Contains public messages and statements of the President of the United States released by the White House from January 1 to June 30, 2011. Also includes appendices, an index, and full-color photo section of official White House photographs.
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Excerpt: Foreword from President Barack Obama
As we continued to grow our economy and put more Americans back to work, 2011 brought new
opportunities and unexpected challenges for the United States. Here at home, we worked to reduce
our debt and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. And when a Tunisian street vendor’s act of
desperation sparked a revolution across the Middle East and North Africa, it marked a new chapter in
The transformation that took place during the Arab Spring captivated the world, and the United
States supported the forces of change. In Tunis, Sana’a, and Cairo, thousands of people took to the
streets, proving that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture—they are universal
values. In the months that followed, we stood with those who sought a government of, by, and for the
people. And in Libya, where the fight for freedom was answered with the threat of a massacre, we
joined an international coalition to protect the lives and aspirations of the Libyan people.
While the Arab Spring represented a new beginning for millions around the world, 2011 was also
an opportunity for America to begin to bring two costly wars to a responsible end. Nearly 10 years after
the tragic events of September 11, our men and women in uniform continued to deal crippling blows
to al Qaeda’s leadership, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden. It was the most significant
victory in our efforts to root out terrorism and bring those responsible for killing Americans to justice.
And while no act could ever fully heal the wounds of that terrible day, it also delivered a measure of
solace to the families who lost loved ones in the attacks.
In Afghanistan, we continued to break the Taliban’s momentum and transition responsibility for
security to Afghan lead. With the Iraqi government also now in charge of its own security, we brought
even more of our troops home, and we worked to keep faith with the men and women who sacrificed
so much for our country. This effort was led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who
launched the Joining Forces initiative to make sure our troops, our veterans, and their families get the
care and support they have earned.
We also invested in our Nation’s path to long-term prosperity: a strong and growing middle class. I
established the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and the White House Rural Council
to accelerate our recovery and help more Americans find good-paying jobs. I called on Democrats and
Republicans in the Congress to come together and fix our broken immigration system—a step that
would boost our economy and bring us closer to the principles of equality and opportunity that have
always been central to who we are as Americans. I directed my Administration to cut waste and get rid
of unnecessary regulations that were holding us back. And throughout the spring, we fought hard for a
balanced approach to reducing our deficit.
The first half of 2011 was also marked by tragedy. Our hearts were broken when a gunman opened
fire in Tucson, Arizona, taking the lives of 6 Americans and wounding 13 more, including
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And severe storms damaged communities from Joplin, Missouri,
to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But even as we mourned those we lost, we also found inspiration in the men
and women who reached out to one another; who made incredible sacrifices for their communities;
and who showed us the true meaning of courage and resilience. It was that same spirit that moved
countless Americans to offer relief when a tsunami struck Japan’s Pacific coast.
Our Nation continues to move forward with confidence and determination. And whatever
challenges may come, I believe we can meet them together—as one Nation and one people.
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