President Obama’s APEC Press Conference

Presidents Obama and Bush Deliver 9/11 Anniversary Readings

Obama Calls On Congress To Pass Jobs Bill

President Barack Obama has delivered a speech on the economy and jobs to a joint session of the US Congress.

“Pass this jobs bill,” Obama implored the Congress, as he outlined a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending.

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The following is a transcript of President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress about jobs and the economy, as provided by the White House.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse.

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while. If you did the right thing, you could make it. Anybody could make it in America. [Read more…]

Obama Searches For Lost Apostrophe In Dublin

President Obama speaks in Dublin, IrelandPresident Barack Obama has delivered a rousing speech to a massive outdoor gathering in Dublin, Ireland.

Obama told the gathering that he came in search of the Irish apostrophe that was lost from his name.

In a speech filled with tributes to the Irish contribution to America, Obama assured his audience that Ireland’s future was assured, invoking his campaign slogan, “yes we can”.

In an equally rousing speech, the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, introduced Obama as not merely a man who had lived the American dream: “He is the American dream.”

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Obama Announces US Has Found And Killed Osama bin Laden

President Barack Obama has announced that United States military forces have located and killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for 9/11.

Obama made the announcement in a televised address to the nation at 11.35pm, Washington time.

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East Room – 11:35 P.M. EDT

Obama announces killing of Bin Laden

Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. [Read more…]

Barack Obama Launches 2012 Re-Election Campaign

President Barack Obama has officially announced his bid for re-election in 2012.

The announcement came via this video posted on YouTube.

The election will take place on November 6, 2012. Obama’s term runs until January 20, 2013.

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Julia Gillard and Barack Obama at Wakefield High

President Obama’s Remarks on Egypt Unrest

Audio and video of President Obama’s remarks on the political unrest in Egypt.

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President Obama’s State of the Union Address

This is the text, video and audio of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.

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Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference. [Read more…]

Obama Remembers Kennedy on 50th Anniversary

President Barack Obama delivered a speech today in commemmoration of the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

The speech was given at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C.

Watch John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961:

Full text of President Obama’s speech.

Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. To Caroline and the Kennedy family, to all the members of Congress and distinguished guests here tonight, it is an extraordinary pleasure to join you to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. (Applause.) And I can’t think of a better place to do it than here, in a living memorial that reflects not only his love of the arts, but also his recognition of how the arts can help sustain our national strength. (Applause.)

Now, we mark this anniversary with a measure of sadness, as we remember the extraordinary life of Sargent Shriver –(applause) — a man who embodied the spirit of the New Frontier as well as anybody. When a person passes away, there’s often an urge to define their legacy, and find a way in which it will endure. In the case of Sarge, that is not hard to do. His legacy is written in the villages around the world that have clean water or a new school through the Peace Corps. It’s written into the lives of all the children in our own country whose fortunes have been lifted through Head Start. And it will endure in the work of his children who are living out his legacy of service, and our thoughts and prayers are with them tonight.

One of the remarkable aspects in commemorating the JFK inauguration, in remembering those who were part of his team, like Sargent Shriver, who would help bring Kennedy’s soaring vision to life, is that none of it feels dated. Even now, one half century later, there is something about that day -– January 20, 1961 -– that feels immediate, feels new and urgent and exciting, despite the graininess of the 16-millimeter news reels that recorded it for posterity.

There he is, the handsome Bostonian, summoning a generation to service and a nation to greatness, in a speech that would become part of the American canon. And there’s the crowd, bundled up for the cold, making their way through streets white with snow, full of expectation. A nation, feeling young again, its mood brightened by the promise of a new decade.

Now, I confess, I don’t have my own memories of that day. (Laughter.) I wasn’t born until later that year. (Laughter.) What I know of that day and the 1,000 days that followed -– what I know of President Kennedy –- came from a mother and grandparents who adored him; from books I read and classes I took; from growing up in a country still mourning its beloved leader, whose name was spoken with reverence. And I know him through the legacy of his children and his brother Teddy who became extraordinarily dear friends of mine.

But I know him, John F. Kennedy, less as a man than as an icon, as a larger-than-life figure who graced this Earth for one brief and shining moment. But part of the function of this event, on this day, we must remember him as he was — as a father who loved his children, as a friend who lived life fully, as a noble public servant who wanted to make a difference.

A quick wit with a light touch, he was dealt, in many ways, a fortunate hand at birth. Attending one event, early in his career, where every speaker before him pompously claimed humble roots — things haven’t changed that much — (laughter) — John Kennedy confessed, when he took the podium, that he was –- and I quote -– “the only fellow here who didn’t come up the hard way.” (Laughter.)

And yet, it cannot be said that John F. Kennedy lived an easy life. He lost an older brother in the war; a sister shortly thereafter. He nearly lost his own life, too, when a Japanese gunship cut his PT boat in half, casting him into the water, from which he swam a crewmate to safety. Another sister struggled with a severe mental handicap. His own health was so poor that priests pronounced his last rites on several different occasions. And he endured the personal prejudice and political poison of anti-Catholic fervor.

And there is surely a possibility, under such circumstances, that a person will retreat from the world; that a person, particularly one born to wealth, will seek a life of luxury and ease; that a person, confronted by the coldness of chance, will become bitter or cynical or small. It has happened to others.

But that is not the life that John F. Kennedy chose. As he famously said at a press conference, “life is unfair.” We can’t choose the lots we are given in life, but we can choose how to live that life. John F. Kennedy chose a life in the arena, full of confidence that our country could surmount any obstacle, as he’d seen it do himself. He chose a life of leadership, fired not by naïve optimism, but committed realism; “idealism,” as his wife Jackie put it, “without illusions.” That is the idealism -– soaring but sober –- that inspired the country and the world one half century ago.

I can only imagine how he must have felt, entering the Oval Office in turbulent times. (Laughter and applause.) The Soviet Premier, Khrushchev, had threatened to “bury” America just a few years before. Wars of Liberation, as they were called, were being waged around the globe -– from Laos and Vietnam to Congo and Cuba, just 90 miles from our shore. At home, a young preacher’s cause was gaining traction across a segregated land.

In this volatile America, this tinderbox of a world, President Kennedy led with a steadying hand, defusing the most perilous crisis of the Cold War without firing a single shot. Enforcing the rights of young black men and women to attend the university of their choice. Launching a corps of volunteers as ambassadors for peace in distant centers of the globe. Setting America’s sights on the moon, unwilling to lose the Space Race in the wake of Sputnik.

We know the moon-shot story. It’s a familiar one, often invoked to make the case for an ambitious idea. But it’s easy to lose sight of just how improbable it seemed in May of 1961. When President Kennedy proposed going to the moon, America had just 15 minutes of manned flight experience in space. NASA had neither a plan nor a shuttle for making a lunar voyage. (Laughter.) Its own engineers had taken out the slide rules, and they were deeply skeptical of the mission. (Laughter.)

The science just wasn’t there. President Kennedy understood that. But he also knew something else. He knew that we, as a people, can do big things. We can reach great heights. We can rise to any challenge, so long as we’re willing to ask what we can do for our country; so long as we’re willing to take America’s destiny into our own hands. What President Kennedy understood was the character of the people he led: our resilience, our fearlessness, our distinctly American ability, revealed time and again throughout history, to defy the odds, to fashion our future, to make the world anew.

The world is very different now than it was in 1961. We face new trials and new uncertainties, from our economy to our security. We have a politics that can often seem too small for the hardships at hand. So meeting these tests won’t be easy. But we cannot forget, we are the heirs of this President, who showed us what is possible. Because of his vision, more people prospered; more people served; our union was made more perfect. Because of that vision, I can stand here tonight as President of the United States. (Applause.)

So John F. Kennedy captured that American spirit that not only put a man on the moon, but saved a continent from tyranny and overcame a Great Depression; that forged, from 13 colonies, the last best hope on Earth. And if we can hold onto that spirit today, I know that our generation will answer its call as ably as earlier ones did before us.

In December 1962, President Kennedy was asked by the Saturday Evening Post to submit his favorite quotation. A student not only of history, but also of literature, he chose a passage written by the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., father of the Supreme Court justice. Mr. Holmes wrote:

“I find the great things in this world — is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: to reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -– but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”

That, I think, captures well the daring, graceful spirit of the unfinished life we celebrate today; a life that inspires us and lights our way, as we sail on to the new frontiers of our own time. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless this country that we love. Thank you. (Applause.)