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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."