Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 28, 2016
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND FIRST LADY
AT THE 2016 EASTER EGG ROLL
10:41 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: How's everybody doing today? (Applause.) Happy Easter! You guys brought the sun out, so we appreciate that so much. This is always one of our favorite events of the year. It's so much fun. And I don’t want to talk too long, but I do want to make sure that everybody thanks our outstanding Marine band, who does such a great job. (Applause.) I want to thank all the volunteers who have helped to make this day possible. Give them a huge round of applause. (Applause.) And I want to thank the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama! (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: Yay! Thank you, honey.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MRS. OBAMA: Here, you take Sunny. Hi, everybody! (Applause.) Happy Easter Egg Roll Day! Are you all having a good time?
MRS. OBAMA: It is going to be perfect weather. The sun is coming out, which is always a great omen for the day. We're just thrilled to have you all here. Today is a little bit bittersweet for us, because this is the Obama administration's last Easter Egg Roll.
AUDIENCE: Aww --
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. And if we think about what we've accomplished over these past seven years, it's pretty incredible. Because when Barack and I first got here, one of the goals that we had was to open up the White House to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible. So open it up to our kids, to our musicians, to explore our culture, to expose families to healthy living, and to just have a lot of fun.
THE PRESIDENT: And our military families.
MRS. OBAMA: And also to our military families. I've got the peanut crew back here reminding me of stuff. But we can't forget all of our military families, who we love, honor and respect, for their service and sacrifice. (Applause.)
And since we started having Easter Egg Rolls, we've had more than 250,000 people come to this lawn every year. It's been amazing. Today we're going to have 35,000 people who will come in and out of the South Lawn over the course of the day. And we couldn’t be more excited for this last Easter Egg Roll. We have danced. We have done yoga. We've got our Soul Cyclers here. We've got some tremendous athletes and entertainers and artists who are going to read and play games with you all. We've got a little "whip" and a little "nae nae" -- or however you do it. (Laughter.) Something like that.
So we just want you to have fun. And the theme this year in our final year is pretty simple. It's: Let's celebrate. Let's celebrate all the good work that we've done, all the great messaging we've had. All the amazing change that we've seen in this country. And we want to celebrate our families. We want to celebrate our nation -- everything that makes us strong. It's our diversity, it's our values. That's what makes us strong.
And me and this President, we have been honored to be here as your President and First Lady to be able to host you in our backyard every single year. So I hope you guys have a terrific time. We're going to be out there doing a little egg-rolling. We're going to have a fun-run today. I'm going to be running around the White House with a bunch of kids -- and any adults who feel like they can hang. (Laughter.) You guys can run along with me. Don’t feel shy.
So just have a good time. And just know that we love you. We love you all, and we're grateful for the love and support that you've shown us all these years. So thank you all.
THE PRESIDENT: Happy Easter, everybody!
MRS. OBAMA: Happy Easter! (Applause.) Let's celebrate!
POOLER NOTES: (Poolers are the journalist assigned to take notes for all other journalists who cannot be at the event. They are important people)
At 10:55 Flotus and Potus joined a group of children for story time at the story time stage. They sat in white, wire chairs beneath a blossoming tree. Children sat in neat rows of white folding chairs and on top of hay stacks.
Potus read "Where the Wild things are" (his fave book to read at this event). Flotus held the book as Potus read and interacted with the children.
When the president read the line "I'll eat you up!" said by the book's protagonist, Max, Flotus told the crowd of kiddies "you're not supposed to say that to your mom."
At a couple of other points, Flotus egged the crowd on "oohing" and roaring with the crowd. They flashed their "claws" and at one point they stood and marched in place with the kids for a "rumpus."
The two high fived when the president finished. And president obama gave out high fives to the crowd.
At 11:02am, Flotus began reading "the rainbow fish." A handler held a large version of the book so the children could see the illustrations as the First Lady read.
At 11:07am she closed the book. She asked the kids what the moral of the story was and they said in unison, "share."
At 11:08am the babies rushed Flotus for a giant hug.
The First Lady has moved along to an obstacle course in the Rose Garden. The children here began chanting and clapping just before Mrs. obama joined them. She told the kids "we're going to do this fair and square before blowing a whistle. The kids then began jumping through hoops and around poles for the fun race. When a pole fell, the First Lady dashed to the end of the course to pick it up when a young girl lost a shoe, she picked her up to help her along. Because the grass was damp, a couple of kids slipped and fell. The First Lady gave the last runner a high five as he rounded the last come and sprinted back to base. After the race, the First Lady chatted with the winning team. It all ended around 11:19am
A couple of the children (the older bunch) at the obstacle course were cast members from the Disney channel series "Bunk'd"
President Obama and The First Lady emerged on the balcony at 10:38 am just as the sun broke through a drizzly morning. The Easter Bunny preceded the first couple. "Happy Easter," Obama said, sporting a purple gingham shirt sans tie and coat. "You guys brought the sun out, so we appreciate that." FLOTUS said it was a "bittersweet" moment: "This is the Obama administration's last Easter Egg Roll." Remarks were open to pre-credentialed media and a transcript is out. The first couple moved immediately to an Easter Egg Roll course, with Bo and Sunny in tow. A Storm Trooper lurked in the background, though Secret Service seemed unconcerned. Obama asked the kids awaiting their turn at rolling eggs if they knew the rules and then blew a gold-colored whistle. The kids flicked their eggs quickly across the short field. "Who's the winner?" Obama asked and then began high-fiving all the kids. Obama held his first infant of the day, a young girl with a bunny on her shirt. The president told one eager fan that he couldn't do a selfie. "Can't do that," he said, then noted an egg that had been smashed into the South Lawn. "There was like a spin out," he said. Obama then picked up his second baby, another girl. At 10:56 a.m., the president and first lady arrived at the Story Time Stage and Obama noted that he would again be reading "Where the Wild Things Are," which he called a fan favorite. Some kids watched from plastic chairs, others from blanket-covered hay bails. As he started reading, POTUS asked an aside from his child audience as the character Max was getting into trouble. "Do your moms and dads every say, 'You guys are making mischief' like Max"? Obama asked. FLOTUS occasionally tossed in some color commentary, getting the children to roar. The first couple stood up at one point to show their version of the "wild rumpus" part of the story, and seemed to be quite enjoying themselves. "Oh, that was exhausting," Obama said as he sat down. After finishing the book, the president offered more high-fives and answered a question from one of the kids who was in disbelief of whom he was meeting. "I AM the president of the United States," Obama could be heard answering the child. At 11:05 a.m., Obama came over to the White House basketball court where Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal, AKA Shaq, was playing with a group of Jr. NBA kids. Also spotted: retired NBA player Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player. Shaq, leaned over from his towering height to whisper something in Obama's ear, and both chuckled. Obama shot his only basketball of the day, hitting a brick against the rim, before snapping more photos and heading to the other side of the area, set up with two small tennis courts. Obama, with a Wilson racket, hit a ball flung his way but misjudged the weight of the over-sized tennis balls and it bounced on his own side. He knocked the next ball out of bounds. He picked up his game for the next few minutes and a woman declared him the victor with a 3-1 short game. More pictures ensued and Obama found another infant girl to hold aloft. And with that, the president escaped out of view.
First Lady walked on to the main stage of the Easter egg roll at 11:45am. The First Lady was joined by Atlanta-based singers Chloe and Halle who sang her newly released song "this is for my girls." The song was written by Diane Warren. It's quite a jazzy tune and the two young ladies have powerful voices. Before inviting the young singers on stage, the First Lady addressed the crowd. "Imagine at the age of 10 or 12 or 13 someone said your dreams stop right here," the First Lady said, explaining the reasoning behind her Let Girls Learn initiative. She says the initiative is a year old as of today. The goal is to champion girls education across the globe. 62 million girls around the world do not have access to education. Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliot, jadagrace, Lea Michele, Zendaya, and kelly Rowland also perform the song. Only Chloe and Halle are singing it today. The two also performed a song of their own called "baby bird"
The First Lady participated in the first-ever White House fun-run on the South Lawn. Approximately 250 people participated in the fun run. She joined a crowd of warmed-up youngsters at 5:12pm. "You guys ready to run?" She asked the rowdy crowd. "Let's do this! Let's move." The First Lady joined the group wearing an eggplant workout top, a black cap, and dark runners pants. They did a couple of stretches as a group before running in waves. The First Lady waved a white flag as the various clusters of children got moving. The First Lady joined the second-to-last "wave" of children. There were 5 total. Your pooler's view is a bit obstructed but the 0.7 mile run circled the lawn. The first wave returned to the blue room balcony at 5:18pm. The First Lady returned at 5:22pm. After the run, the runners gathered for a group pic on the blue room balcony and the steps on both sides. Some pics are pasted below. Before the First Lady joined the children participating in the run, a group of Nike trainers and Olympians led the group in a stretch and warm up. Lots of "bunny hops" and toe touches. Your pooler spotted two of the young stars of the ABC show blackish among the runners. The First Lady left at 5:26pm