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  • On day one, President Obama committed to making his Administration the most open and participatory in history. And six years later, we’re still at it. At the White House, we're constantly looking for new ways to connect with citizens around the country on the issues that they care the most about.

    This year, a "We the People" petition became law. We hosted a virtual Big Block of Cheese Day. President Obama answered your questions during a Tumblr Q&A and took a virtual road trip on Google+. The First Lady asked "turnip for what?" in a Vine Q&A, and a Maker Faire came to the White House.

    From joining new social media platforms to bringing in innovators, 2014 was a big year for "first-ever" moments that invited Americans to engage with their government. Take a look at highlights from the year, and be sure to stay tuned for a lot more ways to engage in 2015.


    We hosted the first-ever virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day."
    January 29, 2014

  • In September 2009, the President announced that — for the first time in history — White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in September 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.18 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • We're nearing the end of 2014, so we thought it'd be a great time to look back at the First Lady's year online. 

    In the past 12 months, the First Lady passed 1 million followers on both her Twitter and Instagram accounts. She took to Twitter, YouTube, Vine, and Tumblr to answer your questions about our troops, education, and healthy eating. She even let Bo and Sunny take over her Instagram account. 

    To celebrate the year, we put together, in no particular order, 10 of our favorite moments from the First Lady's social media accounts in 2014. Check out her digital year in review: 

    1. The First Lady turned into a GIF to answer your questions on student loans.


  • "My new health insurance will allow me to get the medical help that I need to get stronger."


    Tricia T. wrote the President to share the impact that the Affordable Care Act has made on her life.

  • A responsible end to the war in Afghanistan. A historic agreement to combat climate change. A strong pace of job growth that we haven't seen since the 1990s. 

    Overall, 2014 has offered some great achievements for President Obama and the American people. Join the President's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in taking a look back at this year's most memorable moments -- then share the memories with your friends and family. 

    View 2014

  • On Christmas Day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dropped in on servicemembers in Kaneohe, Hawaii to thank our troops for their "extraordinary service on behalf of our country."

  • 2014 is coming to a close, and, looking back, it’s certainly been a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden -- both online and off.

    So this year, we thought we’d share some of our favorite digital moments with the Vice President from 2014. From starting an official Instagram account to posting his first White House selfie with President Obama, here in no particular order are 10 of the best moments from 2014 -- and, of course, stay tuned for more to come in the new year.

    1. Being Biden: The Vice President meets a powerlifter.

  • With 2014 drawing to a close, we thought it'd be a good time to take a look back at the past year on @WhiteHouse.

    This year, @WhiteHouse added more than 1.1 million new followers and surpassed 5.57 million overall, while continuing to serve as an important tool for the White House to engage with the American people.

    Check out a timeline of some of the top tweets from the year, and be sure to follow @WhiteHouse on Twitter for news and updates from President Obama and his Administration. And don't forget to check back for more Year in Review roundups over the next several days.



  • "I cried the day I was finally able to sign up for coverage. I felt like a fifty-pound weight was lifted from my shoulders."


  • President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama tape the holiday Weekly Address (Dec., 2014)

    In this week's address, the President and First Lady wished Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our brave troops for their service. Especially as our combat mission in Afghanistan comes to a responsible end in the coming days, we are reminded of all that military men, women, and families sacrifice to keep us safe.

    The President and First Lady asked everyone to take some time this holiday season to visit JoiningForces.gov and find out how to give back to the men and women in uniform who have given so much for all of us.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • "I cannot begin to express the relief and decreased stress this has brought me. Know that you are doing good work and making a positive change in the world."


    Shannon K. from Great Falls, Montana recently wrote the President to express her gratitude for the Affordable Care Act.

    After losing her father this past December, she started taking care of her ailing mother while continuing to work more than 40 hours a week -- all while being a single mother herself, with her own health concerns.

    “Prior to the Affordable Care Act, I would be forced to stay in my full-time position,” she writes. “Now I’ve been able to transition to part-time, take [care] of my family, and still get the health care I need at an affordable price.”

    Need to get covered? Find a health plan that best fits your needs at HealthCare.gov.

    Already covered? Commit to help someone you know get covered here.

    And if you want to share your own story, contact us here.

  • Welcome to this special holiday edition of West Wing Week. While we certainly hope you all are taking some time off to reflect on the meaning of the holidays and spend time with your loved ones, we also want to offer up some of our favorite White House holiday moments from this festive time of year.

    Watch on YouTube

  • 2014 may go down in history as the geekiest year ever here at the White House.

    Over the past 12 months, we’ve welcomed makers, coders, gamers, Nobel Prize winners, student scientists, and broadcast meteorologists to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and we've adorned our halls with robots, 3D printers, and science projects. We've continued to gather top expert-geeks online to discuss a range of topics such as asteroids, superhero science, the science of cooking, and extreme weather (including one dialed in from the bottom of the ocean).

    This year, the President and his Administration continued momentum on a range of science, technology, and innovation priorities that promise to benefit American citizens — from steps to unleash troves of government data as fuel for innovation, to releasing the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever of the domestic impacts of climate change, to telling the untold story of women in science and technology.

    Here are some science and technology highlights from 2014:

    1. President Obama became the first President to write a line of code.

    Watch on YouTube

  • Ed. note: The following is an excerpt from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' blog post on the latest Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Read the full post here.


    From November 15 to December 19, nearly 6.4 million consumers selected a plan in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) or were automatically re-enrolled, with approximately 30 percent of this total comprised of people newly signing up for Marketplace coverage.

    High consumer demand as we neared the December 15 deadline and the automatic enrollment process that began on December 16 contributed to the overall total.

    “We still have a lot of work to do before the February 15 enrollment deadline, but this is an encouraging start. People shopped for coverage and signed up – finding more choices and greater competition,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said.

    “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, so far nearly 6.4 million consumers, including about 1.9 million new consumers, have access to quality, affordable health coverage for 2015 through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. This law is working, and families are better off as a result.”

    Read the full blog post here.

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's blog. See the original post here.

    This has been a tremendous year for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the rural families and communities we serve.

    Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden recently shared a reflection on her most inspirational moments this year. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at USDA over the course of this year, and I thought I’d take a moment to share just a few of our top accomplishments.

  • The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden Joining Forces 2014

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden sit with Major General Jim McConville during the Joining Forces initiative event with service members, military spouses, and employers at the Fort Campbell Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum at Fort Campbell. April 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    We’ve had an amazing year at Joining Forces. Here are some of our favorite moments!

    In 2011, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden came together to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works hand in hand with the public and private sector to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.

  • This year, you can interact with the White House holiday decorations!

    This year, technology is playing a big role in creating the holiday experience at the White House. One of the newest additions to the annual White House Holiday tour is an interactive digital snowscape that allows visitors to become a part of the festive display of Holiday decorations.

    The interactive installation captures visitors’ movements, showing them projected on the wall as a flurry of snowflakes in a serene winter wonderland full of holiday trees, a snow-covered ground, and snowflakes. As visitors enter the East Wing of the White House and walk through Book Sellers, they can quickly recognize their own outline in the scene projected on the wall. The shapes that the display captures then drive several types of immersive interactive displays, where participants manipulate the images just by moving their hands and bodies. The more a visitor moves, the more sparkly effects in the snow will appear, encouraging visitors to continue to interact.


  • "Having insurance now won’t cure me, but maybe it will give me a chance to take control of my life again someday."


     

    Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Ryan from Austin, TX was able to find quality, affordable health insurance after enrolling in the exchange in Texas.

  • Today’s upward revision indicates that the economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in over a decade. The strong GDP growth is consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth. The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 already the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. Indeed, 2014 was a breakthrough year for the United States across a wide range of metrics important to middle-class families. Nevertheless, there is more work to be done to ensure that all Americans can share in the accelerating recovery.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

    1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.0 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2014—the strongest single quarter since 2003—according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While quarterly growth reports are volatile, and some of the growth in Q3 reflected transitory factors, the recent robust growth data indicate a solid underlying trend of recovery. Indeed, the strong growth recorded in each of the last two quarters suggests that the economy has bounced back strongly from the first-quarter decline in GDP, which largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Consumer spending, business investment, and net exports all remained positive contributors this quarter. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q3.

  • 2014 has been an exciting year for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, and given that the initiative launched in May, we had a difficult time limiting our favorite moments to just five. 

    The initiative is the First Lady's effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

    1. First Lady Michelle Obama launches Reach Higher

    To kick off the Reach Higher initiative in May, the First Lady challenged everyone across the country to wear their college gear to inspire students to take charge of their future by completing some form of education beyond high school. She also participated in San Antonio’s fourth-annual College Signing Day, celebrating students' commitments to higher education.

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