President Obama will soon be sworn into office, and whether you voted for him or not, he's everybody's president. What do you want him to remember in his second term?

In anticipation of Inauguration Day, NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger and producer Justine Kenin visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to ask Americans: "What do you want President Obama to remember in his second term?"

This video shows some of the answers we received outside the White House. But that was just the start of a project that we're calling "Dear Mr. President."

Now we want to hear from you.

And check out what others are saying on Tumblr (here are a few examples):

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Next week, President Obama will take the oath of office and begin his second term. As he acknowledged after his reelection, the job demands that he work for all Americans, not just those who voted for him.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: There are people all across this country, millions of folks who worked so hard to help us get elected, but there are also millions of people who may not have voted for us, but are also counting on us.


Counting on us, but to do what? Well, to answer that question, we recently went over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the street in front of the White House. The inaugural parade stands were being built nearby. And we asked Americans what they would say to the president, whether or not they voted for him. What did they want him to accomplish in the next four years? Here's some of what they told us.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Dear Mr. President...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Dear Mr. President...

EMILY PARVATI: Dear Mr. President, I voted for you both in 2008 and in 2012. I'm happy that you're coming back and I think that the most important issue facing our generation right now and the United States generally is marriage equality. I think that it's important for children of same-sex parents to know that they're equal. I think it's important for GLBT youth to know that they're equal and I think that it really is going to be the human rights campaign for our generation. I hope that you'll take that into consideration as you move forward. Sincerely, Emily Parvati(ph), Washington, D.C.

JUSTIN COOPER: I did not vote for you. Stop raising my taxes. I barely make enough money as it is. Thank you. Justin Cooper, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

WILLIAM STACEY: I did not vote for you. I was a former sergeant in the U.S. military. I was in the Army. And one of the problems I think you should really focus on is veterans' affairs this term. We have a lot of veterans that are going through psychological issues, dealing with the things they saw overseas. There's a lot of stuff that I'm sure you yourself have not seen, sir. This is William Stacey(ph) from Columbia, South Carolina signing off. Thank you.

JILL LAMBERT: Dear Mr. President, I did vote for you in this past election, even though my family didn't want me to. But I know that you're going to continue strengthening the health care bill. Jill Lambert(ph), Lake City, Florida.

AMED ALARVEY: Dear Mr. President, I voted for you because I believe in diplomacy, whether it's working with members of the House and Senate on bipartisan initiatives to resolve our issues domestically or working to strengthen our strategic relationships abroad, I believe in you. My name is Amed Alarvey(ph) and I'm from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

CATHY MURPHY: Mr. President, Happy New Year. Congratulations. I'm so excited for you and your family and this is my first visit to the White House, which is beautiful. You have a beautiful home. I did not vote for you. I'm sorry, but I am concerned about our country and where we are financially. I was raised in a family where if you don't have money, you don't spend it. And right now, I'm on a budget and there are lots of things that I want, but don't get because I just can't afford it. Cathy Murphy(ph), Houston, Texas.

JACOB JOHNSON: Dear Mr. President, I didn't vote for you because I'm underage and this is one of the important things I want you to do for the nation is to have a better education system. I love you with all my heart, Mr. President. My name is Jacob Johnson(ph) and I'm from Brooklyn, New York.

CORNISH: Those audio postcards gathered outside the White House. We want to hear from you, too. What do you want the president to remember as he begins his second term? What should rise to the top of his to-do list? Go to to add your own postcards. While you're there, you can also see the video that got us started. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.