It was a busy year for President Obama and his Administration, and a look at some of the most viewed blog posts from whitehouse.gov throughout the year provides a quick snapshot of 2012 at the White House.
January: Early in the year, Congress was evaluating two legislative approaches to combat online piracy, and petitions submitted to the White House's petition platform, We the People, about Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN) crossed the threshold for a response from the White House. A post explaining the Administration’s desire for legislation that protects intellectual property online but does not threaten an open and innovative internet was widely viewed and shared by our readers.
February: On February 7, more than 100 students from over 45 states brought their robots, research and new inventions to Washington for the second-ever White House Science Fair. The honorees met with Senior Administration officials, educators, and leading advocates for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math training, and some got the chance to show their projects to the President. A post and video recapping the day was a highlight that month.
March: Since taking office, the President and First Lady have made it their mission to open up the White House to as many people as possible and the annual Easter Egg Roll is the day that sees more Americans coming to visit than any other. This year more than 35,000 tickets were issued via the public lottery, and the blog post announcing how people could enter was the most viewed post in March.
April: Like all Americans, the Obamas and the Bidens have to file their tax returns by April 14. That month, the post releasing the 2011 returns was widely viewed, and so was the taxpayer receipt, a tool that allows all Americans to see exactly where their own 2011 tax dollars were spent.
May: 2012 marks the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and on Memorial Day, President Obama led a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that paid tribute to the sacrifice and service of the more than 3 million men and women who bravely served in that war. That event was the first in a 13-year program that will honor and give thanks to a generation who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions this country has faced. That post — and a post highlighting the President's surprise trip to Afghanistan,where he discussed the progress being made on ending the war in that country — were the most viewed in May.
June: On June 6, the Supreme Court released its decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. A blog post explaining what this decision meant for hard-working, middle-class American families and detailing the benefits provided under the law received a lot of interest that month.
July: There was a real chance that Congress would refuse to act, and as a result allow interest rates to double on federal student loans. Americans across the country raised their voices, and on July 6, President Obama signed legislation that will keep 7.4 million students from paying hundreds of extra dollars. A post explaining how public participation — on Facebook, on Twitter, and on whitehouse.gov — helped change the outcome was one of the summer's most popular.
August: President Obama believes that we have a moral, sacred duty to our men and women in uniform, and on August 6, he signed the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" into law. This legislation was designed to improve healthcare for veterans and help homeless veterans.
September: The First and Second Families joined all Americans in cheering Team USA on their numerous victories in London over the summer. And President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama were on hand to welcome the athletes to the White House for an event that celebrated their collective success. A blog post and video featuring behind the scenes moments from Team USA's visit was a big hit in September.
Sports wasn't the only popular topic in September. Ale to the Chief was posted in response to a petition on We the People asking the White House to release the recipe for the Honey Brown Ale that is brewed here at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., a project that started after President Obama purchased a home brewing kit for the kitchen.
October: At the end of the month, a serious, potentially fatal storm was bearing down on the East Coast. Prior to Sandy making landfall, President Obama visited FEMA for an update on preparations for the Federal response, and the post that detailed the plans being made by the government for response, and suggested preparations for those likely to be impacted, was among the most viewed in October.
November: Taxes are set to go up on more than 140 million American families at the end of 2012. On November 9, with 53 days left to solve the crisis, President Obama laid out his strategy for finding the right approach to move the country forward. The blog post explaining his plan was widely viewed, and since then more than 130,000 people have submitted stories on wh.gov to explain how a tax hike in excess of $2,000 would impact their family. More than 320,000 people have used the hashtag #My2K to talk about this on Twitter.
December: Speaking not only as President but as a father, President Obama was in the Brady Press Briefing Room on December 14 to express his "overwhelming grief" at the news that a gunman had opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. In a video featured in December's most viewed post, he called on all Americans to be at their best to support the Newtown community and pledged to do everything in his power as President to help.