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Monday, May 8, 2017

Barack Obama Receives Profiles in Courage Award from JFK Library

Former President Barack H. Obama receiving the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Sunday, May 7 2017, as part of the centennial celebration of John F. Kennedy’s birth. 

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, are presenting the award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.  The evening includes a special performance by James Taylor with Kim Taylor and Owen Young.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama accompanied President Obama to the ceremony. The award presentation was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum during the Kennedy Library Foundation’s annual May Dinner gala. The evening included a special performance by James Taylor.

In accepting the award, President Obama said: 

“John F. Kennedy knew that our best hope and our most powerful answer to our doubts and to our fears lies inside each of us, in our willingness to joyfully embrace our responsibility as citizens, to stay true to our allegiance, to our highest and best ideals, to maintain our regard and concern for the poor and the aging and the marginalized, to put our personal or party interest aside when duty to our country calls or when conscience demands. That's the spirit that has brought America so far and that's the spirit that will always carry us to better days. And I take this honor that you have bestowed on me here tonight as a reminder that, even out of office, I must do all that I can to advance the spirit of service that John F. Kennedy represents.”

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The opening lines state: "This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues – courage."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

President Bill Clinton's Eulogy for Martin McGuinness in Derry

Former US President Bill Clinton gave the eulogy at the funeral of Martin McGuinness today at St. Columba's Church in Derry, Northern Ireland.   See video below.

Here are pictures of the funeral from the Irish Times. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

JFK Library Selects Barack Obama for 2017 Profiles in Courage Award

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has selected Former PresidentBarack H. Obama to receive the 2017 Centennial John F.Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ for his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage in a new century.

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the award at a ceremony on May 7, 2017 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of President Kennedy’s birth.

In response to the news, former President Obama said: 

“It’s been more than half a century since John F. Kennedy asked us to cast aside our narrow self-interest and take up the chase of a greater ambition: our collective capacity to do big things, especially when it’s hard. It was a call to citizenship as true as the words of our founding and a conviction that helped guide me to public service as a younger man – a belief in the possibilities of our democracy and the power of what we, the people, can do together.

“Even today, amidst the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of the politics of our time, it’s a summons to service that rings as loudly as ever.  Part of that is thanks to an extraordinary family that continues to light the fire of imagination and plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of each new generation of Americans.  Like so many Americans, I am grateful for the Kennedy family’s legacy of service.  And I am deeply humbled to receive the Profile in Courage Award.”

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy said: 

“President Kennedy called on a new generation of Americans to give their talents to the service of the country. With exceptional dignity and courage, President Obama has carried that torch into our own time, providing young people of all backgrounds with an example they can emulate in their own lives.”

“Faced with unrelenting political opposition, President Obama has embodied the definition of courage that my grandfather cites in the opening lines of Profiles in Courage: grace under pressure,” said Schlossberg. “Throughout his two terms in office, he represented all Americans with decency, integrity, and an unshakeable commitment to the greater good.”

The cermony is part of the Centennial celebration of President Kennedy's birth on May 29, 1917. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

President Obama Holds His Final Press Conference

President Barack Obama held his final press conference today in the White House. He thanked the White House Press Corps for its work over his two terms for asking tough questions. "You’re not supposed to be complimentary, you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that," the president said.

"America needs you and our democracy needs you," President Obama continued. "We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. And so my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself."

Here is the video of the press conference.

The New York Times released a full transcription of the press conference.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

President Obama Presents VP Biden with Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom on Vice President Joe Biden a surprise ceremony at the White House attended by Biden's extended family and by his staff and former staff members.

"For the final time as president I am pleased to award our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom," President Obama said.  "For the first and only time in my presidency I will bestow this medal with an additional level of veneration, I am proud to award the President Medal of Freedom with Distintion, to by brother, Joseph R. Biden, Jr."

A proclaimation was read, stating in part: 

"With his charm, candor, unabashed optimism and deep and abiding patriotism, Joe Biden has garnered the respect and esteem of colleagues of both parties, and the friendship of people across the nation and around the world."

"What an incredible journey this has been," Vice President Biden said in accepting the award. "This honor is not only well beyond what I deseve, but it is a reflection on the extent and generosity of your spirit. " 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

President Obama's Final Weekly Address, January 7, 2017

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza 

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama discusses his upcoming farewell address to the nation, which takes place at 9:00 p.m. (EST) on Monday, January 10, 2017.  You can view the live farewell address here

The White House statement reads:

In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.

Next week, the President will return to his hometown of Chicago to say a grateful farewell to the nation. This will mark the first time that a President has returned to his hometown to deliver such a speech.

The President has said that the running thread through his career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together, things change for the better. This belief is at the heart of the American experiment in self-government – and it gives purpose to new generations.

Follow Obama_IrishUSA on twitter.

Monday, January 2, 2017

President Obama Delivering His Farewell Address on January 10 in Chicago

"In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.

"On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.

"I’m just beginning to write my remarks. But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.

"Since 2009, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

President and First Lady Obama's Christmas Message from the White House

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave a final Merry Christmas greeting from the White House today.

In the message, the Obamas praised "our incredible military families to the life changing impact of a great education."    They talked about the message of Jesus, "one of boundless love, compassion and hope."

Here is the video.

Friday, December 16, 2016

President Obama's Final Press Conference of 2016

President Barack Obama gave his final press conference of the year today at the White House. He summarized the work done by his Administration over the past eight year, including his efforts on health care.

"When I came into office, 44 million people were uninsured," the president said. "Today we have covered more than 20 million of them. For the first time in our history, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured."

On foreign policy, President Obama said, "Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger, and more respected today than they did eight years ago. It is a situation that I'm proud to leave for my successor.

"And it's thanks to the American people, to the hard work that you have put in, the sacrifices you have made for your families and your communities, the businesses that you started or invested in, and the way you looked out for one another. And I could not be prouder to be your president.

"So even in a season where the incredible blessings that we know as Americans are all around us, even as we enjoy family and friends and are reminded of how lucky we are, we should also be reminded that to be an American involves bearing burdens and meeting obligations to others. American values and American ideals are what will lead the way to a safer and more prosperous 2017, both here and abroad."

Here is the complete speech, and also, the complete transcript from the Washington Post.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Video of President Obama's Thanksgiving Greeting to the American People

President Barack Obama delivered his final Thanksgiving greeting to the American people on November 24, 2016.  In part, the President said: 

Today, we continue to give thanks for those blessings, and to all who ensured that they would be our inheritance. We remember the determined patriots who landed at the edge of the world in search of freedom.  We give thanks to the brave men and women who defend that freedom in every corner of the world.  And we honor all people - from the First Americans to our newest arrivals - who continue to shape our nation's story, enrich our heritage, and give meaning to our founding values, values we must never take for granted.  That in America, we are bound not by any one race or religion, but rather an adherence to a common belief - that all of us are created equal.  That we may think, worship, and speak, and love as we please.  That the gift of democracy is ours, and ours alone, to nurture and protect.

Never doubt, that is what makes us American - not where we come from, what we look like, or what faith we practice, but the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance.  It's about our capacity to live up to the creed as old as our founding: "E Pluribus Unum" - that out of many, we are one.  And as long as we continue to welcome the contributions of all people, as long as we stand up for each other, speak out for what is right, and stay true to these ideals - not just when it's easy, but when it's hard - then no one can ever take away our liberty.  Our best days will always be ahead.  And we will keep building a future where all of our children know the promise of America. 

Here is the full statement.  Also, here is the video of the greeting

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley Develops Creative Minds Series to Explore US-Ireland Relationships

Kevin J. O’Malley, USAmbassador to Ireland, has launched a unique Creative Minds series to share ideas about the power of creativity and innovation, and how those forces define the U.S.-Irish relationship. 

The series kicked off in January 2015 with a discussion with Sopranos creator David Chase, and continued with a variety of creative artists, including musicians Patty Griffin, Ben Folds, John Prine and Rufus Wainwright.

In April 2015 the U.S. Embassy in Ireland launched  a conference titled, “The Importance of the Creative Economy in the U.S. – Ireland Relationship,” followed in November 2015 by a “Creative Minds Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon”  that explored using entrepreneurial and business skills to tackle social problems and to strengthen cross-border dialogue.

In May 2016, the Embassy hosted “Creative Minds: Creative Disruption” to explore the role of disruptive innovation in driving economic growth and shared prosperity.

In July 2016, the Embassy produced a two-part series called “Creative Minds in Medicine, which featured Vanderbilt University’s Department of Otolaryngology in Nashville and Beaumont Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

Finally, on October 14-16, 2016, the Embassy held its second annual “Creative Minds Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon” that resulted in new ideas for facilitating refugee inclusion, integration and self-reliance.

At the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the White House in March 2016, President Barack Obama praised Ambassador O’Malley’s work on behalf of the US in Ireland.

“As you can see and hear, although Kevin has only been in Ireland for 18 months, he has crammed in almost eight years of work,” President Obama said.  “One of his legacies will be his “Creative Minds” initiative, in which he’s been busy connecting the next generation of Irish and American leaders.  So, thank you, Kevin.  Your Mayo grandparents would be proud.” 

Ambassador O'Malley was nominated for the post by President Obama in June 2014, and was confirmed in September 2014.  

Follow the US Embassy in Ireland on Facebook

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

President Obama Campaigns for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United States last June, and has campaigned for her vigorously throughout the campaign season.

The president is joined by other Democratic leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Here is a video of their efforts:

Here is more information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

President Obama Reflects on 9/11 today at the Pentagon

President Barack Obama offered his reflections on the United States America and the 9/11 terrorist attack at a memorial service at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA.

Addressing the survivors and the family members of those who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001, as well as public officials, members of the military and the general public,  President Obama said,

"It is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation of people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background, bound by a creed as old as our founding — E Pluribus Unum — out of many, we are one."

Here is President Obama's entire speech.

Earlier this week, President Obama's Weekly Address was, Upholding the Legacy of Those We Lost on 9/11. Here is the video:

Monday, September 5, 2016

President Obama's Weekly Address: Building upon the Legacy of Labor

President Barack Obama devoted his weekly address to the nation on "The Legacy of Labor."


President Obama commemorated Labor Day by highlighting the economic progress made over the course of his administration.  He cited his efforts to "raise the minimum wage, fought for worker safety and the right to organize.

"I'm the first to say we've get more work in the years ahead.  Too many working folks still feel left behind, by an economy that is constantly changing," the president said.

President Obama said if the United States is going to "restore the sense that hard work is rewarded with a fair shot to get ahead, we must build on the legacy of those who came before us – that means exercising our right to speak up in the workplace, to join a union, and to vote."

Happy Labor Day. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Selects Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as VP Running Mate

Image courtesy of Hillary Clinton campaign

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has selected US Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her Vice-Presidential candidate.

The announcement was made today in a text message to her supporters, followed by a tweet, which read, "Tim Kaine is a relentless optimist who believes that no problem is unsolvable if you put the work in to solve it."

According to his official biography:

"Tim grew up working in his father’s iron working shop in Kansas City. He was educated at the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. After law school, he practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability. He also began teaching part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.

"Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006."

The Clinton-Kaine ticket will be unveiled at the Democratic National Convention, which takes place in Philadelphia on August 25-28, 2016. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden Makes First Official Visit to Ireland

Dublin Castle, June 24, 2016. Official White House photo by David Lienemann.

Vice President Joe Biden made his first official visit to Ireland this week, arriving at Dublin International Airport on June 21 with his family.

Prior to the trip, Vice President Biden wrote:

"I'm going back to Ireland -- the country from which my ancestors hailed, and a country whose independence the Easter Rising set in motion, 100 years ago this year. It is my first dedicated trip to this nation as Vice President -- during which I'll meet with the country's leaders, discuss issues of trade, economic recovery, migration and refugee policy, and other national security challenges, and celebrate our shared heritage. Our shared values of tolerance. Diversity. Inclusiveness."

The White House posted a daily blog on Vice President Biden's trip.
In addition, Vice President Biden took questions from the community and from Americans across the country.  

The trip was also documented on twitter, hashtag:  #BideninIreland

Thursday, June 9, 2016

President Barack Obama Endorses Hillary Clinton as Next President of the United States

President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for president of the United States on June 9, 2016.

 "I don't think there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office," President Obama said. "She's got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get this job done."

Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State during the Obama Administration and also served as the First Lady during the Administration of President William J. Clinton.  She was the US Senator from New York and also the First Lady of Arkansas.