President Obama did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit on Wednesday, breaking the site in the process.
Here’s the link to the full AMA.
Here’s the full recap of Obama’s appearance on the site:
Obama started around 4:30. Here’s his first answer, to a question on Internet freedom and if it’s an issue he’d like to push to add to the Democratic platform:
“Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although their will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won’t stray from that principle – and it will be reflected in the platform.”
Next, Obama answers a question about whether he will consider increasing funds to the space program:
“Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level – so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a[n] asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.”
He got a question about who his favourite basketball player is. Easy answer:
“Jordan – I’m a Bulls guy.”
Then came a question from a recent law-school graduate. Obama talked about how “tough” it is for recent college graduates, contrasting his health care, tax and student loan plans with Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
“I don’t promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for long term growth for your generation, and for generations to follow. So don’t be discouraged – we didn’t get into this fix overnight, and we won’t get out overnight, but we are making progress and with your help will make more.”
He then called for a possible constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to filter an unlimited amount of money to campaigns.
“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act. … Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”
Next question: What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term?
“The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the taliban’s momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead – so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget.”
He reflected on the “first thing” he’ll do after the election, win or lose:
“Win or lose, I’ll be thanking everybody who is working so hard – especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices.”
Obama answered a question about the White House beer recipe! “It will be out soon! I can tell [you] from first hand experience, it is tasty.”
The next question was about helping small businesses in the next two years:
“We’ve really focused on this since I came into office – 18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes low for the 98 per cent of small businesses that have $250,000 or less in income, make it easier for small business to access financing, and expand their opportunities to export. And we will be implementing the Jobs Act bill that I signed that will make it easier for startups to access crowd-funding and reduce their tax burden at the start-up stage.”
LAST QUESTION: How do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?
“It’s hard – truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I’m spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store – so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I’m in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm – even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I’m back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating – this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER – if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience – NOT BAD!”
Obama broke Reddit for a long, long time:
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