Fw: Out of Town Pool Report #3 -- start of ceremonies at USO/Joining Forces Event

From: Cook, David
Sent: Thursday, May 5, 2016 6:47 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: Out of Town Pool Report #3 -- start of ceremonies at USO/Joining Forces Event

Out of Town Pool Report #3
POTUS Speaks at USO/Joining Forces Event

The USO/Joining Forces event is open press and being streamed on the White House website, so this will not be a verbatim report.

Event is being held in a large hanger at JBA.  Crowd estimate is 1,300 per
Kristina M. Sawtelle, Capt USAF.  It is mostly military personnel in olive green fatigues and their families in civilian garb.   Two large screens have been set up at the left and right of the podium.

J.D Crouch, USO CEO, opens the ceremonies shortly after 6:00 p.m. and notes the event is pegged to Military Spouse Appreciation Day which is tomorrow.  "It has been the profound privilege of the USO to be the force behind the forces," Crouch says.  (Please check all quotes with official transcript.)

In noting the Joining Forces.Gov program spearheaded by Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden, Crouch says the effort springs from their desire to recognize that, "When one member of a family serves, everyone serves."

At 6:13 p.m., Crouch introduces Jon Stewart, the program host, wearing a blue hat with a USO logo.  "We need to get the whole country involved and tell your story," Stewart says, adding "And it was so much easier to get here than when I went to Kabul. "

At 6:18 p.m., Stewart introduces Vice President Biden saying "He is always a guy we have fun with because he is always unpredictable."  Biden is greeted with a standing ovation.

"I was going to say something nice about Jon but the hell with it," Biden says before thanking Stewart for his efforts on behalf of 9-11 workers.  Biden is dressed in blue, pin stripe sui, white shirt, and blue tie.  The Vice President talks about his son, Beau, returning to the US from Iraq in the middle of the night and being greeted by USO workers.  'We also remember how the USO embraced us when we lost Beau," VPOTUS said.  Biden tells the troops on hand they are part of "an unbroken chain of patriotism."

At 6:24 p.m. Biden begins his introduction of POTUS.  "Every decision he makes, he makes with you and your families in mind," Biden says.  The Commander in Chief gets a loud standing ovation.

POTUS is in a dark suit and what, from the screen, appears to be a white shirt and a dark blue tie.  "Any jokes they tell about me, you should not laugh," POTUS quips.  He adds that this is his second comedy show of the week, referring to the WHCA dinner, adding the "good news is there are no tuxedos here."

POTUS thanks the Air Force unit that cares for Air Force Once. "We don't take you for granted," he says. Discussing the military generally POTUS says, "The work of doing right by you is never done."

At 6:33 p.m., POTUS begins introducing Dr. Jill Biden and the First Lady, discussing their work on Joining Forces.  "I could not be prouder of two people who are smart, and dedicated and charismatic," POTUS says.  A loud standing ovation ensues.

Dr. Biden begins speaking at 6:38 p.m.  She begins with a tribute to the USO.  "Your work was one of the reasons Michelle and I started Joining Forces," Dr. Biden says.  "To all of the military and their families here tonight, you are our heroes," she says.

At 6:41 p.m., Dr Biden introduces FLOTUS who is greeted by a loud standing ovation. Mrs. Obama says, "In order to get four of us on a stage is really hard.....we all care, you mean so much to us."  She adds that,  "When people hear about you, they want to step up."

The First Lady continues, "The courage, the honor, the boundless love of this country, that is what we have come to know....Serving you has been one of the greatest privileges of our lives."

More to come

Dave Cook
CS Monitor

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