The ‘Front Door to the White House’ Gets a Makeover

May 11, 2009 6:51pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: What was the White House Office of Public Liaison is now the Office of Public Engagement, part of a new effort to reach out to the American people.  The Obama Administration announced today that it will rename and refocus the office that it calls “the front door to the White House.” President Obama said in a video message posted online today that this office can and should do more and will have a new mission to help Americans take a more active role in government. “This office will seek to engage as many Americans as possible in the difficult work of changing this country through meetings and conversations with groups and individuals held in Washington and across the country,” President Obama said. The leadership of the office will not change – senior adviser Valerie Jarrett will still oversee the office and Christina Tchen will serve as director. Hollywood’s Kal Penn, famous for his starring role in the “Harold and Kumar” movies, announced last month he was giving up acting for now to move to Washington and serve as an associate director in this office. Obama said the Office of Public Liaison will hold town hall meetings and other events in person and online at its new web page. This site will have video of visits to the White House, blog posts from the OPE team and information about how Americans can get involved. “I look forward to hearing more from you. We face extraordinary challenges as a nation, challenges that will require all of us to do our part. As we begin the difficult work that lies ahead, know that the Office of Public Engagement and this White House will always have a door open to you, the American people,” he said. The White House also released the Citizens Briefing Book which contains policy and program ideas submitted by the public and then voted on by more than 100,000 Americans during the transition period post-election. — Karen Travers

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