White House Recap February 18-24, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Sings “Sweet Home Chicago” — Speaks at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Groundbreaking Ceremony — Signs the Payroll Tax Extension into Law & Unveils Home-Grown Energy Plan

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: February 18-24, 2012

The Obama White House has had a great week — featuring BB King, the Boeing Dreamliner, a speech about American energy, a payroll tax cut extension, and special musical guest Keb Mo.

West Wing Week

West Wing Week: 2/24/12 or West Wing Week 100!

Source: WH, 2-24-12

It’s hard to believe that when West Wing Week was born, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was still around, American troops were still fighting in Iraq, the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, and nobody knew that President Obama could sing — what a difference 694 days makes. We’ve got a great week for you — featuring BB King, the Boeing Dreamliner, a speech about American energy, a payroll tax cut extension, and special musical guest Keb Mo.

Weekly Wrap Up: “Sweet Home Chicago”

Source: WH, 2-24-12

Your Voice, Your $40: On Wednesday, the President signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends the payroll tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through the end of the year. He credits the Americans who added their voices to the debate by letting their representatives know what $40 means to them—“This got done because of you…You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington.”

President Obama, In Performance: Some huge names in music—Mick Jagger and B.B. King, among others—joined the President and the First Lady for a night of blues on Tuesday as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. By now, we’re no strangers to the President’s impressive pipes, and he certainly held his own against the music legends as he sang a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago.”

New Museum on the Block: Tourists and locals alike appreciate Washington, D.C.’s museums. In 2015, a new one will open its doors—the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President, who was accompanied by the First Lady at the future museum’s ground breaking on Wednesday morning, remarked that, “This museum should inspire us…It should stand as proof that the most important things rarely come quickly or easily. It should remind us that although we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.”

CC2C: Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis hit the road this week for their three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight the integral role community colleges play in developing a flexible, highly-skilled 21st century workforce.

Welcome to Miami: President Obama visited the Sunshine State on Thursday and stopped at the University of Miami to check out their Industrial Assessment Center (IAC)—a smart and important piece of the administration’s “all-of-the-above” approach to domestic energy sources. He also spoke to the Hurricanes about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy, and his blueprint to help us get there.

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Full Text February 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Welcoming Guests to the PBS Taping “In Performance in the White House: Red, White and Blues” & President Obama Sings “Sweet Home Chicago”

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Sings “Sweet Home Chicago”

Source: WH, 2-21-12

President Barack Obama hosts, “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” (February 21, 2012)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host, “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” in celebration of blues music in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an incredible group of performers for a night of blues music as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. After a little encouragement from the legendary B.B. King, the President took the mic from Mick Jagger, and sang a few lines from, “Sweet Home Chicago.”

In welcoming the crowd to the White House, President Obama talked about the origin of the blues:

This is music with humble beginnings — roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved. The blues bore witness to these hard times. And like so many of the men and women who sang them, the blues refused to be limited by the circumstances of their birth.

The music migrated north — from Mississippi Delta to Memphis to my hometown in Chicago.  It helped lay the foundation for rock and roll, and R&B and hip-hop. It inspired artists and audiences around the world. And as tonight’s performers will demonstrate, the blues continue to draw a crowd. Because this music speaks to something universal.  No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.

King and Jagger were joined by Jeff Beck, Trombone Shorty, Keb Mo, and a host of others.

Here’s the full set list:

1. “Let the Good Times Roll” (Ensemble)
2.. “The Thrill Is Gone” (B.B King)
3. “St. James Infirmary” (Trombone Shorty)
4. “Let Me Love You Baby” (Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck)
5. “Brush With The Blues” instrumental (Jeff Beck)
6. “I Can’t Turn You Loose” (Mick Jagger)
7. “Commit A Crime” (Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck)
8. “Miss You” (Mick Jagger, Shemekia Copeland, and Susan Tedeschi,)
9. “Beat Up Guitar” (Shemekia Copeland, Gary Clark, Jr.)
10. “Catfish Blues” (Gary Clark, Jr.)
11. “In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)” (Gary Clark, Jr.)
12. “Henry” ( Keb Mo)
13. “I’d Rather Go Blind” (Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes)
14. “Five Long years” (Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Mick Jagger)
15. “Sweet Home Chicago” (Ensemble)

Other “In Performance” events have honored Motown, country, and a concert celebrating the Hispanic musical heritage.

The entire concert will air on PBS next Monday, February 27.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Watch the Video

President Obama Welcomes Guests to “In Performance in the White House: Red, White and Blues”February 21, 2012 President Obama Welcomes Guests to “In Performance in the White House: Red, White and Blues”

Remarks by the President at “In Performance at the White House” Blues Event

East Room

7:22 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Everybody, please have a seat.  That sounded pretty good.  (Laughter.)  I might try that instead of ruffles and flourishes.  (Laughter.)

Well, first of all, I want to wish everybody a happy Mardi Gras.  I hear Trombone Shorty brought some beads up from New Orleans.  And I see that we’ve got some members of our Cabinet here.  We’ve got some members of Congress.  And we have elected officials from all across the country.

One of the things about being President — I’ve talked about this before — is that some nights when you want to go out and just take a walk, clear your head, or jump into a car just to take a drive, you can’t do it.  Secret Service won’t let you.  And that’s frustrating.  But then there are other nights where B.B. King and Mick Jagger come over to your house to play for a concert.  (Applause.)  So I guess things even out a little bit.  (Laughter.)

In 1941, the folklorist Alan Lomax travelled throughout the Deep South, recording local musicians on behalf of the Library of Congress.  In Stovall, Mississippi, he met McKinley Morganfield, a guitar player who went by the nickname Muddy Waters.  And Lomax sent Muddy two pressings from their sessions together, along with a check for $20.

Later in his life, Muddy recalled what happened next.  He said, “I carried that record up to the corner and I put it on the jukebox.  Just played it and played it, and said, I can do it.  I can do it.  In many ways, that right there is the story of the blues.

This is music with humble beginnings — roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved.  The blues bore witness to these hard times.  And like so many of the men and women who sang them, the blues refused to be limited by the circumstances of their birth.

The music migrated north — from Mississippi Delta to Memphis to my hometown in Chicago.  It helped lay the foundation for rock and roll, and R&B and hip-hop.  It inspired artists and audiences around the world.  And as tonight’s performers will demonstrate, the blues continue to draw a crowd.  Because this music speaks to something universal.  No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow.  The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.

And as we celebrate Black History Month, the blues reminds us that we’ve been through tougher times before — that’s why I’m proud to have these artists here — and not just as a fan, but also as the President.  Because their music teaches us that when we find ourselves at a crossroads, we don’t shy away from our problems.  We own them.  We face up to them.  We deal with them.  We sing about them.  We turn them into art.  And even as we confront the challenges of today, we imagine a brighter tomorrow, saying, I can do it, just like Muddy Waters did all those years ago.

With that in mind, please join me in welcoming these extraordinary artists to the White House.  And now, it is my pleasure to bring out our first performer to the stage, the King of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King.  (Applause.)

END
7:26 P.M. EST

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