2013: A Year in Review



In 2013, our economy grew, and our deficit shrunk. For the first time in almost two decades, we said that we're producing more oil at home than we buy from the rest of the world. We honored our heroes. We bounced back from national tragedies and natural disasters. We strengthened our relationships with allies around the world and took action to promote the American dream at home. Take a look at our 2013 year in review.


A Bipartisan Tax Deal for 98 Percent of Americans

The agreement, which passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate on January 1, permanently extended the middle-class tax cuts and also extended credits for working families — and protecting 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a tax hike.

Read more about the tax deal.

The White House responds to a petition to construct a "Death Star"

On January 11th, 2013, the White House officially responded to a petition to "secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016," which had garnered more than 34,000 signatures. Needless to say, it wasn't the petition response they were looking for.

Read the petition response.

Take a look at more top tweets from 2013.

23 Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

On January 16, 2013, in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, President Obama unveiled a comprehensive gun violence reduction plan that included 23 specific executive actions to keep dangerous guns out of the wrong hands.

Learn more about the President's plan.

Look back at Inauguration 2013

President Obama is Sworn in for a Second Term

On January 21, at 11:55 a.m. Eastern Time, President Obama delivered his second inaugural address from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, calling on all of us to seize the moment, together.

Look back at Inauguration 2013.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.


State of the Union 2013

On February 12th, President Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

Watch the enhanced State of the Union speech.

Former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha Receives the Medal of Honor

"With gunfire impacting all around him, Clint raced to one of the barracks and grabbed a machine gun. He took aim at one of the enemy machine teams and took it out. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and his neck. But he kept fighting, disregarding his own wounds, and tending to an injured comrade instead." - President Obama, February 11, 2013

Read his story.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.

College Scorecard

An Easier way to Compare Schools: The College Scorecard

"…My administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck." - President Obama, 2013 State of the Union

Check out the College Scorecard.

The 100th Anniversary of Rosa Parks' Birth

"It has taken acts of courage from generations of fearless and hopeful Americans to make our country more just. As heirs to the progress won by those who came before us, let us pledge not only to honor their legacy, but also to take up their cause of perfecting our Union." - President Obama, February 4, 2013

Read more about this anniversary.

Take a look at more top tweets from 2013.


President Obama Visits the Middle East

In the first foreign trip of his second term in office, President Obama visited Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

Explore our page cataloguing the trip.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.

The President Signs a Bill Reauthorizing and Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act

Thanks to the bipartisan agreement, thousands of women and men across the country who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking will be able to access resources they need in their communities to help heal from their trauma. In addition, thousands of law enforcement officers will be better equipped to stop violence before it starts, and respond to calls of help when they are needed.

See the remarks.

President Obama to Congress: Move Forward with the Energy Security Trust

Building on the call in his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to move forward with the creation of an Energy Security Trust Fund, which would free American families and business from painful spikes in gas prices, focuses on one goal: shifting America's cars and trucks off oil entirely.

Learn more about the Energy Security Trust.

The White House "Hangs out" with Makers and Builders

The White House invited innovators from around the country — including a robot — to join a Google+ Hangout and share their ideas on how we can elevate "making" and get more young people interested in STEM education. During the Hangout, participants discussed the elements of an "all hands on deck" effort to elevate Making and also share their ideas on how we can get more young people interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Watch video from the Google+ Hangout.

A Commission to Improve the Election Experience for Everyone

Following a pledge the President made in this year's State of the Union, the President created the Presidential Commission on Election Administration: tasked with finding non-partisan ways to shorten lines with polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.

Learn more about the commission.


A Very "Special" Message from the "President"

You'll just have to watch.

The 2014 budget

The President Sends his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget to Congress

"To make America a magnet for good jobs, this budget invests in new manufacturing hubs to help turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. We'll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain and cure disease. We’ll continue our march towards energy independence and address the threat of climate change. And our Rebuild America Partnership will attract private investment to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools, in turn attracting even more new business to communities across the country." — President Obama, April 10, 2013

Read more about the 2014 budget.

The President Delivers Remarks on the Boston Marathon Bombing

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama travelled to Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross to attend Healing Our City, an interfaith service dedicated to those who were gravely wounded or killed in the bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Watch or read the full remarks.

A Science Fair at the White House

The fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

Learn more about the Student Science Fair.

Celebrating Memphis Soul

With Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader, the program included performances by the Alabama Shakes, Al Green, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake.

Watch the performances.


A New Legal Framework for Action Against Terrorists

In a speech at National Defense University, the President discussed how the threat of terrorism has changed substantially since September 11, 2011, and explained his comprehensive strategy to meet these threats.

Read more about the speech.

Carole King is the First Woman to Receive the Gershwin Prize

It's one of our nation's highest arts honors, given to recognize contribution to pop music and culture — and in 2013, the President awarded it to Carole King, legendary singer and songwriter responsible for hits like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Watch the video.

Moore OK photos

President Obama Visits Moore, Oklahoma

"For there are homes and schools to rebuild, businesses and hospitals to reopen, there are parents to console, first responders to comfort, and, of course, frightened children who will need our continued love and attention. There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, and bedrooms, and classrooms, and, in time, we're going to need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community." — President Obama, May 21, 2013

Read more about the Administration's response.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.

FLOTUS remarks

The First Lady Delivers Commencement Remarks at Eastern Kentucky University

"Whether you've worn our country's uniform or not, we're all called to serve and to give back to those around us. And you don't have to travel across the globe or even across the country to find ways to serve. All you have to do is take a look around your own community." — Michelle Obama, May 11, 2013

Read more about her remarks.

Project Open Data Img

Introducing: Project Open Data

On May 9th, President Obama signed a historic executive order to make government-held data more accessible to the public, entrepreneurs, and others in order to fuel innovation and economic growth. Under the order, all newly generated data is required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats — making it more accessible and more useful while ensuring privacy and security

Learn more about the executive order.

Climate Change Plan - Short Graphic

A Plan to Take Action on Climate Change

President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

Learn more about the plan.

Photos from the ireland and germany trip

The President and First Lady Travel to Northern Ireland and Germany

At his fifth G-8 Summit, President Obama consulted with key allies on shared security challenges and the global economy. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, the President commended the people, leaders, and institutions on the tremendous progress of the past 15 years and highlight the continued need for progress toward peace and prosperity. And in Berlin, Germany, President Obama underscored the vital importance of the transatlantic alliance, the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Germany, and the values that bind us with Europe.

Explore our page cataloguing the trip.


The Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Senate passed S.744 — The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act — by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. The bill would modernize our immigration system and create a pathway to citizenship for millions of currently undocumented individuals.

Listen to the President discuss reform.

Take a look at our 13 favorite animated gifs of 2013.

The Supreme Court Strikes Down the Defense of Marriage Act

As the President said, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was discrimination enshrined in law: It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. That's why, in 2011, the President instructed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA in court. On June 26th, the Supreme Court righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.

Read more about the decision.

Take a look at more top tweets from 2013.


ConnectED: High-speed Internet in Schools

In June, the President announced ConnectED, a transformative initiative designed to bring high-speed Internet connections to 99 percent of America's students — and the White House hosted a national "show and tell" Google+ Hangout to show how connected classrooms are improving the quality of our education system.

Watch the Google+ Hangout with ConnectED classrooms.

Select photos from the trip to Africa

The President and First Lady Travel to Africa

President Obama and the First Lady traveled to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania to meet with leaders from government, business, and civil society. The trip included the launch of Power Africa, a program that aims to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa with $7 billion in U.S. financial support, and to leverage private sector investments — beginning with more than $9 billion in initial commitments from private sector partners — to support the development of more than 8,000 megawatts of new electricity generation in the region.

Explore our page cataloguing the trip.

CFPB Photo

Richard Cordray Confirmed as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The President established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011 to make sure American consumers are treated fairly in the financial market place — whether they're applying for a credit card, taking out a loan to buy a home or pay for college, dealing with a debt collector or other activities. Two years after the President first nominated Richard Cordray to run the new agency, the Senate confirmed him as the Director of the CFPB, giving consumers more certainty that the protections provided by the agencywill continue.

Read more about what his confirmation means.

A Better Bargain for the Middle Class

Nearly five years after the start of the Great Recession, President Obama kicked off a series of speeches laying out the progress we’ve made since then and the work that’s left to do to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.

Read more about the President's economic vision.

Animated Video: Why Immigration Reform is Good for the Economy

Following the Senate’s bipartisan vote to reform our nations immigration system, The White House released its first-ever stop motion animation video explaining how comprehensive immigration reform will boost our nation’s economy.

Watch the whiteboard video.

Kid's State Dinner Photo

Kids’ State Dinner

54 kid chefs (plus their parent or guardian) whose tasty lunch recipes won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge joined First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House for the second Kids’ State Dinner.

Watch a recap of the Kids' State Dinner.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.

Photo of President Obama at the 50th anniversary of the march on washington

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, President Obama delivered remarks from the Lincoln Memorial.

Watch President Obama's speech from the Lincoln Memorial.

Sunny GIF

A New Dog at the White House

Sunny, a sweet and friendly 1-year-old girl pup, arrived at the White House to keep Bo and the Obama family company.

Learn more about Sunny's arrival.

Take a look at our 13 favorite animated gifs of 2013.

A better bargain - student loan graphic

A Bipartisan Compromise to Cut Student Loan Interest Rates

President Obama signed a bill that will bring down interest rates on all new student loans for the 2013 school year, and help 11 million borrowers save money.

Then, watch the President's August 22nd speech on combatting the soaring costs of higher education.

Learn more about the compromise.


Promoting the American Dream of Homeownership

Following a speech in Phoenix about his plan to give more hardworking Americans the chance to own their own home, President Obama sat down with Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff to answer questions about housing from homeowners, renters and prospective buyers submitted via social media.

Watch the President answer their questions.

Take a look at our 13 favorite animated gifs of 2013.

Five years after the financial crisis

Five Years After the Financial Crisis

In a series of audio interviews, senior staff members from across the Obama administration offered an exclusive look in to the response to the 2008 financial crisis, how key decisions were made, and the results of President Obama’s unprecedented actions that put us on the path to recovery.

Listen to White House senior staffers recalling the crisis.

U.S. Army Captain William Swenson Receives the Medal of Honor

Swenson received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of the Afghan National Security Forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during a lengthy battle with the Taliban in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.

Watch Captain Swenson receive the award.

Take a look at the best White House photos of 2013.

Read about the progress of the petitions platform

The White House Petitions Platform Turns Two

We the People, the White House petitions platform, turned two years old in September. In those two years, more than 10 million users have generated over 270,000 petitions on a diverse range of topics, including gun violence — which received a video response from the President — and unlocking cell phones for use across provider networks, which led directly to policy action to help bring relief to consumers.

Read more about the progress of We the People.

Animated Video: What Obamacare Means for You

Ahead of the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, the White House released a white board video explaining what the Affordable Care Act means for you.

Watch the whiteboard video.

President Obama's remarks on the government reopening

The Government Shuts Down — and Reopens

On October 1, Congress failed to pass a budget, shutting down most of the federal government. Seventeen days later, President Obama signed legislation to re-open it, thanks to the Democrats and responsible Republicans who worked together on a bill to fund the government and pay America’s bills.

Watch the President's remarks on the reopening of the government.

Take a look at our 13 favorite animated gifs of 2013.

Deficit reduction chart

The Deficit is Cut in Half

A new report showed that since 2009, the deficit has fallen by more than half, and is falling at its fastest rate since World War II.

View the chart, and pass it on.

Take a look at our 13 favorite animated gifs of 2013.

Learn more about the white house film festival

The First-Ever White House Student Film Festival

The White House invited K-12 students from around the country to create and submit one- to three-minute web videos. Finalists could have their films screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (And there's still time to enter!)

Learn more about the film festival.

Domestic Oil Production Exceeds Foreign Oil Imports

The Department of Energy announced that we’ve hit another milestone on our path to a more secure energy future: in October, domestic oil production exceeded crude oil imports for the first time since 1995.

Read more about what this means.

Take a look at more top tweets from 2013.

Watch the recipients describe their experiences


Honoring Medal of Freedom Recipients

President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor, to 16 individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Watch the recipients describe their experiences.

Read the President's essay

The 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

One hundred fifty years after President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, President Obama penned a handwritten tribute to President Lincoln's historic remarks. 

Read the President's essay.

Reforming the Filibuster

President Obama said he supports a new Senate rule to change the way the filibuster works. Under the new rule, all executive and judicial nominees — except to the Supreme Court — can be confirmed with a simple up-or-down vote. As a result, two of President Obama’s nominees are confirmed, including Mel Watt as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and two judges to the Federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Millett.

Read more about what this rule change means.

A Historic Announcement About Iran's Nuclear Program

Addressing the nation from the State Dining Room on November 24th, President Obama said that the United States — together with close allies and partners — has taken an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Watch the President's announcement.

Read more about the jobs numbers


American Businesses Have Added Jobs for 45 Consecutive Months

With solid job growth in November — and strong data on manufacturing activity and auto sales — it's clear that the economic recovery continues to gain traction.

Read more about the jobs numbers.


Vice President Biden Travels to Asia

Vice President Biden travelled to Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea to reaffirm our enduring presence as a Pacific power, promote our economic and trade interests, and underscore our commitment to rebalancing U.S. foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific.

Explore our page cataloguing the trip.


Progress on all 23 Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

In January, President Obama laid out 23 executive actions to take essential and rapid steps to save lives while respecting our Second Amendment rights. Less than a year later, the Administration had completed or made significant progress on all of them.

Read more about the progress and share the graphic.

Remembering Nelson Mandela

At a national memorial service in Johannesburg for former South African President Nelson Mandela, the President reflected on what Mandela meant to him personally, as well to the people of South Africa, and urged all of us to remember Madiba's legacy and contributions to humanity.

Watch the President's remarks.

A Bipartisan Budget Agreement

The budget unwinds some of the damaging sequester cuts that have harmed students and seniors and served as obstacles for small business — and clears a path for critical investments in things like education and research that have always grown our economy and strengthened the middle class. And it will continue to reduce our deficits at a time when we’ve seen four of the fastest years of deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Listen to the President speak about the agreement.

Take a look at more top tweets from 2013.

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