5:03 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you very much. Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Welcome to the White House, and congratulations to the Kentucky Wildcats on your 8th national championship. (Applause.) Eighth national champ -- that’s not bad. (Laughter.) That’s not bad. Although, this is the first in 14 years.
Now, this was the fourth year that I filled out my bracket on ESPN. And what I’ve learned is that if I make the right picks, I look like a genius. But if things go the other way, then a team like Kentucky gets to come to my house and remind me, in person, that I was wrong. (Laughter.) So it is a double-edged sword.
Of course, I knew Kentucky was good. I had them in the championship game. But in the end, I thought, they got all these freshmen. These guys are too young. (Laughter.) And keep in mind, at this time last year, three of the Wildcats’ five starters were still in high school. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist couldn’t even vote yet. (Laughter.)
But let’s face it, sometimes talent trumps experience. And sometimes, a bunch of young players, even if they’re used to being big fishes in their ponds, even if they’ve never played together before, they can buy into a system, they understand the concept of team, and they do something special right away. And that’s exactly what happened in Kentucky.
Of course, a lot of credit for that goes to their outstanding coach, Coach Calipari. (Applause.) My understanding is, when he recruited these players, Coach started off by asking them some simple questions: Do you want to win a national title? The answer was yes, apparently. (Laughter.) Can you do it by yourself? The answer was no. He took a roster with six former All-Americans and got them to do something even more impressive, and that was share the ball. So you had six players average double figures in points this year; nobody averaged more than nine shots a game. If you didn’t play defense, you didn’t play.
And as a result, the Wildcats started winning. At one point, they won 24 straight. They spent the final eight weeks of the season ranked number one. They cruised through the tournament, trailed for less than 10 minutes total, before beating Kansas in front of 70,000 fans at the Super Dome. (Applause.) So that’s a pretty good run.
Most importantly, though, they did it as a team. And nobody, I think, was a better example of that than Anthony Davis, who -- everybody kept on remarking on it. Nobody has ever seen somebody who didn’t have a lot of field goals and yet still controlled the game. Still ended up being the most valuable player -- racked up sixteen rebounds, six blocks, three steals. That doesn’t count all the intimidation factor -- (laughter) -- that the other team had to go through. Of course, that’s what happens when you grow eight inches between your sophomore and senior years of high school. In fact, he has grown an inch since he got to the White House. (Laughter.) His pants are already like this. (Laughter.) Just got a new suit. (Laughter.)
When Anthony needed help, Doron Lamb stepped up, dropping 22 points in the biggest game of his career. (Applause.) First off the bench, Darius Miller, who became -- (applause) -- the first player in Kentucky history to be named Mr. Basketball, win a state championship in high school and win a national title with the Wildcats. (Applause.) I’m pretty sure Coach Cal is right that if Darius decides to run for governor he’ll do all right in Kentucky. (Laughter.) I also want to congratulate Darius and Eloy Vargas for getting their diplomas on Sunday. That’s worth a big round of applause. (Applause.)
And I want to congratulate them for doing their share of community service in the Lexington community -- from packing backpacks full of food for kids who don’t have enough, to raising money for tornado victims.
So these guys do it all. Everybody’s got to take a good look now, because a whole bunch of these guys are going on to the NBA. Who knows, one of them might end up here in Washington. We’ll take him. (Applause.)
Coach Cal is back on the recruiting trail, and if the next group of Wildcats is anything like this one, then I might see them again sometime soon.
So congratulations again to all the fans, to all the faculty, to all the -- everybody who helps to make Kentucky such an outstanding university. Most of all, congratulations to the team and to coach Calipari. (Applause.)
COACH CALIPARI: Thank you very much. Mr. President, on behalf of the Big Blue Nation, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we are honored and humbled to be here. This team, when they won that championship on that court in New Orleans, they were jumping up and down not saying, “We did it! We won!” They were saying, “We’re going to the White House! We’re going to the White House!” (Laughter.) Because they wanted to meet you.
As a member of our team, I’d like our seniors, Darius Miller, to give you his #1 jersey that he wore for four years. Eloy Vargas has a ball that the team has signed, and the young
-- (laughter and applause.) There’s the #1 jersey.
THE PRESIDENT: That's a good-looking jersey right there. (Applause.)
COACH CALIPARI: And the young guy from your home city of Chicago --
THE PRESIDENT: Chicago! (Laughter.)
COACH CALIPARI: -- would like to present you with the 2012 National Championship ring, and it might say, it is the first. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Look at that. Well, this is some nice gear. (Laughter.) I have to say, by the way, after the game, I called the coach and the team, and I mentioned to Anthony that I had actually been to his school, a small charter school in Chicago, when I was still a senator. And I had spoken to the kids there, and he told me, yes, I was there. (Laughter.) But I didn't recognize him. He looked a little different apparently four years ago, so what a wonderful set of gifts. I appreciate that.
5:10 P.M. EDT
Broward College Commencement
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
May 4, 2012
As Prepared for Delivery
Good afternoon, everyone!
It’s wonderful to be here in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate such an important day with all of you.
Thank you, President Armstrong, for that very kind introduction. To my colleagues – congratulations on your selection as Professors of the Year.
One of my very first community college visits as Second Lady was to nearby Miami Dade College with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. So it’s great to be back in the area.
Some of you know my story. I’ve been a teacher for more than 30 years, and I continue to teach full-time at a community college in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC.
In fact, just yesterday I finished up grading and have finished my semester. So I know how some of your teachers feel … and I know how you feel, to be graduating.
Proud. Relieved. And, yes – excited about the next challenge.
When I’m not in the classroom teaching, I’m often on the road visiting community colleges. Earlier this year, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and I toured five states to see some of the incredible industry partnerships that are taking place all over the country.
I’ve continued that tour with several other stops this Spring – and what I’ve seen at every community college along the way is the story of hope.
Hope for workers, who have gone as far as they can go in their jobs … and are getting the skills they need to go to the next level.
Hope for moms, juggling kids and a job, learning new skills for a new career.
Hope for recent high school graduates, taking a critical step toward a four-year degree.
Hope for people in their forties, fifties and even sixties – who have been out of work so long they’ve nearly given up – getting the second chance they deserve.
Some of these descriptions might sound familiar to you.
College is a place that changes lives, for the better. I’ve seen it firsthand.
From my perspective as a teacher, it’s easy for me to see how my students change. But one thing I’ve realized is that the students don’t always see it themselves.
Every day, you’re working hard. Every day, you’re learning something new. Every day, you’re investing in yourselves.
So as you’re finishing all those papers and finals and projects, you might not realize the dramatic growth that you’ve gone through.
What you’ve done these past few years – putting in all those hours – has given you the tools with which you can build a career and pursue the life you’ve dreamed of.
As you embark on that journey, there are three lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to share with you. Three lessons that really stand out to me. Three lessons that can apply wherever you are in life – inside or outside a classroom.
They are pretty simple.
The first is: lift up others.
Today, Cara and Hilary Malave are going to walk across the Broward College stage together for the second time. The first was in 2010 when they received their associate degrees in nursing.
They have faced obstacles along the way … in their teenage and young adult years, caring for their grandparents who were fighting cancer, more recently caring for parents who have faced serious illnesses.
Today, they are both graduating with Bachelors of Applied Science degrees in supervision and management. On the route to these degrees, they cared for and lifted up loved ones. With their degrees in hand, they will care for – and lift up – hundreds more.
Cara and Hilary, I know you will keep lifting those around you as you move forward – Cara, toward graduate school and eventually higher education, and Hilary, as you pursue neonatal and maternal nursing.
Congratulations to you both.
The second lesson is: go to your strength.
This is about following your heart, and trusting yourself to do whatever it is that you know you do best.
William Miller is no stranger to war zones. An Army veteran who has completed three tours in Kuwait and Iraq, William used his post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to pursue his education after retiring with 30 years of service.
And – he was encouraged to do so by his fellow graduate, veteran and fiancée – Edna Frazier.
During Operation Desert Storm, William received a commendation for designing the living quarters for troops stationed in Kuwait.
So when he graduates today with an associate degree in building technology, William will be going to his strength. He plans to study for his general contractor’s license so he can go work in Iraq and Afghanistan as a civilian – and continue doing what he does best.
William and Edna, thank you for your service to our country, and congratulations.
The final lesson is: never stop learning.
I always say my students are my heroes. It’s true – every day I am in the classroom, I am learning from them. And I am inspired … by their hard work, by their dedication, and by their sacrifice.
Lonnie Hennequin is someone graduating today who has never stopped learning. As the grandfather of 11, he knows a little something about kids. And he says he “always had teaching in the back of [his] head.”
So when he was laid off in 2009, he took a chance, enrolled in Broward’s Teacher Education Program and decided to become an elementary school teacher.
During his time in the program, Lonnie faced some heartbreaking personal challenges.
A teenager under the influence of drugs rear-ended a car with several members of his family inside – killing his six-year-old granddaughter and severely injuring several other family members.
Lonnie says his family will never be the same again, and they won’t.
But despite seeing the loss of a young life… he has not lost his passion to change young lives.
Today, at 59 years old, he’ll be certified to teach pre-K through 12th grade.
The kids he’ll meet in the classroom couldn’t ask for a better role model – Lonnie, we’re so glad you have never stopped learning. Congratulations. I’m so proud of you.
…Lift up others
…Always go to your strength
…And never stop learning
Three lessons to live by…
Three lessons exemplified by everyone in this room. All of the graduates. All of you.
Because no matter how hard it got…and I know there’ve been hard times…you never lost your faith in yourself and what you can do.
Maybe you took a chance. Maybe you learned something new. Maybe you discovered a strength you never knew you had.
But one thing is certain – whatever it was that got you here today – it’s lifting all of us up. Making us better. As individuals. As communities. As a country.
I will close with a quote by Michelangelo.
Most people think of the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when they hear the name Michelangelo. But interestingly enough, Michelangelo resisted painting – he considered himself a sculptor. It was as a sculptor that he shared these words: “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
There is an angel in each of you. You might not see it today, but it’s there.
The degree you’ve earned is your chisel, giving you the tools you need to help build the life you want to live.
You all have something that makes you come alive. That’s your angel. Find it – and carve and carve – until you set it free.
So today, reflect on how far you’ve come. Tonight, celebrate your hard-earned achievement with your friends and family.
You have a whole world in front of you, and the determination to take you anywhere you want to go.
On behalf of President Obama, the First Lady and the Vice President, my husband Joe – we are proud of you. We look forward to all that is to come – congratulations!
11:35 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: What I'm going to be talking about today is obviously financing college educations. And I tell a story about how both Michelle and I, we had to rely on student loans and grants and scholarships to get through college and law school, and we still had a huge amount of debt after we graduated. It paid off, it's a great investment, but obviously we're pretty sympathetic to the challenges that families go through in terms of financing.
And so I just wanted to get a sense -- all of you are going to be taking out Stafford loans. And two things I wanted to get a sense of -- number one, I'm assuming that a doubling of the interest rates is not helpful to you, but feel free to talk about that. I also wanted to get a sense of how it was to apply for one, because one of the things Arne and I and others in the administration have talked about is how do you simplify the process just to make it a little bit easier for people. Because I know that -- and based on your chuckle, it sounds like that's something that we need to do.
Anybody want to start?
SECRETARY DUNCAN: How was the financial aid form itself? Was that scary? Was it easy? Was it hard?
STUDENT: Pretty easy. It was kind of like filling out a college application, so that made it really easy -- did it all for you.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, good.
SECRETARY DUNCAN: That's what I like to hear. What about other folks?
STUDENT: It was pretty easy.
SECRETARY DUNCAN: It used to be really, really tough, and we worked with the IRS to simplify that. I was scared to partner with the IRS -- (laughter) -- but they did a great, great job. The form itself used to be a barrier to going on. So what was your sense on it?
STUDENT: I did it in my college summit class and my teacher helped me with it.
SECRETARY DUNCAN: How was it?
STUDENT: It was easy.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Parents, how are you feeling about this whole college cost thing?
PARENT: Well, Brendan is my third one in school now and I have one more that will be coming up --
THE PRESIDENT: So you're a pro. (Laughter.)
PARENT: Yes. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: And how about you? Do you have other kids who are -- you've got to be thinking about?
PARENT: Yes, I have one -- two that are in community college now, and so they're going to go on to a four-year university. But for Amirah, she is going straight to a four-year university, and the cost is a lot more than community college. So we're looking at all our options -- grants, scholarships, definitely the Stafford loans.
THE PRESIDENT: Just to be able to afford it. So it's a big chunk to handle.
How about you?
PARENT: Well, Rina is my first one to go to college. I have two more -- they're small right now. One is in third grade --
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, so you've got things spaced out a little bit. That's good.
Well, there are two things that we're focused on. One is obviously keeping loan rates low. The second thing, though, is to actually try to lower college cost itself. And we've met with colleges and universities -- the inflation rate on college has actually gone up faster than health care, which is pretty hard to do.
And some of it is not actually the fault of the universities. If it’s a state school, the state legislatures across the country have been cutting back on the support for public colleges and universities. And the only way these colleges a lot of times can make it up is by raising tuition. They’ve got higher health care costs that they have to deal with. But some of it is, I think, a lack of creativity in terms of thinking about how do you keep costs down. All of you guys when you get to school, you’re going to have to think about making sure that you’re not loading up yourselves with a lot of debt unnecessarily.
Everybody here is going to be living in dorms?
THE PRESIDENT: And eating Ramen noodles? (Laughter.) But I think you guys are in a good position because in addition to being able to take out student loans and having parents who are obviously interested and engaged in the process, what we’re trying to do is to, through a variety of channels, provide more information to students so that they can plan ahead about what their debt loads might be when they graduate. And that’s something that, frankly, when we were going to school we didn’t really have a good idea. And a lot of kids ended up being surprised by how much things --
SECRETARY DUNCAN: Knowing four-year costs, knowing the loan repayments. We're trying to do some things to reduce loan repayments at the back end -- something called income-based repayment, IBR -- you can take a look at. But helping the front end, know what your costs are, more transparency and help at the back end. So we're trying to do all those things. As the President said, push states to invest and push colleges to be reasonable. These are tough times and don't get carried away, and a lot of colleges are doing it well; some aren’t. So we're trying to challenge them as well.
THE PRESIDENT: But overall, it sounds like you guys are all set. I’m excited for you. Are you guys getting nervous, too?
(Pool ushered out.)
END 11:41 A.M. EDT
During his May 3-4 visit to Moscow, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon discussed next steps in U.S. - Russia relations, including cooperation on security and economic issues. National Security Advisor Donilon's constructive and wide ranging meetings with President-elect Putin, Security Council Secretary Patrushev, and Deputy Head of the Government Apparatus Ushakov are part of an ongoing series of high-level consultations on issues of mutual strategic interest. Both countries are looking forward to developing further their constructive partnership.
Washington-Lee High School
11:53 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Generals! (Applause.) Hello, Virginia! (Applause.) Well, let me first of all say, following Amirah is kind of tough. (Laughter.) She is really good. Give her a big round of applause for the great introduction. (Applause.) There are a couple of other people I want to introduce who are here today. First of all, my Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is here. Give him a round of applause. (Applause.) Your Congressman, Jim Moran, is here. (Applause.)
And before we came out, I had a chance to meet with Amirah and her mom, but also a couple other of your classmates. Brendan Craig is here, and his dad. (Applause.) And also Rina Castaneda and her mom. (Applause.) Let me just say, they represented you really well. Those were three impressive seniors. Thanks for hanging out with me on a Friday. I know that you’re happy not because I’m here. There are seniors in the crowd -- (applause) -- and you’re excited about graduating. I know the juniors are excited to get the seniors -- (applause) -- they’re excited to get the seniors out so they’ll be at the top of the heap.
You’ve got prom coming up. (Applause.) I guess you’ve already got your dress all picked out, huh? (Laughter.) All right. You’ve got final exams.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: You’ve got a great summer coming up. (Applause.) And then, more than 90 percent of this year’s seniors from this school are going to some sort of post-secondary education, whether it is a 4-year college, community college, vocational. (Applause.) That makes us proud. That is a testament to your principal, who is doing a great job. So we’re very proud of him. Thank you. (Applause.)
Now, I know a lot of you -- certainly a lot of your parents -- are focused on how you’re going to pay for college. And that’s what I was talking to your classmates and some of your parents about. That’s why I’m here. But first, I want to say something about the economy that we’re going to be working to rebuild for you -- because not only do we want you to have a good education, we want to make sure that you’re getting a job after you graduate. (Applause.)
Now, this morning, we learned that our economy created 130,000 private sector jobs in April. And the unemployment rate ticked down again. So after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months -- more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone. (Applause.)
So that's the good news. But there are still a lot of folks out of work, which means that we've got to do more. If we’re going to recover all the jobs that were lost during the recession, and if we're going to build a secure economy that strengthens the middle class, then we're going to have to do more. And that’s why, next week, I’m going to urge Congress, as they start getting back to work, to take some actions on some common-sense ideas, right now, that can accelerate even more job growth. That’s what we need, and my message to Congress is going to be, just saying "no" to ideas that will create new jobs is not an option. There's too much at stake for us not to all be rowing in the same direction. And that's true for you and that's true for your parents. (Applause.)
Now, that's in the short term. But in the long run, the most important thing we can do for our economy is to give all of you and all Americans the best education possible. That's the most important thing we can do. (Applause.) That means helping our schools hire and reward the best teachers -- and you've got some great teachers here. (Applause.) That means stepping up our focus on math and science -- something I tell Malia and Sasha every day. (Applause.) You're solid on math? Okay, I like to hear that. (Laughter.) That means giving more Americans the chance to learn the skills that businesses are looking for right now. And in the 21st century, it also means higher education cannot be a luxury -- it is an economic imperative that every American should be able to afford.
Now, my grandfather had the chance to go to college because this country decided that every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it. And on a bipartisan basis, the GI Bill was created that allowed him to go to college. My mother was able to raise two kids by herself because she was also able to get grants and loans to work her way through school. Michelle and I are only where we are because scholarships and student loans gave us a shot at a great education. We didn't come from a wealthy background, but this country gave us a chance at a good education.
This country has always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of everybody who is willing to work for it. That’s what makes us special. That's the kind of investment in our own people that helped us lead the world in business and science and technology and medicine. That's what made us an economic superpower.
But, unfortunately, since you guys were born -- which doesn’t seem that long ago to me -- (laughter) -- maybe it does to you -- the cost of going to college has more than doubled. And that means students have to take out more loans. It’s now to the point where the average student who borrows to pay for college graduates with about $25,000 worth of debt -- $25,000. And Americans now owe more for their student loans than they do on their credit cards.
Now, I want to give you guys some relief from that debt. I don’t want you to start off life saddled with debt. And I don’t want your parents to be taking on so much debt as well. (Applause.) Because when you start off already owing a lot of money graduating from school it means making a lot of really tough choices, like maybe waiting longer to buy a house, or to start a family, or to chase that career that you really want.
And like I said, Michelle and I know about this. We graduated from college and law school with a truckload of student loan debt. We got married and together we got poorer. (Laughter.) After we graduated, we were lucky enough to land good jobs, so it was still a great investment for us to go to college and law school. But we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. And I know some of your teachers here probably can relate.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Woohoo! (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: When we should have been starting to save up for Malia’s and Sasha’s college educations, we were still paying off our educations.
So we can’t price the middle class out of a higher education. We’ve got to make college more affordable. That’s why we fixed a broken student loan system that was giving tens of billions of dollars to big banks, and we said, let’s use that money to help more people afford college. That’s why we strengthened aid for low-income students. (Applause.) That’s why we fought to set up a new, independent consumer watchdog agency that’s now working with every student and their parents to access a simple factsheet on student loans and financial aid, so you can make your own choices, the best choices, about how to pay for college. We call it "Know Before You Owe." Know before you owe.
But making college more affordable isn’t something government can or should do alone. I was mentioning to your classmates, we’re talking to colleges and universities about doing their part. And I’ve told Congress to steer federal aid to schools that keep tuition affordable and provide good value and serve their students well. If colleges and universities can’t stop their costs from going up, then the funding they get from taxpayers, it should go down. We should steer it to the schools that are really giving students the best deal.
And states have to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. Last year, over 40 states cut their higher education spending. And these cuts have been among the largest drivers of public college tuition increases over the past decade. So we’ve told states, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college and make it easier for students to graduate, then we’re going to help you do it -- which is good news. (Applause.)
Now, Congress also has to do its part. (Applause.) Right now, that means preventing the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling, which would make it harder for you to pay for college next year. The three classmates of yours that I met, they’re all getting Stafford loans to help pay for college. And these Stafford loans, right now, have a very low interest rate, because five years ago Congress cut the rate for these student loans in half. That was a good idea. It made college more affordable. But here’s the bad news --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Uh-oh.
THE PRESIDENT: Uh-oh. (Laughter.) On July 1st -- less than two months from now -- that rate cut expires, and interest rates on those loans will double overnight.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: That’s not good. For each year that college [sic] doesn’t act, the average student with these Stafford loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt. That’s like a $1,000 tax hike for more than 7 million students across America.
Now, let me ask, is that something that you can afford if you’re going to college?
THE PRESIDENT: You guys shouldn’t have to pay an extra $1,000 just because Congress can’t get its act together. This should be a no-brainer. This is something that we need to get done.
So the good news is, the Senate will vote next week on a bill that would keep student loan rates from doubling. And some Republican senators look like they might support it. I’m ready to work with them to make it happen. But unfortunately, rather than find a bipartisan way to fix this problem, the House Republicans are saying they’re only going to prevent these rates from doubling if they can cut things like preventive health care for women instead. So --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: That’s not good. We shouldn’t have to choose between women having preventive health care and young people keeping their student loan rates low. (Applause.)
Some of the Republicans in the House are coming up with all sorts of different reasons why we should just let these rates double. One of them compared student loans to a "stage three cancer of socialism," whatever that means. I don’t know. (Laughter.) Another warned that this is all about giving you a "free college education," which doesn’t make sense because, of course, loans aren't free; you’ve got to pay them back. The spokesman for the Speaker of the House said that we were -- meaning me -- we're just talking about student loans to distract folks from the economy. Now, this makes no sense because this is all about the economy. (Applause.) Making sure our young people can earn the best possible education -- that’s one of the best things we can do for the economy. Making sure college is available to everyone and not just a few at the top -- that’s one of the best things we can do for our economy.
And I don’t think it’s fair when they suggest that students like you should pay more so we can bring down deficits that they helped to run up over the past decade. They just voted -- (applause) -- we've got to do something about our deficits. We paid for two wars with a credit card -- debt that you're going to have to pay off. We gave two tax cuts to folks that don't need it and weren't asking for it. The Republicans in the House just voted to keep giving billions of taxpayer dollars every year to big oil companies raking in record profits. They just voted to let millionaires and billionaires keep paying lower tax rates than middle-class workers. They even voted to give an average tax cut of at least $150,000 to every millionaire in America. And they want you to pay an extra $1,000 a year for college.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, that doesn't make sense. In America, we admire success. We aspire to it. I was talking to folks -- Rina wants to study business, and I'm confident she's going to be really wealthy some day and -- (applause) -- we want all of you to work and hustle and study your tails off and achieve your dreams. But America is not just about protecting a few people who are doing well. America is about giving everybody a chance to do well. That’s what makes us strong. That’s what the American Dream is all about. (Applause.) Everybody here, you're only here, you're only succeeding because somebody, somewhere, felt a responsibility not just to themselves, not even just to their own families, but to the country as a whole. And now it’s our turn to be responsible. It’s our turn to keep that promise alive for the next generation.
So if you agree with me, then I need all of you -- I see a lot of cell phones here and a lot of -- (laughter) -- all kinds of stuff -- (laughter) -- I want you to send a message to Congress. Tell them, "don’t double my rate." You should -- "don't double my rate." You should call them, you should e-mail them, write on their Facebook page, tweet them. (Applause.) Teach your parents how to tweet. (Laughter.) And use the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate. Don't double my rate. Don't double it. (Applause.) I asked some students at the University of North Carolina and the University of Colorado and the University of Iowa to do this last week, and they got it trending worldwide for a while. There were, of course -- there were more of them than there were of you. I had Jimmy Fallon’s help. (Laughter.)
But what I do expect from each of you on this and every other issue that you come to care about -- I want you guys to realize your voice makes a difference. Your voice matters. I know sometimes it seems like it doesn’t, but I guarantee you, members of Congress, they pay attention. And if they start getting a lot of folks telling them they care deeply about something, it changes their mind. Sometimes, it changes their vote. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like, where you come from, or how much you have -- your voice can make a difference. (Applause.) So tell Congress now is not the time to double your interest on your student loans. Now is the time to double down on our smart investments in building a strong and secure middle class. Now is the time to double down on building an America that lasts. And if we work together, I guarantee you we will meet our challenges.
When I met your classmates, when I look out at your faces, it gives me confidence about our future. (Applause.) I believe in you. And I believe you’re going to do great things. And I believe your generation will remind the world just why it is America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.)
12:12 P.M. EDT
On Wednesday, May 9th, as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series, the President and First Lady will host a concert in the East Room honoring songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who will be awarded the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Obama will present the award as he did in 2010 and 2009, when the Library of Congress honored Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, respectively. The program will include performances by Sheryl Crow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Mike Myers, Rumer, Arturo Sandoval, Sheléa and Stevie Wonder.
The President’s remarks will be pooled press and the entire event will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live starting at 7:00 PM ET on May 9th.
On Monday, May 21st at 9:00 PM ET, the East Room concert will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as “Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House” (check local listings). The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
This will be the first time the Gershwin Prize honor has been awarded to a songwriting team; Bacharach and David are a pianist and lyricist respectively. The Gershwin Prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress. The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.
The White House concert caps off two days of events celebrating the recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. On Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00 PM ET, the Library of Congress will host an invitation-only concert at their Coolidge Auditorium in honor of Bacharach and David. The all-star tribute will include performances by Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Mike Myers, Lyle Lovett, Rumer and Stevie Wonder.
“Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House” will be the ninth “In Performance at the White House” program hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. Starting in February 2009, these events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring the music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots of Country Music.
Google has released Chrome 18.0.1025.168 for Linux, Macintosh, Windows, and Google Chrome Frame to address multiple vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial-of-service condition.
US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Google Chrome Releases blog entry and update to Chrome 18.0.1025.168.
This product is provided subject to the Notification as indicated here: http://www.us-cert.gov/legal.html#notify
Today, the President will travel to Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, to speak with students and their parents about the need to prevent interest rates on federal subsidized student loans from doubling on July 1. While at the school, the President and Secretary Duncan will hold a roundtable discussion with a small group of seniors and their parents before the President delivers remarks to members of the junior and senior classes and many of their parents about the importance of their having a fair shot at an affordable higher education and the skills they need to find a good job. The roundtable is pooled press and the students and parents noted below will be participating in the discussion.
On Monday, the President will hold a conference call with elected officials and student government leaders from across the country to discuss the need to prevent rates from doubling on July 1.
On Thursday, Vice President Biden will address a group of students and representatives from higher education and youth organizations who are meeting at the White House. His remarks will focus on the importance of keeping higher education affordable and accessible for more than 7 million students by preventing student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.
Members of the Cabinet and Senior Administration officials will be discussing the interest rate issue in events across the country next week: Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will hold an event in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, and in Phoenix, Arizona next Friday; Small Business Administrator Karen Mills will hold an event in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday; United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk will hold an event in Dallas, Texas on Thursday; and Senior Administration officials from the Departments of Education, Agriculture and Labor will hold events in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas throughout the week.
Today’s Roundtable Participants Include:
Amirah Delwin (High School Senior) & Kezia Truesdale (Mom)
Amirah Delwin is a senior at Washington-Lee High School. She will attend Old Dominion University in the fall and wants to major in psychology. Amirah will receive subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for her education. Her stepmom Kezia Truesdale is an elementary school counselor in Maryland. Amirah has lived in Arlington her whole life and has five siblings. Her older sister, Hadiya, attends Northern Virginia Community College. Her brother, Esias, is a sophomore at Washington-Lee High School and her other siblings are 1, 5, and 6 years old.
Brendan Craig (High School Senior) & Tim Craig (Dad)
Brendan Craig is a senior at Washington-Lee High School. He will attend Virginia Tech next year and plans to major in general engineering. Brendan will receive subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for his education. His father Tim Craig is a pastor at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, VA and his mother, Ann Craig, is a kindergarten teacher in Fairfax County, VA. Brendan has three sisters. His two older sisters attend George Mason University and both received subsidized Stafford loans. His younger sister, Meghan, is an 11th grade student at Washington-Lee.
Rina Castaneda (High School Senior) & Elma Molina (Mom)
Rina Castaneda is a senior at Washington-Lee High School. She is going to Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall and will receive subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for her education. Her mother Elma Molina is a dental assistant and her father works at restaurant Teatro Goldoni. She has two younger half-brothers and one younger half-sister. She will be the first person in her family to attend college.
Secretary Clinton (May 4): "We want to see China not only deliver economic prosperity for its large population, but also play a key role in world affairs."
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Under Secretary Otero (May 4): "At the State Department, elevating our civilian power means better understanding how our diplomats and policy makers are supporting governments as they provide for and protect their citizens -- in other words, how we advance civilian security.
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