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5, 4, 3, 2, 1… The Obama Family Lights The National Christmas Tree

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

President Barack Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react as they push the button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Ed. Note: Watch the full National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and show with musical performances by B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, Common, Maroon 5 and more at www.thenationaltree.org.

Last night, the First Family continued a proud holiday tradition – lighting the National Christmas Tree for the 88th time. View photos from the event and watch a video of the President’s remarks, the tree lighting ceremony, and a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the First Lady.

President Barack Obama addresses the crowd as he and the First Family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and First Family listen to the program at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

BB King performs Merry Christmas Baby at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The National Christmas Tree shines bright during the lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“Snow or shine, in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with Presidents to light our national tree,” said President Obama, “Now, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the Nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. That caused some commotion.”

He continued, touching on the history of the ceremony and taking a moment to honor the men and women that are serving in uniform overseas this holiday season:

Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.

But without fail, each year, we have gathered here. Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that’s universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.

It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters.

And so during a time in which we try our hardest to live with a spirit of charity and goodwill, we remember our brothers and sisters who have lost a job or are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for the men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and in faraway places who can’t be home this holiday season. And we thank their families, who will mark this Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table.

On behalf of Malia, Sasha, Michelle, Marian — who’s our grandmother-in-chief — (laughter) -– and Bo — don’t forget Bo — (applause) — I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

And now I’m going to invite the entire Obama crew up here to help me light this Christmas tree. (Applause.)

All right, everybody, we’re going to count from five — five, four, three, two, one.

(The tree is lit.) (Applause.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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First Lady Michele Obama Receives the White House Christmas Tree

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia are joined by Chris Botek and his wife Brandi as the First Family receives the White House Christmas Tree for 2010, on November 26, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. The 18 1/2 foot Douglas fir tree comes from Chris Botek’s tree farm in Lehighton, PA.

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First Family Helps Families At Food Pantry

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama packs and gives bags of food to area residents, with the help of his daughters Sasha and Malia, and first lady Michelle Obama, and first grandmother Marion Robinson, ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday at Martha’s Table on November 24, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Obama family delivered turkeys and bags of food to needy families at Martha’s Table, a 30-year-old non-profit that helps poor children, youth and families with food and clothing.

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President Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama talks with daughters Sasha and Malia in the Oval Office before pardoning a turkey named Apple in the Rose Garden, Nov. 24, 2010. President Obama also pardoned Cider, Apple’s alternate. After the event, Apple and Cider will be taken to a new residence at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

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The Obama’s Leave Martha’s Vineyard and Arrive In New Orleans for 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama, his wife first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia Obama, and daughter Sasha Obama board Marine One helicopter on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The First Family completed their 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and flew to Cape Cod to board Air Force One to head to New Orleans where the President is giving a speech today on the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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The Obama’s Vacation Day 2 ~ Bunch Of Grapes Bookstore & Golfing in Martha’s Vineyard

Posted by: Audiegrl

Chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel Major Garrett works the phone while sitting on the porch of the Mansion House, press headquarters for the President’s visit. The sign reads:

Mansion House Inn believes anyone who has passed health care reform, signed economic stimulus bills, recast America’s global image, commands two war zones, won the Nobel Peace Prize, nominated 2 Supreme Court judges (and) overhauled financial regulations, deserves a great vacation. Thank you Mr. President.
(Photo by Nelson Sigelman)

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The First Family Visits the Gulf Coast

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by: Nikki Sutton

President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug.14, 2010. The President traveled to Panama City Beach with First Lady Michelle Obama and Sasha to meet with local business owners and officials and to encourage Americans to travel to the Gulf Coast beaches. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family traveled to Florida’s Gulf Coast today to spend the weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida. The President and First Lady joined area small business owners and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for a roundtable discussion of the recovery.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hold a round table discussion with business owners, officials, Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at the United States Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla, Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following the roundtable discussion, the President spoke about his sustained commitment to the Gulf.  The President was clear that though the well has been capped and the oil is no longer spilling from the ocean floor, there is still work to be done:

Well, today the well is capped.  Oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf.  It has not been flowing for a month.  And I’m here to tell you that our job is not finished and we are not going anywhere until it is.  That’s the message that I wanted to come here and deliver directly to the people along the Gulf Coast — because it’s the men and women of this region who have felt the burden of this disaster.  They watched with anger and dismay as their livelihoods and their way of life was threatened these past few months.  And that’s why I made a commitment in my visits here that I was going to stand with you not just until the well was closed, not just until the oil was cleaned up, but until you had fully recovered from the damage that’s been done.  And that is a commitment that my administration is going to keep.

President Obama also spoke about Gulf Coast seafood safety:

Next we’re going to continue testing fisheries and we’ll be reopening more areas for fishing as tests show that the waters are safe.  Already, more than 26,000 square miles were reopened at the end of July, and another 5,000 were reopened earlier this week.  I know this takes some time, and it’s been incredibly hard on the people who earn their living on the water.  Carolyn’s boats, for example, have had to find different areas to fish that are further away and require more fuel, so she’s been having to make some decisions, maybe I don’t send out my boat this time out.  But their livelihoods, not to mention the health of the people across this country, obviously depends on making sure that folks can trust the seafood coming from the Gulf, trust that it’s safe, as it always has been.

Finally, President Obama stressed the importance of standing together with the people of the region and encouraged Americans from across the country to come down and enjoy the Gulf:

So, with the closure of the well we mark an important milestone.  But this is not the end of the journey.  And in completing the work ahead I’m reminded of what I heard when I was in Louisiana back in June.  I spent time with folks on Grand Isle, meeting with fishermen and small business owners, and the town’s mayor, David Camardelle.  And he told me what his friends and neighbors were going through.  He talked about how hard things had been.  But he also explained the way folks rallied to support one another, and said, the people in this community may not have a lot of money, but that didn’t matter.  “We help each other,” he said.  “That’s what we do.”

That’s what folks do for one another in the Gulf.  That’s what the Coast Guard has been doing for folks in need.  That’s what we do as Americans.  And my job is to make sure that we live up to this responsibility, that we keep up our efforts until the environment is clean, polluters are held accountable, businesses and communities are made whole, and the people of the Gulf Coast are back on their feet.

So to the men and women of the Coast Guard, thank you again for your extraordinary service.  To the people here in the Gulf, we are going to be standing by your side.  And to Americans all across the country, come on down and visit.

President Barack Obama, flanked by First Lady Michelle Obama and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, makes a statement to the press on Gulf Coast recovery plans, Panama City, Fla., Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


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