POTUS Weekly Column – President Obama speaks about the Navy Yard shooting and on the growing economy


POTUS Column Photo LabeledSeptember 23, 2013
Lauren Staehle
News Writer

It was a difficult week in Washington, both for residents and especially for the President, who had to experience the sorrow of addressing yet another mass shooting. President Obama would surely agree that one of the hardest parts of his job is being the voice of the nation at a time when so many people are hurt and grief-stricken. But the city picked up and carried on, and so did the president, who never knows what tomorrow may bring, or when “unimaginable violence” will strike close to home.

The president had a fairly uneventful weekend, meeting with Susan Rice on Saturday morning to discuss the Geneva talks, and following that up with a call to Ambassador Samantha Power and Secretary of State John Kerry to congratulate him on reaching an agreement with Russia. President Obama then joined Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” for a game of golf. The three hit it off so well, that they played 27 holes, making it a six-hour golf game. The press in tow was a little more than relieved when the President finally made his way back to the White House.

On Monday, the president was scheduled to speak about economic progress in the South Court auditorium to mark the 5-year anniversary of the financial crisis. The attendees and other speakers were people who had benefited from President Obama’s various economic proposals. However, everyone’s mind was on the event at the Navy Yard, where a dozen people were killed in a mass shooting early Monday morning. The president deviated from his intended talking points to address the tragedy.

Only hours after the Navy Yard shooting, there was a scare at the White House, when a man threw firecrackers over the fence and onto the White House lawn. The man was arrested, but the entire White House was on lock-down for a short while. Everyone, especially the president, was certainly on edge that day. But as usual, President Obama had to keep his cool, and move forward, addressing the incidents with composure while so many others showed trepidation.

On Wednesday the president went to the headquarters of the Business Roundtable to take questions. The Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and more than 16 million employees. He spoke to chief executives, saying he is “invested in [their]success.” He discussed the many economic advancements that have been made, but added, “we’re not where we need to be yet.” He concluded by asking those in attendance for their positive support and influence as budgetary issues are looming.

Also on Wednesday, the First Lady hosted the White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children. People from all areas of the food industry were in attendance, and First Lady Michelle Obama talked about the importance of strategically and correctly presenting kids with healthy food choices.  President Obama continued to discuss plans for economic recovery at an Export Council meeting on Thursday. He noted: “one of the biggest bright spots in our economy has been exports. The fact that ‘Made in America’ means something and has provided a boost to our domestic economy, and has reminded the world just how competitive we are.” President Obama also praised the council for doing “a great job in helping to guide our policies.”

The president ended the day with an appearance at an event held by the Democratic National Committee at the Capitol Hilton. On Friday, President Obama, Sen. Claire McCashill and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver traveled to Kansas City where the president would speak at the Ford stamping plant. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, first lady Georganne Nixon and Mayor Sly James greeted the president when the plane landed. When the group arrived at the Ford plant in Liberty, Missouri, there was a small group of protestors carrying signs that read things like “OMG Obama Must Go.”

Despite the small disruption, the president appeared calm and collected during a tour of the plant. President Obama then spoke to the audience that consisted of mostly Ford employees. He began lightheartedly: “Now, you may not be aware of this, but you and I have a little history together. I may roll in a Cadillac these days- no, no, but it’s not my car. I’m just, I’m renting, just like my house. The lease runs out in about three and a half years. But before that, I was driving around in a 2008 Ford Escape… So I want to thank you for building my car.” The president then spoke about the economy and about the futures of workers like those at Ford.

That ended the week for President Obama. Next week will be an important one, as the President and First Lady will travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, and President Obama will deliver some important remarks considering the current situation involving Syria and Russia.


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