Barack & Michelle After Dark™: West Wing Week. The White House Blog. President Obama And The First Lady Host “In Performance At The White House: Women of Soul.”


By Jueseppi B.





West Wing Week 3/7/14 or “Look Who’s In Our Room”


Adam Garber
Adam Garber

March 07, 2014
12:00 AM EST


This week, The White House hosted its first ever White House Student Film Festival, while the President addressed the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2015, urged Congress to raise the minimum wage, and held a town hall on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act.







Friday, February 28th

·       The President hosted students from across the country for the first ever White House Student Film Festival.

·       Later that day, the President spoke on the ongoing developments in Ukraine.



Monday, March 3rd

·       The President hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks on the ongoing process towards a two state solution.



Tuesday, March 4th

·       The President announced his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

·       Later, the President visited Powell Elementary School to discuss his roadmap for restoring opportunity for all Americans.

·       Following that, the First Lady honored the recipients of the International Women of Courage Award.

·       After that, the First Lady reached out to students at Ying Yu Public Charter School, where she spoke about her upcoming trip to visit schools in China.



Wednesday, March 5th

·       The President joined the Secretary of Labor and four Northeastern governors in Connecticut to speak on the urgent need to raise the minimum wage.



Thursday, March 6th

·       The President, participated in the “Tu Salud y La Nueva Ley” Town Hall at the Newseum in DC, centering on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act.






YouTube Stars Talk Health Care (and Make History) at the White House


Brad L. Jenkins
Brad L. Jenkins

March 06, 2014
04:29 PM EST


This year, the President is committed to using the power of his phone and pen to create opportunity for all Americans. One ways he’s doing that is through raising awareness about policies and priorities through non-traditional platforms, like YouTube.




Last week, senior administration officials sat down with some of the most popular content creators on YouTube to talk about the issues that they care the most about, including access to quality, affordable health care. This group of influencers has developed innovative ways to engage with tens of millions of young people in a way that few other media platforms can accomplish. To learn from the YouTube community, we’re starting a dialogue with these leaders to continue the conversation about issues that are important for their audiences including anti-bullying, education, economic opportunity, and health care.



From Hannah Hart, an internet personality and comedian who recently got health coverage, to Alphacat, a President Obama impersonator that created a spoof rap music video about getting covered, the YouTube stars at the meeting discussed ideas and strategies that can help raise awareness about health care enrollment.


President Obama stopped by the meeting – the first of its kind at the White House – to talk with the group about why it’s so important to help get the word out to the millions of fans they speak to every day. He also encouraged them to tell their their fans to check out HealthCare.gov to learn more and get covered. Participants included:



With just 25 days left until the end of open enrollment on March 31, 2014, the administration and the many groups working onhealth care outreach is continuing to use creative strategies to get the word out.






President Obama Discusses Efforts to Address the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine


Megan Slack
Megan Slack

March 06, 2014
03:19 PM EST




Statement by the President on Ukraine


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:05 P.M. EST




THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Before Jay takes some of your questions, I wanted to provide a brief update on our efforts to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.


Since the Russian intervention, we’ve been mobilizing the international community to condemn this violation of international law and to support the people and government of Ukraine.


This morning I signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.


According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials.  These decisions continue our efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea.  And they also give us the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia’s actions.




We took these steps in close coordination with our European allies.  I’ve spoken to several of our closest friends around the world, and I’m pleased that our international unity is on display at this important moment.  Already, we’ve moved together to announced substantial assistance for the government in Kyiv, and today in Brussels, our allies took similar steps to impose costs on Russia.  I am confident that we are moving forward together, united in our determination to oppose actions that violate international law and to support the government and people of Ukraine.


And that includes standing up for the principle of state sovereignty.  The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.  Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.  In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.


While we take these steps, I want to be clear that there is also a way to resolve this crisis that respects the interests of the Russian Federation, as well as the Ukrainian people.  Let international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians.  Begin consultations between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation of the international community.  Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that it abides by its agreements and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  And the world should support the people of Ukraine as they move to elections in May.




That’s the path of de-escalation, and Secretary Kerry is engaged in discussions with all of the relevant parties, including Russia and Ukraine to pursue that path.  But if this violation of international law continues, the resolve of the United States, and our allies and the international community will remain firm.  Meanwhile, we’ve taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to the security and democracy of our allies in Eastern Europe and to support the people of Ukraine.


One last point — there’s been a lot of talk in Congress about these issues.  Today, once again, I’m calling on Congress to follow up on these words with action, specifically to support the IMF’s capacity to lend resources to Ukraine and to provide American assistance for the Ukrainian government so that they can weather this storm and stabilize their economy, make needed reforms, deliver for their people, all of which will provide a smoother pathway for the elections that have already been scheduled in May.


Today the world can see that the United States is united with our allies and partners in upholding international law and pursuing a just outcome that advances global security and the future that the Ukrainian people deserve.  That’s what we’re going to continue to do in the days to come until we have seen a resolution to this crisis.




Thanks very much.  And Jay and Ben and others will be happy to take your questions.


1:10 P.M. EST







Press Briefing

March 06, 2014 | 53:31 | Public Domain


White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.












President Obama’s Town Hall on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act


Yesterday, President Obama took part in a town hall at the Newseum in Washington, DC to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how the law benefits the Latino community. The town hall was hosted by Univision, Telemundo, impreMedia and the California Endowment.


The town hall, was televised and livestreamed in both English and Spanish, and provided an opportunity for Latinos across the country to learn more about how to enroll in affordable, quality health care via the Health Insurance Marketplace.




President Barack Obama during a town hall event with television hosts Jose Diaz Balart and Enrique Acevedo, far left, at the Newseum in Washington. The event was broadcast in both English and Spanish languages











Presidential Innovation Fellows Round 3: Serve. Create. Innovate.


Todd Park and Dan Tangherlini
March 06, 2014
09:00 AM EST


Today, we are very excited to announce that applications arenow being accepted  for the third round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. This initiative pairs talented, diverse individuals from outside government with top Federal innovators to implement game-changing projects that make the Federal Government work better for the American people.


At its core, the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program is as strong as the incredible people that are willing to join this effort and serve their country. That’s why we want the best and brightest individuals—original thinkers, gifted designers, tech-savvy strategists, private-sector doers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and talented developers and engineers—to offer up their skills and expertise to create huge value for the American public.




Round 3 will include 14 projects that focus on addressing three high-impact initiatives:


  • Making Digital the Default: Building a 21st Century Veterans Experience: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is embarking on a bold new initiative to create a “digital by default” experience for our Nation’s veterans that provides better, faster access to services and complements the Department’s work to eliminate the disability claims backlog.
  • Data Innovation: Unleashing the Power of Data Resources to Improve Americans’ Lives: This initiative aim to accelerate and expand the Federal Government’s efforts to liberate government data by making these information resources more accessible to the public and useable in computer readable forms, and to spur the use of those data by companies, entrepreneurs, citizens, and others to fuel the creation of new products, services, and jobs.
  • By the People, for the People: Crowdsourcing to Improve Government: Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to organize people, mobilize resources, and gather information. This initiative will leverage technology and innovation to engage the American public as a strategic partner in solving difficult challenges and improving the way government works—from helping NASA find asteroid threats to human populations to improving the quality of U.S. patents to unlocking information contained in government records.


More information on each project is available here.


Since the initiative launched two years ago, Presidential Innovation Fellows, along with their government teammates, have been delivering impressive results—at start-up velocity. Fellows have unleashed the power of open government data to spur the creation of new products and jobs; improved the ability of the Federal government to respond effectively to natural disasters; designed pilot projects that make it easier for new economy companies to do business with the Federal Government; and much more. Their impact is enormous.


For example, Fellows recently helped expand the Blue Button Initiative, which is helping Americans across the country gain secure, online access to their own healthcare information. Through the work of Fellows and their government teammates, the Blue Button Initiative has expanded its reach to more than 150 million Americans who are today able to use Blue Button-enabled tools to access their own health information from a variety of sources including healthcare providers, health insurance companies, medical labs, and state health information networks.


Another recent example of the Fellows in action is their work at the Smithsonian Institute to develop a crowdsourcing platform that allows the public to transcribe handwritten historic documents and records. This kind of innovative approach will not only support important research, but provide an important avenue for the public to help preserve our Nation’s history.  In just six months, Fellows developed and launched an end-to-end solution for creating digital records for historic files, which in turn engaged thousands of volunteers who have helped to transcribe and review more than 3,000 historic and scientific records —which are now easily accessible to the public for the first time.


Looking ahead, the next round of Presidential Innovation Fellows will continue to build on these successes as well as tackle a new set of challenges.


This is an opportunity to truly transform how government works for the people it serves. The work will be challenging, but promises to be tremendously rewarding. The first step is to apply here. We can’t wait to see what the third round of Fellows will do!






In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul





Student Workshop: The History of Women in Soul

March 06, 2014 | 1:01:26 |Public Domain


First Lady Michelle Obama hosts middle school, high school and college students from across the country for an interactive student workshop: “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul.”

















President Obama And The First Lady Host “In Performance At The White House: Women of Soul”





In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul

March 06, 2014 | 5:04 |Public Domain


President and First Lady host “In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul” for music legends and contemporary major female artists at the White House celebrating the great “foremothers” of American music, with songs expressing the struggles and achievements of women.






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