It's "Block of Cheese Day" at the White House, with cabinet members taking your questions! #AskTheWH


Obama steamrolls Republicans, giving a modern tour de force State of the Union, from Medium to Instagram, citing transgender for the first time in history, while the GOP underestimates yet again the man who beat them twice before.

Photo: Pete Souza

I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America. – President Barack Hussein Obama [MEDIUM]

IT WASN’T supposed to be like this. Republicans won in a historic midterm election and they’d planned to own 2015, letting President Obama know who is boss. Except that when Barack Obama gets up against it and has nothing to lose he does what winners do. Changes the game and goes for the long ball, which has always been his strong suit, especially when he’s hitting for legacy and eyeing the next possible presidency who can drive home what he’s started.

It was a modern 21st century State of the Union, citing transgender, Medium, and Instagram, words that have never been used before, as Obama set his sight for space and every ounce of oxygen being breathed in between.

All Republicans could do in response was take to Twitter and be bitter about the man they’re facing in the months and last two years ahead. But as Chuck Todd said on NBC, Obama knew this was his last chance before 2016 takes over, with this time next year everyone set on whom will have the presidency next, so he brought out all he had and laid it down across the shoulders of Republicans.

Not even when he said he wasn’t running ever again, and Republicans started to applaud, could they best him. Snapping quickly that he understood why they were glad he wasn’t, because he beat them twice before. Driving home that Republicans are always too quick to count him out, even in a rhetorical moment where they seem to be set up, only to be bested by Obama.

This went on and on and on.

You want jobs, GOP? Let’s do a historic infrastructure project, you know, like Ike would have embraced.

You want to change the tax code? Great, then let’s make it fairer.

You want U.S. trade power to soar? I’m all in, guys.

There were so many things proposed that it’s hard to know where to stop, if Republicans are serious about getting things done, which polls have shown is uppermost in the American people’s minds. They want progress, not politics for the sake of stopping President Obama from getting credit, which has always been on Senator Mitch McConnell’s mind.

The problem for Republicans is that it won’t hurt Obama if they send him bad bills to veto.

It won’t hurt Obama if they try to push Keystone Pipeline through, to no avail.

If Republicans don’t want to help middle class families with a needed tax break by raising capital gains tax and dividend taxes, you know, like Ronald Reagan did, Obama won’t pay the price.

You see, President Obama’s State of the Union, that we are not blue or red America, but the United States of America, that idea and phrase that got it all started for him, which I and many others remember so well, long before the back door insurance deals and the lackluster midterm campaigns, it all pointed in one very harrowing direction for Republicans.

President Obama is loaded with ideas and the energy to make deals that help Americans, but if Republicans don’t want to come along he’s just as happy to hang the gridlock around their necks, as he paves the way for 2016 to prove which political party has the back of the middle and working class, handing his successor solid ground on which to walk right into the White House behind him.

What a night it was for President Barack Obama.

Nobody expected it to be the State of the Union speech of his White House career. That’s when the man is at his most dangerous, when he’s underestimated.

Here at the White House, we’re dedicated to making President Obama’s administration the most open and accessible in history. That’s why, for the second year in a row, we thought it’d be a gouda idea to brie-unite a certain cast of characters to help us bring back a tradition that dates back to the days of President Andrew Jackson.

On February 22, 1837, President Jackson had a 1,400-pound block of cheese hauled into the main foyer of the White House for an open house with thousands of citizens and his staff, where they discussed the issues of the day while carving off slabs of cheddar.

This year, we aim to do even feta. On Wednesday, January 21, in fromage to President Jackson (and to President Bartlet, if you’re a fan of The West Wing), we’re hosting the second-annual virtual Big Block of Cheese Day, where members of the Obama administration will take to social media to answer your questions about the President’s State of the Union address and the issues that are most important to you.

Log on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, and ask away using the hashtag #AskTheWH. We’ll do our best to answer as many questions as we can.

All day:

Share your questions on Tumblr now using the ask box
Post your questions in the comments on Facebook with #AskTheWH
Post a photo or video with your question on Instagram with #AskTheWH
From the road with President Obama:

Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer – @Pfeiffer44
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest – @PressSec
Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett – @VJ44
Communications Director Jen Palmieri – @JPalm44
9:15 a.m. ET: Housing in America

In a live-streamed event hosted by Zillow, HUD Secretary Castro will answer questions from social media community using #HousinginAmerica. Learn more and watch live.
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET: General Overview and State of the Union Themes

Director of the Office of Public Engagement Paulette Aniskoff – @PAniskoff44
Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary – @Schultz44
Associate Communications Director Stephanie Young – @Stephanie44
Deputy Communications Director Amy Brundage – @Brundage44
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET: Education, Immigration, and Latino Issues

Dr. Jill Biden – @DrBiden
Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz – @Cecilia44
Executive Director of Reach Higher Eric Waldo – @ReachHigher
Director of Hispanic Media Katherine Vargas – @Vargas44
Deputy Director of Hispanic Media Antoinette Rangel – @LaCasaBlanca
Department of Education – @USEdGov
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET: Climate, Energy and Conservation

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz – @ErnestMoniz
Special Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change – @Utech44
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell – @SecretaryJewell
Department of Interior – @Interior
Environmental Protection Agency – @EPA
Department of Energy – @Energy
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET: Economic opportunity, infrastructure, minimum wage, and women’s economic agenda

Member of the Council of Economic Advisers Betsey Stevenson – @CEABetsey
Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget – @DeeseOMB
Secretary of Labor Tom Perez – @LaborSec
Department of Labor – @USDOL
Department of Transportation – @USDOT
Counselor to the President John Podesta – @Podesta44 (climate)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy Dr. John Holdren – @WhiteHouseOSTP
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith – @USCTO
OSTP Assistant Director for Strategic Communications and Senior Policy Analyst Kristin Lee – @Lee44
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Foreign Policy

Secretary of State John Kerry – @JohnKerry
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes – @Rhodes44
National Security Council – @NSCPress
Department of State – @StateDept
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Health Care

Assistant Press Secretary Jessica Santillo – @Santillo44
Department of Health and Human Services – @HHSGov