Full Text Obama Presidency July 10, 2015: First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the Kids’ State Dinner Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the First Lady and the President at the Kids’ State Dinner

Source: WH, 7-10-15

State Dining Room

11:56 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  I see tears.  (Laughter.)  I do.  Wow, Abby, amazing.  We’re so proud of you.  Man, good stuff!  Very good stuff.

You guys, welcome to the White House.  Let’s say that again — welcome to the White House!  (Applause.)

This is the whole house’s favorite event — the Kids’ State Dinner.  Look at this place.  Do you know how many people put time and effort into making this as amazing as it can be for you?  So let’s give everyone who helped put this event together a wonderful round of applause.  (Applause.)

And I want to again thank Abby for her amazing introduction, but more importantly, for listening to what I said about paying it forward.  I thank you.  (Laughter.)  I need you to talk to my children.  (Laughter.)  Listen to me.  (Laughter.)  Abby, great job.  So proud of you, babe, really.

I also want to thank PBS and WGBH Boston for their tremendous generosity in sponsoring our Kids’ State Dinner and our Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  So I want to give them another round of applause.  (Applause.)

And, of course, to Tanya.  Tanya, this is just a great partnership.  You are amazing.  There you are.  The work you do is amazing.  And it’s always so much fun seeing you here at this event.  Thank you for everything that you do year after year.

I also want to acknowledge all the folks from the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.  They make a fabulous set of partners on so much of the work that we do.  And I know we have representatives from those departments here, so I want to thank you all for the great work that you do.  Well done.

And how about we give a shout-out to the parents and siblings and grandparents who — yes — (laughter) — who got you all here today.  Let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)   We want to say officially thank you, families, for encouraging these young people — even when they made a mess in the kitchen.  But I’m sure they cleaned up, too.  Right?  (Laughter.)  Thank you all.  Thank you for raising and being part of raising such wonderful young men and women.  And it’s wonderful to have you all here.  They couldn’t do it without you and without that support.  So we are celebrating you all as well.

And finally, most of all, congratulations to all of this year’s 55 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners!  (Applause.)  That’s you!  And you, and you!  Yes!  Just so that our press understands — welcome press — (laughter) — all our young press people.  This is the only time we let kids in the press pool.  You guys do your jobs.  Do your jobs over there.  Don’t let the grown-ups push you out of the way.  (Laughter.)

Nearly 1,000 kids entered this contest — 1,000!  Right?  This was a real competition.  But after countless hours of prepping and taste-testing your recipes, our panel of distinguished judges — some of whom are here today, including Deb — she ate every bite — (laughter) — decided that your meals were the healthiest, tastiest, and most fun dishes to cook and to eat!

So you had many hurdles to overcome.  It had to be healthy, tasty, and good to eat, and you did it!  Yes!  (Applause.)  Fabulous!  And you look so good!  (Laughter.)  You all are so handsome and gorgeous.  So you can cook and your smart and you look great, and you’re here at the White House.  It’s just wonderful.

You blew the judges away with your talent and creativity.  You included fruits and veggies from every color of the rainbow in your recipes.  You used all kinds of ingredients — flax seed — do any of the adults even know what flax seed is?  (Laughter.)  Cumin, and we have yellow miso paste that was included in one of the recipes — pretty sophisticated.

And you came up with some of the catchiest recipe names imaginable — one of my favorites, Mango-Cango Chicken.  Who is our Mango — where is our Mango-Cango young man?  There you are. Mango-Cango.  (Applause.)  We had Fizzle Sizzle Stir Fry.  Who created Fizzle Sizzle Stir Fry?  Where is our — there you go!  And then, Sam’s Southern Savoring Salmon Supreme — or S to the 5th power.  (Laughter.)  Sam, was that you?  (Applause.)  And so many more.  You guys have the menus.  We’re tasting just a few of them.  One is the Mic-Kale Obama Slaw — what is that?  I love that one.

And your reasons for creating these dishes were as varied as the ingredients, as Tanya said.  Some of you play sports and you realize that you need good nutrition to be able to compete.  As Hannah Betts — where’s Hannah?  Hannah, where are you?  Hannah!  This is what Hannah Betts, our winner from Connecticut, said — this is her quote — she said, “I do gymnastics and swimming, so I need food that is going to fill me up and give me lots of energy.”  Outstanding.

For some of you, cooking is a way to bond with your families and relive happy memories from when you were little.  And that’s why Felix Gonzalez — Felix, where are you?  There you go, there you go.  You told me this story in the photo line.  He’s from Puerto Rico.  He created his “Wrap it Up” chicken wrap — and this is his quote — he said, “I decided to make this dish as a wrap because I was thinking about the fun times when my dad wrapped me up as a burrito –(laughter)– with a blanket when I was a small child.”  Yeah, cool, dude.  Cool.  (Laughter.)

Some of you became interested in cooking because you were worried about your friends’ unhealthy eating habits.  Something that I try to work with my friends on all the time.  Now, Izzy Washburn from Kentucky actually did — this is Izzy — raise your hand.  Izzy right there.  She did a science experiment comparing school lunches to the lunches her friends brought from home, and the school lunches turned out to be healthier, according to your experiment.

And that wasn’t always the case.  We all know that we’ve seen some tremendous improvements in our school lunches over these years.  And it actually took a whole lot of work by people in your school cafeterias to actually accomplish this goal.

Back in 2010, based on some advice that we got from doctors and nutritionists and scientists in this country, we realized that we needed to improve the quality of school meals by adding fruits and veggies and whole grains.  And it required a lot — a little energy to make that happen, a little pushing back.  But right now, today, 95 percent of schools in this country are now meeting those new standards.  And that’s a wonderful achievement.  (Applause.)

So now tens of millions of kids are now getting better nutrition every single day.  Just like Abby pointed out, there are many kids who go to school and they don’t have breakfast, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  So you imagine, now the schools all over this country are providing that kind of nutrition so kids who might not get that nutrition at home are getting it at school.  This is an important step forward.  And I know you guys all agree because you understand the importance of healthy eating.

So I know that Izzy certainly believes so.  This is her quote — she said, “It’s important to teach my friends what good choices look like and how what fuel they choose for their bodies affects how they perform throughout their day.”  Very wise for such a little-bitty person.  (Laughter.)

And that’s why we created Let’s Move and started hosting these Kids’ State Dinners — because, as Abby said in her remarks, we want you guys to be ambassadors and to talk about healthy eating in your schools and in your communities.

So that’s really one of the things — one of the things you will do to pay for this opportunity is that you’re going to pay it forward, and hopefully when you go back, you’ll not only share this experience with your friends and family, but you’ll also talk about why we’re doing this.  Because a lot of kids don’t understand that food is fuel in a very fundamental way.  And sometimes they don’t listen to grown-ups, and they don’t listen to the First Lady.  But many of them will listen to you because you’re living proof of that reality.

So I want you to kind of think about how you can move this issue forward in your communities.  What more can you do when you get back home to continue this conversation and to engage more young people in the work that you all do.  That’s the only thing that I ask of you — and just to keep being the amazing, wonderful human beings that you are.

We developed this really cool — we worked with a PR firm to develop this really cool campaign for fruits and vegetables called FNV.  And it’s being piloted in certain parts of the country.  The idea behind the campaign is very simple:  If unhealthy foods can have all kinds of advertisements and celebrity endorsements, then why can’t we do that for fruits and vegetables?  Right?

So we’ve got Jessica Alba involved, and Colin Kaepernick, and Nick Jonas, and Steph Curry.  I just saw a full-page ad in a paper with Steph in a suit and a basketball, talking about the importance of veggies.  And so many other athletes and celebrities have signed up to show their support for fruits and vegetables.

And now we need you guys to sign up.  You can get involved in this campaign.  It involves T-shirts and fans and sweat bands, and there are things that you can do to be engaged — lot of fun.  All you have to do is go to FNV.com to check it out and figure out how you can join the FNV Team.  And you guys will be among the first ambassadors through FNV.  So, soon as you get out of here — don’t pull out any phones right now.  (Laughter.)  Go to FNV and check it out.  And then tell us what you think — because we want your feedback.

So really, there’s so many ways that you guys can be leaders in your communities and help us build a healthier country for generations to come.

And with your award-winning recipes, you’re already well on your way.  And I’m so proud of everything you all are doing.  The President is so proud of everything you all are doing.  And I just want you all to keep going, have fun.

And now we get to eat.  (Laughter.)  We get to try some of the — yes, we get to eat.  (Laughter.)  So bon appétit, everyone.  (Laughter.)  Let’s get going!  Let’s eat!  (Applause.)

Oh, wait!  Wait!  (The President enters.)  We have one more thing — (applause.)  I’m sorry.  I know you’re hungry, but I’d like to introduce to you guys the President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Good to see you!  Hello, everybody!  How are you?  (Applause.)  So, everybody can have a seat.  Have a seat.

I’m sorry to crash your little party here.  (Laughter.)  But I just wanted to say hi to everybody.  And I wanted to let you know that, first of all, I’m very proud of everything that my outstanding wife has done — (applause) — when it comes to healthy eating and Let’s Move.  And we’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of Let’s Move.  So, you guys move?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  You guys are movers?  Okay.  You guys look pretty healthy, I got to admit.  This is a good-looking group.  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  A good-looking group.

THE PRESIDENT:  And so I also just wanted to let you know that although I can’t stay and eat right now, that I’ve looked over the menu and the food looks outstanding.  I particularly am impressed with the Barackamole.  (Laughter.)  So I’m expecting people to save me a little sampling of the Barackamole.

I also noticed that there are a lot of good vegetables on the menu, including my favorite vegetable — broccoli.  (Laughter.)  Did somebody raise their hand?

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, I told these two that was your favorite vegetable.

THE PRESIDENT:  You didn’t believe me?  (Laughter.)  It’s true, I love broccoli.  I eat it all the time.  Anybody else love broccoli?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s what I’m talking about.  (Laughter.)

So I know that all your parents are so proud of you for having come up with these outstanding recipes.  And the reason it’s so important for you guys to be here and to be doing what you’re doing is because the truth is, is that parents, it turns out, don’t always have the most influence — (laughter) — in terms of encouraging young people to eat healthy.

What really helps is when their friends at school are all, like, oh, you’re having chips?  I’m sorry, I’m having the Barackamole.  (Laughter.)  And then, because you’re a cool kid, suddenly the other kids are all, like, well, if that cool kid is eating broccoli, maybe I should try that broccoli out.  So you guys are setting a great example for all your friends in school and in the neighborhoods, and we’re really proud of you for that.

All right?  So I’m proud of you.  And I hope you guys have a wonderful dinner.  And I’m going to come around and shake hands with people, but I can’t take selfies with everybody because I’ve actually got just a few other things to do.  (Laughter.)  So that would end up taking too long.  All right?  But you can take pictures while I’m shaking hands.  I just can’t, like, pose and — (laughter) — all that stuff.

Oops — that’s okay, I get nervous, too.  (Laughter.)  Whenever I’m at state dinners I’m always spilling stuff.  (Laughter.)  Usually on my tie.

Thank you, everybody.   (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Let’s eat!

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s eat!  (Applause.)

END
12:12 P.M.

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Full Text Obama Presidency August 20, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama & President Barack Obama’s Speeches at First-Ever Kids’ State Dinner

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts First-Ever Kids’ State Dinner

Source: WH, 8-20-12

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House, welcoming 54 budding chefs to a formal luncheon in the East Room. The guests, all between the ages of 8 and 12, represent all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

Each of the guests, along with their parents, submitted a healthy recipe as part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which invited families to create an original lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable and delicious, and follows the nutritional guidelines of MyPlate.

“Believe it or not, more than 1,200 kids submitted recipes for this challenge — 1,200.  It’s a big competition,” the First Lady said.  A panel of judges from the organizations that teamed up with Mrs. Obama on this initiative — Epicurious, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture—tasted each of the recipes that made it to the final round of the competition and picked their favorites from each state, as Mrs. Obama explained.

And they spent hours trying to decide which ones were the healthiest and the tastiest and the most fun to cook and eat.  And it wasn’t easy to choose one winner from every single state.  You were the winner in your state — the whole state.  You guys won!  Cool!

But you’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right?  And that’s really saying something.  You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients; dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good, too.  See?  It can happen — healthy and tasty at the same time.

The junior chefs and their parents enjoyed several of the judges’ selections at lunch, including a Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Salad created by 11-year-old Haile Thomas of Arizona, Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes, created by 12-year-old Rori Coyne of Kansas.  There was even dessert: a Strawberryana Smoothie, created by 11-year-old Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto who came all the way from Hawaii.

Not one to be left out of all the fun, President Obama stopped by to surprise the guests, and told all the young people how proud he was of their hard work.

Look, let’s face it, I don’t cook that often these days. But I remember cooking and it’s not always easy to make something that people like to eat. Then for you guys to actually come up with recipes that are healthy and tasty, and to do it in a way that helps to contribute to spreading the word about healthy eating among your peers — that’s a really big deal.

So we’re very proud of you.  We’re very impressed with everything that you’ve done.

Remarks by the First Lady at Kids’ State Dinner

East Room

11:49 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, that was really sweet, it really was.  Marshall, we’re so proud of you.  We’re so very proud of you and your mom, who actually has some serious guns going on, too.  (Laughter.)  People talk about my arms, but I felt them.  They’re not — (laughter) — she’s no slouch.

But I want to welcome everyone to the White House.  Is this not cool?  (Laughter and applause.)  This is just so very cool.  And understand it’s not just cool for all of you.  I mean, this house has been abuzz with this event.  I think this is one of the best events that we’ve ever had here — our very first ever Kids’ State Dinner.  So, so awesome.

And I want to start by thanking all of the staff, everyone who helped put together this gorgeous room, the tablecloths, the chairs.  This stuff isn’t normally here.  They brought this in for you.  Did you notice the centerpieces on the table?  Everything was thought out to the nth of detail; down to the little drink classes and your programs.  And it’s just so wonderful, so I want to thank everyone who put so much time and effort into making this day special.

Again, I want to thank Marshall for that very sweet introduction.  He is an outstanding role model, truly, for kids in this country.  And we are so proud of him, we’re so proud of his family, because, again, you often can’t do this alone.  You need some kind of support for young people to get on the right track.  So we’re just grateful that he is now one of those leaders, has written a book and is going to do some magnificent stuff in the future.  So congratulations, Marshall.  (Applause.)

And, of course, I want to thank Epicurious for their tremendously generous support of this event.  Through their efforts to make today possible, they’ve inspired kids across this country to learn about healthy eating and to get in the kitchen and start cooking.  Right?  For how many people was this was the first cooking you’ve done?  You guys are old hands, though.  (Laughter.)  You guys are always in the kitchen.  You are going to inspire some kids to get in the kitchen, just understand that.

This is exactly the kind of leadership that we need to give all of our kids the healthy futures they deserve.  So I want to thank Tanya as well as the folks from the Departments of Education and Agriculture, too, as well — we’ve got representatives here — for working so incredibly hard to make today such a success.

And, of course, we’ve got some special guests coming up.  I want to thank them in advance.  My guys of the group Big Time Rush — they’re coming out to perform.  They are incredible.  They always come through.  They’re awesome.  They are energetic.  They’re healthy.  And they made it a special point to be here to entertain.  So let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)

And I have to acknowledge all of the parents, and I know we have grandparents, too, as well, for joining us today.  Thank you all for teaching your kids about healthy eating and nurturing that passion for cooking.  And I want to thank you for the patience that you all have shown.  I’m sure that there are some wrecked kitchens in this room.  (Laughter.)  Sticky things, lots of stuff all over every place.  Thank you for being patient and giving your children that sense of possibility to be able to do anything, even compete to win a recipe contest to be here at the White House.  So let’s give our parents and grandparents a round of applause.  (Applause.)

And finally, to our 54 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners — congratulations.  (Applause.)  Look what you’ve inspired!  Just look around the room.  Look — just look around the room.  This is all for you.  Look at all — reporters from everywhere.  They’re just everywhere.  (Laughter.)  They never show up like this for stuff that we do.  (Laughter.)  This is the hottest ticket at the White House, right here, because of all of you.

And I am so proud of you, we are all so proud of you.  The President of the United States is so proud of you.  It’s so cool.  (Laughter.)  So thank you, guys.  Well done.  Well done.  And that’s why I wanted to invite you all here — because you’re special.  You’ve done some special stuff.  And I’m so impressed — just like Marshall said — amazing, amazing stuff you did.

Believe it or not, more than 1,200 kids submitted recipes for this challenge — 1,200.  It’s a big competition.  Yes, look, oh my God, you didn’t know.  (Laughter.)  It was a true competition.  What did you think, we just picked you?  (Laughter.)  No, no you had to work for this.  1,200 submissions.  And when it got to the final round, our judges spent hours tasting the dishes.  So it wasn’t just what it sounded like — they actually tasted each and every one of these dishes.  I know, Sam, you did a little tasting.

MR. KASS:  I did a lot of tasting.  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  A lot of tasting.  That’s a lot of hard work, eating 1,200 submissions’ worth of food.  (Laughter.)

And they spent hours trying to decide which ones were the healthiest and the tastiest and the most fun to cook and eat.  And it wasn’t easy to choose one winner from every single state.  You were the winner in your state — the whole state.  You guys won!  Cool!  (Laughter.)

But you’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right?  And that’s really saying something.  You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients; dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good, too.  See?  It can happen — healthy and tasty at the same time.

And you all were so creative — here are some of the recipes — Kickin’ Chicken Salad.  Power Pesto Pasta.  Miss Kitty’s Egg Salad Sensation.  (Laughter.)  Michael Lakind from Texas — Michael is here — he created his Secret Service Super Salad.  (Laughter.)  And Michael came up with the name because he is interested in joining the Secret Service one day, so I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time Michael will make his trip to the White House.  Michael, where are you?  Did you finally meet one of the agents?

MR. LAKIND:  Yes.

MRS. OBAMA:  Okay.  (Laughter.)  That’s good.

And then there was Aaron Beckman from Nebraska — came up with the Apple Alien, a dish that involves fruit meteors and veggie asteroids.  (Laughter.)  Aaron, where are?  There you go, Aaron.  Aaron — it’s meteors and aliens and stuff — very scary, but healthy.  (Laughter.)

And Betsy DaSilva from Connecticut submitted a recipe for a Heavenly Lunch Wrap.  Where are you, Betsy?  Here, stand up, sweetie, might as well.  Betsy — she says — (applause) — “whenever I eat this food, I know that I’ve been blessed with the energy to focus more at school.”  See, there?  (Laughter.)  Thank you, sweetie.

More than anything else, truly — you can sit down, babe, I’ve embarrassed you enough — (laughter) — that’s what this challenge is really all about.  And that’s what Let’s Move is all about, that’s one of the reasons why I started it.  It’s all about all of us coming together to make sure that all of you kids and kids like you across the country have everything you need to learn and grow and lead happy, healthy lives.

It’s about parents making choices for their kids — choices that work with their families, schedules, budgets and tastes, because there is no one-size-fits-all here; as parents we know what works for one kid in one household doesn’t work for the other kid in the same household.  So we’ve got to be flexible.

It’s about companies like Epicurious doing their part to promote healthy eating.  And it’s about kids like all of you doing your part to eat well and get active, which is an important part.  We never want to underestimate the importance of getting up and moving.

So stay active.  Get involved in cooking delicious, good stuff — dishes like the ones we’re going to try today.  And on the menu today, we’re going to have some of those tasty, delightful treats.  We’re going to try some of those.  That’s going to be our lunch.

But before we get to the business of eating, I thought that I would introduce two very special people here.  Since we are in a room full of chefs, I thought that you would love to meet the two chefs, main chefs in our lives — Executive Chef Cris Comerford, and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.  (Applause.)  So you’ll be happy to know that you had some of the top chefs in this country working to prepare your recipes.  They’ve been slaving for hours.  I would have helped you, but I was getting my makeup done.  (Laughter.)

But Cris and Bill and our whole crew, they played such a huge part in Let’s Move.  They help with the garden.  They lead efforts in the garden.  All of our chefs, all of our staff, they are so bought into you guys.  And you all give us that kind of energy.  Just know that — you guys inspire us here at the White House to keep doing what we need to do to keep this message at the forefront.

And I just want to thank Bill and Cris for being so terrific, and for working so hard to make this lunch such a success.  And with that, I think we can start eating.  How about that?  All right, let’s eat.  (Applause.)

END
12:00 P.M. EDT

Remarks by the First Lady at Kids’ State Dinner

East Room

11:49 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, that was really sweet, it really was.  Marshall, we’re so proud of you.  We’re so very proud of you and your mom, who actually has some serious guns going on, too.  (Laughter.)  People talk about my arms, but I felt them.  They’re not — (laughter) — she’s no slouch.

But I want to welcome everyone to the White House.  Is this not cool?  (Laughter and applause.)  This is just so very cool.  And understand it’s not just cool for all of you.  I mean, this house has been abuzz with this event.  I think this is one of the best events that we’ve ever had here — our very first ever Kids’ State Dinner.  So, so awesome.

And I want to start by thanking all of the staff, everyone who helped put together this gorgeous room, the tablecloths, the chairs.  This stuff isn’t normally here.  They brought this in for you.  Did you notice the centerpieces on the table?  Everything was thought out to the nth of detail; down to the little drink classes and your programs.  And it’s just so wonderful, so I want to thank everyone who put so much time and effort into making this day special.

Again, I want to thank Marshall for that very sweet introduction.  He is an outstanding role model, truly, for kids in this country.  And we are so proud of him, we’re so proud of his family, because, again, you often can’t do this alone.  You need some kind of support for young people to get on the right track.  So we’re just grateful that he is now one of those leaders, has written a book and is going to do some magnificent stuff in the future.  So congratulations, Marshall.  (Applause.)

And, of course, I want to thank Epicurious for their tremendously generous support of this event.  Through their efforts to make today possible, they’ve inspired kids across this country to learn about healthy eating and to get in the kitchen and start cooking.  Right?  For how many people was this was the first cooking you’ve done?  You guys are old hands, though.  (Laughter.)  You guys are always in the kitchen.  You are going to inspire some kids to get in the kitchen, just understand that.

This is exactly the kind of leadership that we need to give all of our kids the healthy futures they deserve.  So I want to thank Tanya as well as the folks from the Departments of Education and Agriculture, too, as well — we’ve got representatives here — for working so incredibly hard to make today such a success.

And, of course, we’ve got some special guests coming up.  I want to thank them in advance.  My guys of the group Big Time Rush — they’re coming out to perform.  They are incredible.  They always come through.  They’re awesome.  They are energetic.  They’re healthy.  And they made it a special point to be here to entertain.  So let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)

And I have to acknowledge all of the parents, and I know we have grandparents, too, as well, for joining us today.  Thank you all for teaching your kids about healthy eating and nurturing that passion for cooking.  And I want to thank you for the patience that you all have shown.  I’m sure that there are some wrecked kitchens in this room.  (Laughter.)  Sticky things, lots of stuff all over every place.  Thank you for being patient and giving your children that sense of possibility to be able to do anything, even compete to win a recipe contest to be here at the White House.  So let’s give our parents and grandparents a round of applause.  (Applause.)

And finally, to our 54 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners — congratulations.  (Applause.)  Look what you’ve inspired!  Just look around the room.  Look — just look around the room.  This is all for you.  Look at all — reporters from everywhere.  They’re just everywhere.  (Laughter.)  They never show up like this for stuff that we do.  (Laughter.)  This is the hottest ticket at the White House, right here, because of all of you.

And I am so proud of you, we are all so proud of you.  The President of the United States is so proud of you.  It’s so cool.  (Laughter.)  So thank you, guys.  Well done.  Well done.  And that’s why I wanted to invite you all here — because you’re special.  You’ve done some special stuff.  And I’m so impressed — just like Marshall said — amazing, amazing stuff you did.

Believe it or not, more than 1,200 kids submitted recipes for this challenge — 1,200.  It’s a big competition.  Yes, look, oh my God, you didn’t know.  (Laughter.)  It was a true competition.  What did you think, we just picked you?  (Laughter.)  No, no you had to work for this.  1,200 submissions.  And when it got to the final round, our judges spent hours tasting the dishes.  So it wasn’t just what it sounded like — they actually tasted each and every one of these dishes.  I know, Sam, you did a little tasting.

MR. KASS:  I did a lot of tasting.  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  A lot of tasting.  That’s a lot of hard work, eating 1,200 submissions’ worth of food.  (Laughter.)

And they spent hours trying to decide which ones were the healthiest and the tastiest and the most fun to cook and eat.  And it wasn’t easy to choose one winner from every single state.  You were the winner in your state — the whole state.  You guys won!  Cool!  (Laughter.)

But you’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right?  And that’s really saying something.  You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients; dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good, too.  See?  It can happen — healthy and tasty at the same time.

And you all were so creative — here are some of the recipes — Kickin’ Chicken Salad.  Power Pesto Pasta.  Miss Kitty’s Egg Salad Sensation.  (Laughter.)  Michael Lakind from Texas — Michael is here — he created his Secret Service Super Salad.  (Laughter.)  And Michael came up with the name because he is interested in joining the Secret Service one day, so I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time Michael will make his trip to the White House.  Michael, where are you?  Did you finally meet one of the agents?

MR. LAKIND:  Yes.

MRS. OBAMA:  Okay.  (Laughter.)  That’s good.

And then there was Aaron Beckman from Nebraska — came up with the Apple Alien, a dish that involves fruit meteors and veggie asteroids.  (Laughter.)  Aaron, where are?  There you go, Aaron.  Aaron — it’s meteors and aliens and stuff — very scary, but healthy.  (Laughter.)

And Betsy DaSilva from Connecticut submitted a recipe for a Heavenly Lunch Wrap.  Where are you, Betsy?  Here, stand up, sweetie, might as well.  Betsy — she says — (applause) — “whenever I eat this food, I know that I’ve been blessed with the energy to focus more at school.”  See, there?  (Laughter.)  Thank you, sweetie.

More than anything else, truly — you can sit down, babe, I’ve embarrassed you enough — (laughter) — that’s what this challenge is really all about.  And that’s what Let’s Move is all about, that’s one of the reasons why I started it.  It’s all about all of us coming together to make sure that all of you kids and kids like you across the country have everything you need to learn and grow and lead happy, healthy lives.

It’s about parents making choices for their kids — choices that work with their families, schedules, budgets and tastes, because there is no one-size-fits-all here; as parents we know what works for one kid in one household doesn’t work for the other kid in the same household.  So we’ve got to be flexible.

It’s about companies like Epicurious doing their part to promote healthy eating.  And it’s about kids like all of you doing your part to eat well and get active, which is an important part.  We never want to underestimate the importance of getting up and moving.

So stay active.  Get involved in cooking delicious, good stuff — dishes like the ones we’re going to try today.  And on the menu today, we’re going to have some of those tasty, delightful treats.  We’re going to try some of those.  That’s going to be our lunch.

But before we get to the business of eating, I thought that I would introduce two very special people here.  Since we are in a room full of chefs, I thought that you would love to meet the two chefs, main chefs in our lives — Executive Chef Cris Comerford, and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.  (Applause.)  So you’ll be happy to know that you had some of the top chefs in this country working to prepare your recipes.  They’ve been slaving for hours.  I would have helped you, but I was getting my makeup done.  (Laughter.)

But Cris and Bill and our whole crew, they played such a huge part in Let’s Move.  They help with the garden.  They lead efforts in the garden.  All of our chefs, all of our staff, they are so bought into you guys.  And you all give us that kind of energy.  Just know that — you guys inspire us here at the White House to keep doing what we need to do to keep this message at the forefront.

And I just want to thank Bill and Cris for being so terrific, and for working so hard to make this lunch such a success.  And with that, I think we can start eating.  How about that?  All right, let’s eat.  (Applause.)

END
12:00 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Congratulating the 2011 Major League Soccer Cup Championship the LA Galaxy at the White House — President Obama Teases Star Player David Beckham

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Congratulates the LA Galaxy

Source: WH, 5-15-12
President Barack Obama Welcomes Major League Soccer Champions, the LA Galaxy
President Barack Obama welcomes Major League Soccer champions, the LA Galaxy, to honor their 2011 season and their MLS Cup victory, to the East Room of the White House, May 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama welcomed the LA Galaxy to the White House this afternoon to congratulate the team on its 2011 Major League Soccer Cup Championship.

The team, which has three of soccer’s biggest stars on its roster– David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane–won a tough championship match after going undefeated at home all season long.

“So everyone who’s a part of this club — the staff, the players, the fans back in L.A. — together you pulled off one of the toughest feats in team sports:  You lived up to the hype.  You combined star power, hard work; it paid off,” President Obama said.

After the ceremony in the East Room, the team took questions from young soccer players as part of a Let’s Move! event encouraging kids to take up sports as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President Honoring the 2011 MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy

East Room

2:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  And congratulations to the L.A. Galaxy on your third MLS Cup.  (Applause.)  Number three.

Before we start, I want to acknowledge an L.A. native and my outstanding Secretary of Labor — I don’t know how her game is, but she’s a fan.  Hilda Solis is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got some proud members of the California delegation, the House of Representatives who are here.  We’re thrilled to have them.

I’m not going to flatter myself by assuming these cameras are for me.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank the Galaxy for letting me share in the spotlight.  (Laughter.)  The truth is, in America, most professional soccer players have the luxury of being able to walk around without being recognized.  But not these guys.  This is the Miami Heat of soccer.  (Laughter.)  And together, they represent one of the most talented lineups that MLS has ever seen.

You’ve got Robbie Keane, all-time leading scorer of the Irish national team.  (Applause.)  Cousin of mine.  (Laughter.)  Robbie arrived halfway through last season, scored his first goal in the first 21 minutes of his first game.  His teammates were so happy to have him that they filled his locker with what they called the “pleasures of Ireland” — Guinness, Bailey’s, and Irish Spring.  (Laughter.)  Hopefully Robbie has broadened their horizons a little bit since then.

We also have a young up-and-comer on the team, a guy named David Beckham.  (Laughter.)  I have to say I gave David a hard time — I said half his teammates could be his kids.  (Laughter.) We’re getting old, David.  Although you’re holding up better than me.  (Laughter.)

Last year, at the age of 36, David had his best year in MLS, leading the team with 15 assists.  He did it despite fracturing his spine halfway through the season, injuring his hamstring the week before the championship game.  He is tough.  In fact, it is a rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.  (Laughter.)  David Beckham is that man.  (Laughter.)

And then there’s the captain, Landon Donovan — (applause)  — who has done more for American soccer than just about anybody. Landon’s eye for the net, his will to win are legendary, and once again, he stepped up when his teammates needed him most.

After going undefeated at home last season, the Galaxy was struggling in the cold and rainy championship match.  But then, in the 72nd minute, David headed the ball to Robbie, who made a perfect pass to Landon, who chipped in the game-winner.  And that set off an all-night celebration in L.A. — although my understanding is that David had to get up for carpool duty at 8 a.m. — (laughter) — so his day was ending a little early.

So the big names came through in the clutch, but they didn’t do it alone.  For a group with so much firepower, this team shone on defense, recording 17 shutouts.  They were led by two local guys — Omar Gonzalez — give it up — (applause) — and      A.J. DeLaGarza — (applause) — who won a national championship at Maryland.  Now they’ve got another title to their resumes.

And of course a lot of credit goes to Coach Bruce Arena.  He took this team from worst to first in just four years.  And I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Bruce.  When I called to congratulate him on winning the Cup, the team was in Indonesia; it was in the middle of the night.  Thank you for taking my call and acting like you actually wanted to talk to me. (Laughter.)

So everyone who’s a part of this club — the staff, the players, the fans back in L.A. — together you pulled off one of the toughest feats in team sports:  You lived up to the hype.  You combined star power, hard work; it paid off.  And I also want to thank you for doing a little Q&A with some of the younger players after we’re done.  As a soccer dad, I know you’ve inspired a lot of kids.  And today you’re giving them an experience that they will never forget.

So, again, give a big round of applause to the L.A. Galaxy.  (Applause.)  Congratulations.  Best of luck this season.  (Applause.)

END
2:20 P.M. EDT

Remarks by the First Lady at a Let’s Move! Event with MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy

State Dining Room

3:12 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Hey, again, guys.  I got to hang out with the kids earlier.  We got quick pictures, but we are excited to have you guys here at the White House.  We’re in the State Room.  The State Dining Room is where we greet special official guests, and you guys count as our special official guests.  We’re excited to have you here.

I want to start by thanking all of you kids for joining us here at the White House today.  Tell me — yell out — tell me the organizations you’re representing — somebody?  See, you guys are from all over the place — some here, some from all over the country, right?

Well, thanks for coming and visiting us.  I also want to thank the members of the L.A. Galaxy soccer team for taking the time to come and answer some questions, and share some wisdom and some advice for all of you.  So let’s give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

So as soccer players, you know who these guys are, don’t you?

CHILDREN:  Yes.

MRS. OBAMA:  They’re pretty cool, right?  They are some of the best soccer players in the entire country and the entire world.  Amazing, huh?  And they’re here!  They’re right there, they’re right there.

And I want to congratulate them — join in with my husband in congratulating them on winning the third MLS Cup.  Very cool, very cool.

But one of the things I want you guys to remember — all the kids here to remember, is that these stars were not born superstar athletes.  They weren’t superstar soccer players from the beginning.  In fact, many of them started out just like many of you — playing on a team at school, or just kicking a ball around on the playground with their friends.  But they stuck with it.  And I tell this to my girls all the time.  I mean, you get to the point when there are things that you enjoy, they get to the point where they start getting hard — that’s when you know you’re getting good, and you have to stick through it even when it starts getting hard.

For some of you, soccer has always been fun, will always be fun, but sometimes, when you start growing, you get to the point where you really have to work hard.  Well, they all hit that wall, and they stuck with it.  They practice for hours every day doing all their drills and scrimmages, doing everything that their coaches and mentors told them to do.  And that’s how they got to be national champions.  But remember, they didn’t do all of this just because they wanted to win their games.  Winning is great, right?  We all know how to win.  Winning is the easiest thing in the world to do.  But what is the toughest thing?  Is learning how to lose, right?

So they didn’t do it just to win.  They didn’t do it because they wanted to grow up to be famous.  They played soccer because they love the sport.  And they played because it was challenging and fun, and because it made they feel strong and healthy.  And that’s what sports like soccer are all about.  And they’re learning about new skills.  They’re learning how to compete.  They’re learning how to lose gracefully, how to win with dignity.  All of that stuff is important with sports.

And that’s one of the reasons why when the weather is nice — because it was raining; we were supposed to be outside, but they said there were would be thunderstorms.  We’re usually outside.  We’ve been hosting all kinds of fitness activities and clinics on the South Lawn.  Have some of you guys participated in those?  Nobody has had — I thought — we’ve had — (laughter) — yes, we’ve had some fun on the South Lawn.  We were supposed out there today, but because they projected thunderstorms, we thought we wouldn’t have you out there getting struck by lightning.  That wouldn’t look good.  (Laughter.)  So we brought you inside.

But we’ve been hosting these clinics on the South Lawn, which is our backyard here at the White House, because we want to show kids just like you that there are all kinds of ways to be active, and that being active is also a whole lot of fun.  So a lot of what we do while there are soccer drills and things like that going on, we’re doing a lot of playing around and laughing, and realizing that that’s what being healthy is about.  It’s not always work; most of the time it’s a lot of fun.

And that’s also why in connection with the Olympic and Paralympic Games that are coming up — you guys know about that?  You know that we’re going to be in London competing with teams all across the world.  You know that?  And I’m going to be leading the delegation.  I’m not playing a sport or anything — (laughter) — I am not an Olympian.  But I get to lead the delegation that represents the United States.

But as part of the Olympic Games, the U.S. Soccer Federation has made a really important commitment that I got to announce yesterday.  They’re going to be working to help increase opportunities for kids to get involved in a whole variety of sports, especially soccer.  Soccer has really stepped up.

They’re going to be hosting more clinics and more after-school programs in cities all across the country so that more kids like you get exposure to opportunities that maybe normally you wouldn’t, or it gives you even a little more excitement to get even more committed into your sport.

Because the Federation also knows and these guys up here know that being active and learning new skills doesn’t just help you become a better soccer player or a better athlete.  It gives you the energy that you need to keep you from getting sick, to do well in school, to be able to focus on your bigger dreams — because there is life after soccer.  There is something more important than sports, and that’s becoming a well-rounded person.

And being healthy and eating the right foods, and staying active is a part of that.  And that’s what everybody here is trying to promote.  And that’s why I’m so pleased with our U.S. Olympic Federation and all the teams that have made a commitment to invest in kids like you across the country.

So that’s one of the reasons why we’re here.  But we’re also here because this team, these guys, they wanted to talk to you.  They’re here because they were getting congratulations from the President, but they also said they wanted to talk to kids just like you.  And I’m really pleased that you guys are so interested in taking the time not just to play the game but to spend time with young people, talking to them about a whole range of things.  So they are here for you.

And I’m going to leave and let them step up.  But feel free to ask them any kind of questions.  And I’ve already talked to you all — you all are not shy.  None of them are.  Right?  So speak up, ask questions.  Ask about anything you have on your mind.  Don’t be nervous.  You’re at home.  And have fun, okay?  And keep playing hard, working hard, doing well in school, and eat your vegetables.  (Laughter.)  All right?

All right, I’m going to get out of here and let these guys take over.  Thanks so much.  (Applause.)

END
3:19 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 13, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at Mini-Olympic Games Event — A Call to Action: Let’s Move!

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

A Call to Action: Let’s Move!

Source: WH, 3-13-12

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a mini-Olympics event at American University

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during an event at American University in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2012. Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, joined the First Lady, Olympic and Paralympic athletes including Lisa Leslie, and Washington, D.C., area children in a mini-Olympics competition to celebrate the 2012 London Summer Olympics and the “Let’s Move!” initiative. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Ed note: Former WNBA player and four-time Olympic champion Lisa Leslie joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Washington, D.C., area children in a mini-Olympics competition to celebrate the 2012 London Summer Olympics and the “Let’s Move!” initiative. The First Lady will lead the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremonies of the Games.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at Mini-Olympic Games Event

American University
Washington, D.C.

4:57 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, you guys can have a seat. You’ve done well. You’ve done well. Have you guys had fun today?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: Was this not — very cool. This was very cool, wasn’t it?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: I mean, let’s say thank you to everyone who helped organize this thing. Let’s give them all a round of applause. (Applause.) It looks like it was so much fun.

But I want to start, first of all, by thanking Lisa for that very kind introduction. She’s one of my heroes, I love her to death. Don’t we love Lisa?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: She is so awesome. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I want her autograph.

MRS. OBAMA: We’re going to get autographs. We’ll get that done. We’ll get that done. But we have to say thank you to a few more people. We have a couple of guests.

Mrs. Marjorie Susman, and Lady Susan Westmacott are here. They are the ambassadors for our great countries, and they’re visiting us. (Applause.) They’re here somewhere. There they are. There they are.

And of course, we have to thank all of our wonderful Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have joined us today who helped you guys out. Did you learn something from them?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, focus, because these people have put in some time and made some sacrifices, and they’re great role models to all of you, right?

And I want to join in in also welcoming our very special guest, Mrs. Samantha Cameron — we already said hello today, but Mrs. Cameron is here. She came here with her husband from the United Kingdom. Her husband is Prime Minister David Cameron. So he’s the Prime Minister there, and they’re here on an official visit.

And what we hope to do is just remember this special relationship our two countries have. They hosted us a little while ago. We had a wonderful time when the President and I got to visit London last year as guests of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as well as the Camerons. So we are very pleased that they’re both back here in Washington with us today. So this is a really special day.

So we are very excited to have her here with us today, and I’m particularly excited that the Camerons are visiting our country this week because, as it turns out, I will be visiting their country this summer. Because today, I’m pleased to announce that I will have the honor of leading the presidential delegation to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer. (Applause.) And let me tell you, I am thrilled to do it. I wasn’t sure whether they were going to let me do it, but I get to do it and I’m very excited. And I know that all of you are looking forward to the Games this summer, aren’t you?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: I mean, this is why we’re here today. Because the true spirit of the Games isn’t confined to just the two weeks of competition in the summer. It’s not just about who wins the Gold, right? You’ve heard that before. It’s not just about who wins the medals, right?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Or which country wins the most medals. That’s not what the Olympics are about. Instead, the Olympic Games are about commitment, right? It’s about determination, and, most importantly, it’s about teamwork — teamwork, right?

The Games are about finding our inner strength. Do you know what I mean by inner strength? It’s like, what’s deep down inside that you want to do for yourself, right? And all of these athletes have done it by pushing ourselves to be the very best that we can at something that we feel deeply about, right? And that’s sports in this case, but that can be anything. But it’s about digging down deep and finding the thing that makes you want to do more.

And just to give an example of some of the athletes we have here today, do you know that to prepare for the Olympic Games, Dominique Dawes — Dominique, make sure they know who you are. Dominique, she was in the gym almost 40 hours a week practicing. I mean, can you imagine — 40 hours a week? And that’s in addition to going to school, right? Getting her homework done, and anything else she had to do. She was in the gym. That’s how much dedication it takes.

And Lisa Leslie was out on the basketball court practicing every night, because she knew it wasn’t just good enough to be tall, right? We like being tall, but that’s not enough. You’ve got to have some skills to go with that height, and you’ve got to practice, right?

And then there’s Kortney Clemons, this guy right here. In 2005 — listen to this, guys — Kortney was serving our country as a combat medic in Iraq. He was fighting in the war when a bomb exploded nearby him, right? A bomb went off. And he was 24 years old at the time, and he had a very young daughter; he was the father of a little girl. But then he lost his leg. All of a sudden, his leg is gone.

Now, he didn’t let that stop him from reaching new goals, see? And that’s the beauty, right? He lost his leg and he thought, what more can I do with one leg? So he set a new goal for himself. So he’s always been a pretty good athlete — you can tell. He’s got that athlete look in his eye. And so during his rehabilitation, he learned about the Paralympics, and he decided he wanted to participate.

At first, he tried weightlifting, because he wanted to get buff — I’m sure he was trying to impress somebody, right? (Laughter.) But soon, he found out that he really enjoyed running. He really loved the wind in his face when he was moving fast. How many people feel that when they’re moving fast? Yes, yes, there’s nothing like moving fast. Well, that’s how he felt. So he kept working.

And less than two years after the explosion — two years afterwards — he became a national champion sprinter. Can you — dang, yes. You want to say that again?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Dang!

MRS. OBAMA: He is the first Iraq veteran to qualify for the national Paralympic team. And he is an inspiration to people around the world. Do you understand that? Around the world. Let’s give Kortney a round of applause. (Applause.)

I could go on, because everyone behind me has a similarly powerful story, okay? Everyone does. But these are the stories of triumph, of perseverance and sheer willpower that lie behind every Olympian and every Paralympian. And that’s why these Games are important, you guys.

So when you watch these Games — and I hope you all do, right? There are a lot of lessons to learn — not just who wins and loses. The stories behind these athletes should give us all reason to get up and move, right? And that’s what’s so beautiful about these Games.

They don’t just allow us to marvel at the skills and the achievements of the world’s greatest athletes. They help us all dream bigger, right? I mean, you can just imagine what you can do, right kids? These Games are about inspiring you guys to move.

And that’s what I want you all to do with Let’s Move. You guys know Let’s Move is about me ensuring that young people like you guys get up and get moving. And we want to use these Games as a way to jumpstart people into moving, right? And as Lisa said, moving isn’t just being a part of a sport. Moving can be dancing in the living room, it can be riding your bike, it can be walking your dog.

But if all these athletes can do what they do, then surely you guys can get moving and help the people in your lives get moving, right? So that’s going to be one of our very important goals with the Olympic Games, is using this as a way for us to be inspired to be as healthy as we can all of the time. Do you think we can do that?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: So I’m going to need your help. You guys are going to get some medals, but I need you to be our ambassadors. Do you know what an ambassador is? I need you to send the word out to people in your lives and in your community about how important it is to stay active and healthy. Will you guys help?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Well, if I have that promise, then I think we can get on with the next part of the ceremony, because I think we’ve got some medals to hand out, right?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: Yes! (Applause.) Medals to hand out.

So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Kortney, who’s going to help with the medal ceremony. Congratulations to you guys. We are so proud of you. Keep up the good work, okay? Give yourselves a round of applause.

END
5:06 P.M. EDT

Full Text February 13, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s CNN Op-ed for Let’s Move! 2nd Anniversary “Changing the Conversation on Healthy Eating”

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Michelle Obama: Changing the Conversation on Healthy Eating

Source: WH, 2-13-12

First Lady Michelle Obama Olive Garden Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama holds a roundtable dinner discussion at an Olive Garden restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 9, 2012. Mrs. Obama met with the parents to hear their ideas on how Let’s Move! can continue to support families across the country. In September 2011, Darden, the world’s largest full service restaurant company which owns Olive Garden, made a commitment to improve their kids menus by offering a fruit or vegetable and low-fat milk with every meal, as well as reduce total calories and sodium across their menus. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Back when we first launched Let’s Move! — a nationwide initiative to end our childhood obesity epidemic — in the back of my mind, I wondered whether it was really possible to make a difference.

I knew how serious this problem is. Nearly one in three of our children are overweight or obese, at risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer that cost our economy billions of dollars each year to treat.

I also knew the conventional wisdom on this issue. There’s the assumption that kids don’t like healthy food, so why try to feed it to them? There’s the belief that healthy food doesn’t sell as well, so companies will never change the products they offer. And there’s the sense that this problem is so big and entrenched that no matter what we do, we’ll never be able to solve it.

But over the past two years, we have seen a new conversation in this country about how we live and eat and how that affects the health and well-being of our kids. Since we launched Let’s Move!, people from every corner of this country who care about our children’s futures have stepped up and proved the conventional wisdom wrong.

Read the entire op-ed from the First Lady at CNN.com

More from the Let’s Move tour:
Michelle Obama: If You Are Doing Great Work, Tell Me About It
Michelle Obama Judges “Top Chef”
On the Road with Let’s Move
Watch: Behind the Scenes on the Let’s Move Tour
Two Years of Healthy Changes for Our Nation’s Kids
View a slideshow from the tour

Full Text February 9-11, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Second Anniversary Road Tour

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Lady Michelle Obama Is on the Road with Let’s Move

Source: WH, 2-9-12


First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Let's Move Day in Iowa
First Lady Michelle Obama dances with students at the event highlighting Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative during her tour celebrating the second anniversary of Let’s Move!, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Ed note: this has been cross-posted from Let’s Move!

To celebrate the second anniversary of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama is on a three day, four state tour, visiting people across the country whose lives have been impacted by her signature initiative.

First stop was Des Moines, Iowa where more than 14,000 students gathered to join Governor Terry Branstad as he declared February 9, 2012  Let’s Move! Day in Iowa. The energy in the Wells Fargo Arena was electric, as Olympians Michelle Kwan and Shawn Johnson talked to the crowd of students waving “Let’s Get Moving” signs about how eating healthy had helped them achieve their dreams.

Mrs. Obama said she she was in Iowa to celebrate the state’s bold ambitions:

We could have had this party anywhere in the country, right? We could have gone anywhere, but there is a reason why we wanted to come here to Iowa to be with all of you. And that’s because I am so proud of what you all are doing to make Iowa the healthiest state in this country by 2016.

I am proud that you guys are starting community gardens, that you’re eating your fruits and vegetables.  I’m proud that you guys are walking to school instead of taking the bus.  I’m proud that you’re working hard to get that 60 minutes of activity a day, every day.  I’m also proud of your government, and businesses like Hy-Vee, and community leaders across the state who are all coming together to help you guys get healthy, to keep moving.

This is exactly what “Let’s Move” is all about.  We want every single state in this country to do exactly what Iowa is doing.

Before the whole audience joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to Let’s Move!, the First Lady led the crowd in dancing  the “Interlude” — which originated at the University of Northern Iowa.

Next stop for the Let’s Move! team was the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas where Mrs. Obama announced a groundbreaking commitment being made by the Department of Defense to secure the health of our troops and their families: For the first time in 20 years, the DOD is updating their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats,and  low-fat dairy products with every meal.

The First Lady praised the military leadership for being role models in the fight to improve our nation’s health:

And I want to emphasize that in doing so, you’re not just sending a powerful message throughout the military community.  You’re sending a message to our entire country.  And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be here, because whenever our men and women in uniform step forward, America takes notice.  We are all inspired by your courage.  We are all inspired by your service and your sacrifice.

So when you make healthy eating a priority in your lives, the rest of us are more likely to make it a priority in our lives.

Mrs. Obama ended her day at an Olive Garden in Fort Worth, Texas, where she met with local parents who shared their concerns about raising healthy children as they sampled some of the healthy menu options from the popular chain, whose parent company, Darden Restaurants, has made a commitment to reduce calories and sodium in their meals and to provide healthier options in their kids’ menus.

First Lady Michelle Obama at an Olive Garden restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas (February 9, 2012)

First Lady Michelle Obama holds a roundtable dinner discussion at an Olive Garden restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 9, 2012, during a tour celebrating the second anniversary of Let’s Move!. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

The Let’s Move! birthday tour continues tomorrow morning in Dallas, with a Chef’s Move to Schools event with local students.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

To celebrate the second anniversary of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama is on a three-day, four-state tour.

First Lady Michelle Obama dances with students in in Des Moines, Iowa
First Lady Michelle Obama dances with students in in Des Moines, Iowa, White House Photo, Sonya N. Hebert, 2/9/12

Full Text February 9, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Interview with Access Hollywood on “Let’s Move” Anniversary & Valentine’s Day with the President

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

First Lady Michelle Obama Talks Keeping Malia & Sasha On ‘Let’s Move!’ Campaign, Valentine’s Day With President

Source: Access Hollywood, 2-9-12

The First Lady Michelle Obama with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, Iowa, February 9, 2012
The First Lady Michelle Obama with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, Iowa, February 9, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama is continuing to campaign for “Let’s Move!,” her initiative to help stop childhood obesity, and on Thursday, in a brand new sit-down interview, she told Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, that campaign starts right at home.

When Bush asked if Malia, 13, and Sasha Obama, 10, are allowed to call up the White House kitchen with an order of burger and fries on occasion, Mrs. Obama said she and President Barack Obama have set limits on the youngsters.

“No, absolutely not,” Mrs. Obama told Bush. “They couldn’t do that at home when we lived in Chicago. They can’t pick up the phone and order anything. They’re kids. That’s the point that I make to them: You live in the White House, but you’re a child.

“They have a set menu, they have a set diet that they have,” she continued of her push for healthy eating habits. “They can’t go in the refrigerator and get what they want. They can eat as much fruit and vegetables [as they want], and they can have at that, but not a lot of snacking. So, we set some boundaries.”…READ MORE

For the rest of Mrs. Obama’s answer and more about her ‘Let’s Move!’ campaign, tune into Access Hollywood on Thursday and Friday night. Check your local listings.

Full Text January 25, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Remarks at U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New School Lunch Nutrition Standards Announcement at Parklawn Elementary School

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Healthy Changes on the Menu for School Lunches

Source: WH, 1-25-12

First Lady Michelle Obama has lunch with Parklawn Elementary  School students
First Lady Michelle Obama joins children for lunch at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 25, 2012. Mrs. Obama was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachael Ray for a Let’s Move! event celebrating the school’s food service employees serving healthy meals that meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today introduced new rules that mean America’s school children will soon be eating healthier lunches in the cafeteria.

The new USDA guidelines, which implement important provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, substantially increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on the menu, while reducing saturated fat, trans fats and sodium, and set calorie limits based on the age of children being served. The standards make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home, and that are a key pillar of Let’s Move, the First Lady’s initiative that is focused on improving child nutrition and reducing childhood obesity.

Speaking at the Parklawn elementary school in Alexandria, VA, Mrs Obama praised parents for their contribution to the movement to improve the food served in schools:

When we send our kids to school, we have a right to expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we’re trying to keep from them when they’re at home.  We have a right to expect that the food they get at school is the same kind of food that we want to serve at our own kitchen tables.

After the press conference, the First Lady and Secretary Vilsack joined students for a healthy lunch of turkey tacos, black bean and corn salad and fresh fruit, prepared by celebrity chef Rachael Ray.

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady in School Lunch Standards Announcement

Parklawn Elementary School
Alexandria, Virginia

11:32 A.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you, everyone.  Please, sit, rest.  This is exciting.  It is such a pleasure to be here today.  This is an exciting day.

I want to start by thanking Secretary Vilsack, not just for that very kind introduction but for his outstanding work as Secretary of Agriculture.  He has been just a major proponent on so many issues that are near and dear to me, and we wouldn’t be here without his efforts and the efforts of his entire agency.  So, thank you, sir.

I’d also like to thank Principal Akroyd and Jen Fitzgerald for their terrific work and for hosting us here today at Parklawn Elementary School.  Go, Panthers!  (Laughter.)  I hear you’re the “purring Panthers.”  (Laughter.)  It’s very, very good — very good.  We are so happy to be here and so proud of you all.

And I want to recognize all of the educators, the administrators, the food service workers and the advocates who are here today for everything that you do, every day, on behalf of our kids.  This is a great celebration for us all.

And of course, I want to give a special hello to Rachael Ray, who’s a special guest here.  I know she’s hard at work getting lunch ready, and I am hungry — (laughter) — so I’m looking forward to it.  But she has been a true advocate on this issue for quite some time, and we’re just thrilled that she’s here with us today.

And finally, I want to thank all of the parents who are here today — because, I just want to be clear that we can’t make any mistake about it — this movement to improve the food in our schools is happening in large part because of all of you, the parents.  It’s happening because you all stood up.  It’s happening because you all spoke out and you asked for something better for our kids.

Because, as parents, we all know that if left to their own devices, many of our kids would eat candy for breakfast, they’d follow it up with a few French fries for lunch and cookies and chips for snacks, and then they’d come home for a big chocolate sundae for dinner, right?  (Laughter.)  And we know that it is our responsibility, as adults, to make sure they don’t do that.  So it’s our responsibility to make sure that they get basic nutrition that they need to stay healthy.

And that’s why so many of us try so very hard to prepare decent meals at home, and to limit how much junk food they get at home, and to ensure that they have a reasonably balanced diet.   And when we’re putting forth this kind of effort at home — and many of us are, and it’s difficult to do every single day — it’s always a challenge, particularly with tough economic times and not enough time in the day — but when we’re putting forth these efforts, when we’re doing what we’re supposed to do at home, the last thing we want is to have all these hard efforts, all this hard work undone in the school cafeteria.

When we send our kids to school, we have a right to expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we’re trying to keep from them when they’re at home.  We have a right to expect that the food they get at school is the same kind of food that we want to serve at our own kitchen tables.

And let’s be clear, this isn’t just about our kids’ health. Studies have shown that our kids’ eating habits can actually affect their academic performance as well.  And I’m sure that comes as no surprise to the educators here today.  Anyone who works with kids knows that they need something other than chips and soda in their stomachs if they’re going to focus on math and science, right?  Kids can’t be expected to sit still and concentrate when they’re on a sugar high, or when they’re stuffed with salty, greasy food — or when they’re hungry.

And that brings me to another important point.  For many kids whose families are struggling, school meals can be their main — or only — source of nutrition for the entire day.  So when we serve higher-quality food in our schools, we’re not just fighting childhood obesity; we’re taking the important steps that are needed to fight child hunger as well.

And that’s why so many schools across this country have been working so hard to improve the food that they serve to our kids in school.  In fact, there are many schools that have been meeting these new standards for years, long before this legislation was passed.  Thousands more have made significant improvements, offering their students a whole array of healthy — and tasty, mind you — new options.

For example, right here at Parklawn and in schools throughout this district, you all are doing some wonderful things, serving baked chicken tenders instead of frying them — small things; replacing white rice with brown rice.  You’re offering all kinds of veggie side dishes, everything from succotash to broccoli, exposing kids to a whole array of wonderful tastes and flavors.

And we’re seeing changes like these in schools all across the country, of all sizes — rural, urban and suburban.  And I’m not just talking about schools in well-off areas with plenty of resources.  I’m talking about schools like F.S. Ervin — it’s an elementary school in Pine Hall [sic], Alabama.  Now, Pine Hall [sic] is a little-bitty town, rural town, with a population under 1,000 and an average household income of less than $26,000.  But they have made some important changes to their school menu already — things like replacing canned vegetables with fresh or frozen ones, moving in more whole grains, offering plenty of fresh fruit, and even baking their French fries instead of frying them.  These are small changes.

And plenty of schools like F.S. Ervin are getting creative in this way.  There are schools around the country that are holding taste tests and recipe contests to get kids really involved in the whole change — give kids a competition and they’ll get involved.  There are schools that are partnering with farmers and with chefs in their communities, and that’s making a difference.  They’re making these small, daily changes — simple things like replacing whole milk with skim milk — changes that add up over time and it can make a real difference in the life of our kids.

And again and again, schools are finding that when they actually offer these healthier options, kids aren’t just willing to try them, they actually like them.  That’s the thing, that’s the surprising thing.  I’ve been to so many schools across the country where parents see their kids eating fresh vegetables off the vine, kids they say would never try anything, but that’s the beauty of children — they change.  They change much easier than we do, and when we give them an opportunity to try something new, they embrace it oftentimes, and they come back for more.

So while budgets are tight right now, there are schools across the country that are showing that it doesn’t take a whole lot of money or resources to give our kids the nutrition they deserve.  What it does take, however, is effort.  What it does take is imagination.  What it does take is a commitment to our children’s futures.

So today, I am asking parents and educators and food service workers across this country to embrace this effort on behalf of our children.  Embrace it.  Because we all know that we are some of the best role models for our kids.  We are the first and best role models.  And if kids are like mine, if I’m excited about something, they’re excited about it — right?  If we as adults embrace it, the kids will follow suit.  They’re looking to us to figure out how to make this happen.  So if we get pumped up about this effort, get excited, get creative, the kids will follow suit and they will do it with vigor and vim, and they’ll be out there out front in a way that we would never expect.

So I want to thank you all once again for all that you do every day on behalf of our children.  I’m excited to be here.  This is a great day, a wonderful accomplishment.  And it’s just exciting to be able to highlight the work that’s being done here at Parklawn.

So now, as I mentioned, I’m a little hungry.  (Laughter.)  I understand that I get to hang out with the kids, have a little lunch.  And it’s turkey tacos!  Sounds really good.  So with that, I want to thank you all for being here, and we’re going to have some lunch.

Thank you all.  (Applause.)

END
11:42 A.M. EST

White House Recap October 8-14, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Fights for American Jobs Act Passage, Hosts 1985 Chicago Bears & Tunisian Prime Minister & South Korean President’s State Visit

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: OCTOBER 8-14, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Building Relationships

Source: WH, 10-14-11

This week, the President continued to fight for the proposals in the American Jobs Act, welcomed the 1985 Chicago Bears and the Tunisian Prime Minister, traveled to Pittsburgh and hosted the President of South Korea for a State Visit.

West Wing Week

Download Video: mp4 (195.1MB)

A Strong Bond The President and Mrs.Obama hosted President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea for an official White House State visit. On a rainy Thursday President Lee and his wife arrived at the White House to a crowd of people on the South Lawn. Later that day President Obama and President Lee held a joint press conference to discuss theglobal economy and how to capitalize on the strong U.S.-Korean relationship to create jobs. That evening, the Obamas hosted a State Dinner in honor of President Lee, featuring produce from the White House kitchen garden fall harvest.  On Friday, both leaders travelled to Detroit where they toured General Motors Orion Assembly and gave remarks on the recent Landmark Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Breaking Records  On Thursday the First Lady led 400 local students in a bid to help break the Guinness World Records title for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. National Geographic Kids Magazine “jumped” in on the fun on the South Lawn in support of the First Lady’s Lets Move! Initiative. Figure skater Michelle Kwan and Today show host Al Roker were also on hand.

Fighting for Jobs The morning after the Senate’s failure to pass the American Jobs Act, the president addressed student, business, and cultural leaders at the Forum on Latino Heritage where he talked about his unwavering focus on creating jobs and putting people back to work. “The media will look at last night’s vote and say, well that’s it—let’s move on to the next bill. But I’ve got news for them… not this time. Not with so many American outs of work…we will not take no for an answer.”

Jobs for Law Enforcement Vice President Biden visited Flint, Michigan, a town that has been forced to cut its police force in half due to budget cuts. The Vice President talked with local law enforcement and firefighters about the American Jobs Act and how it would both create jobs and protect the nation’s “most basic obligation” to keep our citizens safe by putting cops and firefighters back to work. “This is a fight for the soul of this country. It’s a fight for the middle class. … It’s about making sure America’s fire departments, police departments continue to be a large part of the American fabric and be able to do their job.”

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