By Jueseppi B.
Responding to the Situation in Ukraine
07:05 PM EST
Today, President Obama spoke by phone with Chancellor Merkelof Germany to consult on the situation in Ukraine. The two leaders agreed it is critical that the United States, Germany and the European Union continue to stay in close touch in the days ahead on steps we can take to support an end to the violence and a political solution that is in the best interests of the Ukrainian people.
Before a bilateral meeting yesterday with President Peña Nieto of Mexico, President Obama said that “the United States condemns in strongest terms the violence that’s taking place” in Ukraine. “And we have been deeply engaged with our European partners as well as both the Ukrainian government and the opposition to try to assure that that violence ends,” he said.
— petesouza (@petesouza) February 20, 2014
But we hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way; that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression.
And I want to be very clear that as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we are going to be watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters. We’ve said that we also expect peaceful protesters to remain peaceful. And we’ll be monitoring very carefully the situation, recognizing, along with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences if people step over the line. And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians.
So the United States will continue to engage with all sides in the dispute in Ukraine, and ultimately our interest is to make sure that the Ukrainian people can express their own desires. And we believe that a large majority of Ukrainians are interested in an integration with Europe, and the commerce and cultural exchanges that are possible for them to expand opportunity and prosperity.
But regardless of how the Ukrainian people determine their own future, it is important that it is the people themselves that make those decisions. And that’s what the United States will continue to strive to achieve.
And I do think there is still the possibility of a peaceful transition within Ukraine, but it’s going to require the government, in particular, to actively seek that peaceful transition, and it requires the opposition and those on the streets to recognize that violence is not going to be the path by which this issue will be resolved.
Check back at whitehouse.gov/ukraine for updates and more information as it is released.
More information on the Obama administration’s response to the situation in Ukraine:
- Readout of President Obama’s call with Chancellor Merkel
- Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine
- President Obama’s remarks before a bilateral meeting with President Peña Nieto
- Readouts of Vice President Biden‘s calls with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
- Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Ukraine
Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine
We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people. We urge President Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully. We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means. The use of force will not resolve the crisis — clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people. The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future.
Dr. Biden Speaks at Summit Focused on Post-9/11 Veterans at The Bush Institute
Yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden joined President Bush at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas for a Summit focused on how Americans can support post-9/11 veterans as they transition back to civilian life. Dr. Biden noted that while the troops serving our nation represent only one percent of the population, the other 99 percent of Americans need to find ways to honor and support them.
In her remarks, Dr. Biden highlighted the many ways Americans have already stepped up since she and First Lady Michelle Obama started Joining Forces nearly three years ago:
- Businesses have made it a priority to hire veterans and military spouses, not only because it is their patriotic duty, but because they know our service men and women are highly-skilled, hardworking employees;
- Educators, including teaching colleges, are doing more to prepare teachers for the unique needs of military-connected children in the classroom, and higher education institutions are taking steps to help veterans succeed on campus; and
- Doctors, nurses, and social workers have pledged support to enhance the preparation of our nation’s medical providers to care for returning service men and women, and their families.
But she also said that even small gestures of kindness can make all the difference for a military family, whether it is bringing over a warm meal or a neighbor shoveling the driveway.
Raising awareness about the military experience and transition back to civilian life is critical.
“…as more and more Americans have a real understanding of what it means to serve, the more they are ready to step up and do their part,” Dr. Biden said.
View Dr. Biden’s remarks here.
Empowering Our Nation’s Warriors: Remarks by Dr. Jill Biden
Published on Feb 19, 2014
Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States and Co-Founder, Joining Forces, gives remarks at the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative summit, Empowering Our Nation’s Warriors, on Feb. 19, 2014.
First Lady Michelle Obama to Celebrate the Fourth Anniversary oF Let’s Move!
Published on Feb 20, 2014
The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, wants you to show her how you move. Use the hashtag #LetsMove to join in! http://www.letsmove.gov
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a celebration around the fourth anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential.
Today, we are moving toward a healthier future and this movement is becoming the new norm all across the country. From child care centers through high school, from sun up to sun down the country is moving toward a healthier future.
On this anniversary, Mrs. Obama will be highlighting examples of people, communities, and organizations that are participating in this movement.
To demonstrate the national scope of this movement, the First Lady is encouraging people of all ages, to show her how they move – through their everyday fitness routine, making better food choices, or by moving their community toward that new norm – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. using #LetsMove. Click here to watch the First Lady explain this online challenge.
Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then, parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.
Thanks in part to these efforts, our nation is moving towards a new, healthier norm. More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home, school health environments are changing, healthier foods are being marketed to kids, and making healthy choices is becoming easier for families. A CDC report released last year showed that obesity among low-income pre-schoolers declined in 19 states over the past couple of years.
For more information on how we’ve moved towards a healthier norm over the past four years, visit: http://go.wh.gov/RZ3TsD
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
New York, NY * 10:45 AM ET – Inspired by the Drink Up initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit the Taking Back the Streets exhibit at the New Museum in New York City. The exhibit, developed by WAT-AAH, is a celebration of street art in honor of Drink Up, the Partnership for Healthier America’s initiative that encourages all Americans to drink more water. TheTaking Back the Streets exhibit will use the visual arts to remind kids and parents that choosing to drink water is one of the best and easiest decisions we can make each and every day.
This event is pooled press.
New York, NY – Later in the afternoon, the First Lady will tape an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” During her interview, Mrs. Obama will highlight the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move! initiative. Her appearance will air that evening.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Washington, DC * 11:00 AM ET – First Lady Michelle Obama will join United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an announcement on school wellness and to highlight the incredible progress being made in school health environments across the country.
This event in the East Room is open press. Members of the media who wish to cover the event must RSVP with “SCHOOL WELLNESS” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 PM, Monday, February 24th. who do not have a White House Hard Pass must also include: Full Legal Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, US Citizenship Status, Country of Origin, and Current City/State.
Miami, FL * 4:30 PM ET– Following the Let’s Move! School Wellness Event, the First Lady will travel to Miami, Florida. While in Miami, she will visit a local parks and recreation center to make a major announcement about healthy out-of-school time.
This event is open press. Members of the media who wish to cover the event must RSVP with “OUT OF SCHOOL TIME” in the subject line to email@example.com by 12 PM, Monday, February 24th. Those who do not have a White House Hard Pass must also include: Full Legal Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, US Citizenship Status, Country of Origin, and Current City/State.
Following her event in Miami, the First Lady will join Mario Lopez for an interview for Extra. This interview will air the following day. Later that afternoon, the First Lady will join Satcha Pretto for an interview with¡Despierta América!. This interview will air the following day.
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Washington, DC * 11:00 AM ET—The First Lady will make an announcement regarding proposals to help parents and other consumers make healthier choices.
This event is in the East Room and is open press. Members of the media who wish to cover the event must RSVP with “HEALTHIER CHOICES” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 PM, Wednesday, February 26th. Those who do not have a White House Hard Pass must also include: Full Legal Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, US Citizenship Status, Country of Origin, and Current City/State.
Following the event, the First Lady will join Rachael Ray for an interview. This interview will air the following week on The Rachael Ray Show.
Bowie, MD * 2:30 PM — Later that afternoon, the First Lady will travel to Bowie, Maryland for an announcement with a local child care facility. Since 2011, nearly 12,000 child care providers have committed to providing healthy environments and encouraging healthy habits among our nation’s preschoolers through Let’s Move! Child Care. These child care providers are increasing physical activity, limiting screen time, serving healthier food and beverages, and supporting breastfeeding mothers. More than 1 million children are being reached by early childhood education networks that have committed to Let’s Move! Child Care.
This event is pooled press. Following her event at a local child care facility, the First Lady will join Jenna Bush Hager for an interview with the Today Show. This interview will air the following day.
First lady Michelle Obama highlights drink-more-water show in NYC
NEW YORK (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is helping a New York City museum spread some advice on health: Drink up — water, that is.
The first lady and fitness advocate was at the New Museum on Thursday to view a street-art-inspired exhibit that aims to make the health-conscious message eye-catching.
She signed a massive paint-by-numbers artwork created for the show and chatted with eighth-graders who helped paint it and created a poster of their own.
She told them their involvement in the campaign would make “a huge, huge impact on the health of our nation.”
The exhibit is a collaboration with the WAT-AAH! (WAH’-tah) bottled-water brand.
Mrs. Obama is celebrating the fourth anniversary of “Let’s Move,” her anti-childhood obesity initiative.
Vice President Biden Speaks at America’s Central Port on the Fifth Anniversary of the Recovery Act
February 20, 2014
01:15 PM EST
“The Recovery Act is the largest public works project since President Eisenhower laid out our nation’s interstate highway system—and all of you here at America’s Central Port are continuing this American story of boldness and doing big things that are so deeply ingrained in our history,” Vice President Biden said at an event marking the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which saved our country from an economic depression and helped rebuild the middle class.
Speaking on the Mississippi River at America’s Central Port in Granite City, Illinois on Wednesday. February 19, the Vice President outlined how the Recovery Act’s TIGER grants at the port and across the country have modernized the way we do business, created good-paying middle-class jobs, and strengthened our global economic competitiveness.
Joined by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, current Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, along with local and port officials, the Vice President described how the grants significantly improve the way we finance and strengthen the capacity of our nation’s ports, railroads, and highways. At America’s third largest inland port, the TIGER program has already helped hire workers who installed new levee relief wells, laid down a new rail track, and started work on a new harbor, all of which help increase the Port’s efficiency and reduce shipping costs.
And these grants have leveraged significant state and private sector investments—since the federal investment more than a dozen businesses have moved to the port and invested more than $300 million in the area. The Vice President noted that from 2009-2013, the more than $3 billion invested in federal TIGER grants across the country leveraged an additional $13.6 billion from state and local governments and took private investment off the sidelines.
Overall, the Recovery Act and other Administration investments have improved more than 350,000 miles of roads, 6,000 miles of rail, and 20,000 bridges since 2009—generating millions of dollars of economic activity that support and create middle-class jobs across the country.
From the first National Road and the Erie Canal to the Intercontinental Railroad and the interstate highways, the Vice President reminded Americans that the best way to predict our future is to create it. That it is America’s enduring commitment to ingenuity and capability– a continued and relentless effort to expand and modernize—that has made us the greatest economic power in the world.
The Vice President closed by saying, “Build—build the most modern infrastructure in the world, and the world will come to us,”reminding us that Recovery Act and its subsequent infrastructure investments have generated the kind of economic growth and dynamism that built our country and built our middle class—and will continue to do so.
West Wing Week 02/21/14 or “Don’t Make Small Plans, Make Big Plans”
Published on Feb 20, 2014
This week, the President traveled to the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico, to California to address the current drought and to meet with the King of Jordan, and to Upper Marlboro, Maryland to announce an increase in fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks.
Strengthening the Patent System
Published on Feb 20, 2014
The White House highlights the Administration’s commitment to strengthening the patent system to ensure it encourages innovation and invention, inspires and rewards creativity, drives investment, and spurs job creation. February 20, 2014.
Raw Video: President Obama Meets With Japanese American WWII Veterans
Published on Feb 20, 2014
On Tuesday, February 18th, the President invited a group of seven Japanese American World War II veterans to the Oval Office, to honor their service during a period when the U.S. Government actively discriminated against Japanese Americans. The group served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which is one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history, and in the Military Intelligence Service, and were in town as part of a “homecoming” celebration for recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal.
2/20/14: White House Press Briefing
Published on Feb 20, 2014
White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.