years because of this legislation. He also explained how the ADA was personal to him - his father-in-law, Fraser Robinson, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, before the passage of the ADA, and could have benefited from its provisions.

“And just through the power of his example, he opened a lot of people’s eyes, including mine, to some of the obstacles that folks with disabilities faced and how important it is that the rest of us do our part to remove those obstacles,” the President said.

Read the President’s full remarks from yesterday's ADA reception here.

See more on what the Obama administration has done to help people with disabilities here.

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Meet the Law That’s Been Quietly Protecting You and Strengthening Our Economy for the Past 5 Years:

“Dodd-Frank” is shorthand for the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whose chief co-sponsors on Capitol Hill were Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Barney Frank. These reforms — that the President signed into law exactly five years ago today — and others the Administration has put in place since the crisis represent the most sweeping set of financial reforms since the Great Depression.

Why does it matter and why should you care? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

(And if you just want a quick breakdown of the numbers behind five years of Wall Street reform, take a look here.)

1. Remember the CFPB? Wall Street reform created it.

“CFPB” stands for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: an independent watchdog responsible for writing and enforcing rules to protect you as you borrow and save. And Wall Street reform made it happen.

Here's why that's a big deal:

You’d be surprised at exactly what lenders were able to get away with during the housing bubble — including loading up a mortgage with extra costs to jack up their own compensation in the short term before shuffling that loan over to a third party, making it their problem. With these bad incentives, lenders steered borrowers toward bad products they couldn’t afford (even when they qualified for better, lower-cost options), often burying the terms of made-to-explode mortgages in the fine print.

Dodd-Frank fixed that. Today, lenders have to assess borrowers’ ability to pay a mortgage first. They have to take responsibility for the risks of the loans they make, giving them “skin in the game” to encourage responsible lending. And they will have to present them to the borrowers in clearer, easier-to-understand terms. And the CFPB is keeping all kinds of consumer lenders honest — from credit card companies, to mortgage lenders, to debt collectors, to student loan servicers. Since 2011, the CFPB’s enforcement actions have delivered nearly $11 billion in relief to more than 26 million consumers harmed by illegal practices -- including a new action announced today.

(Those practices include deceptive marketing, unfair billing, and discriminatory practices by big banks and other financial institutions — and a whole lot more. Learn more about them here.)

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WEEKLY ADDRESS: A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 17, 2015.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, the President explained the comprehensive, long-term deal announced earlier this week that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement cuts off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon, implements unprecedented monitoring and inspections of Iran’s key nuclear facilities, and ensures that if Iran violates these terms, the strict sanctions previously imposed on the country will snap back into place. This is a good deal that demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, July 18, 2015.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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The Oldest Living Veteran Meets the President

This afternoon, President Obama invited 110-year-old Emma Didlake -- believed to be the country's oldest living veteran -- to the Oval Office. "It's a great honor to have her here." the President said.

President Obama meets the nation's oldest vet, Emma Didlake

President Barack Obama greets the nation’s oldest living veteran, Emma Didlake, in the Oval Office, July 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Emma Didlake was a 38-year-old wife and mother when she decided she wanted to join the military. In 1943, she signed up for the Women’s Auxiliary Corp (WAC) and served as an Army private and driver for almost a year during World War II.

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Regional Roundup: What America’s Newspapers are Saying About the Iran Deal

This week, the President announced that the United States – with our allies and partners – has reached a comprehensive, long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The world’s superpowers as well as ... Read more »