Photo: Image: Flickr; Bird: Twitter
President Barack Obama just finished the first-ever Twitter Town Hall.Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey moderated the discussion from the White House, with 140-character questions selected by a team of “curators.”
Obama’s responses were not limited in length, but he did tweet at the beginning of the event.
- Obama deflected a question on whether he would consider using the 14th amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling if he and Republican lawmakers cannot reach an agreement by August 2. [2:19]
- He also defended his economic record from Republicans, including a question sent in by Speaker of the House John Boehner. [2:31]
- Obama said “we could solve our deficit and our debt problems” with Bush tax rates on rich, and the middle class cuts he proposed. [2:55]
- In response to a question asserting there is a relationship between higher taxes and lower job growth, Obama said “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” [3:03]
Here is our live-blog:
3:10: And we’re done. Obama tells Dorsey “it was fun.”
3:08: Obama says there is room to cut in every federal program.
If you don’t think there is room to cut in the defence budget, you haven’t spent a lot of time looking at the defence budget
3:06: Obama “We should acknowledge that some welfare programs in the past were not well designed and sometimes did encourage dependency”
3:04: Obama on ethanol: corn “probably the least efficient energy producer”
3:03: “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts” — Obama on job growth and higher taxes.
3:02: Another statement as question. End the wars, cut oil subsidies and keep education spending, the questioner says.
3:01: Obama says a modest tax increase for wealthy Americans is not shown to have an adverse effect on job growth.
3:00: Next question is more of a statement: “we need to raise taxes.”
3:00: Obama calls foreign aid a “force multiplier.”
2:59: Obama gets a foreign aid question.
“It’s important for people to know that foreign aid accounts for less than 2 per cent of out budget.”
“It’s a tiny amount that has a big impact.”
2:56: Obama says “let’s start pushing the boundaries so we’re not just doing the same thing over and over again.”
Says an asteroid should be next. They haven’t identified one yet,
2:55: Next question is on the future of spaceflight.
“I have been pushing NASA to revamp its vision,” Obama said.
2:55: Obama says “we could solve our deficit and our debt problems” with Bush tax rates on rich, and the middle class cuts he proposed.
2:54: Obama says Obama says he won’t raise taxes on Middle class to George W. Bush levels
2:52: Next question from @ModeledBehavior: “So will you raise taxes on the middle class at least to W Bush levels @askObama @townhall”
2:50: Obama says he wants “robust legislation” from Congress to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
2:49: Breaking: Obama just said “Internets” with an ‘s’
2:48: Obama says it’s important that we get a good bang for the buck in education.
Highlights race to the top.
2:47: Next is a public education question. (10 per cent of questions)
2:46: Back to mortgages, Obama says responsible homeowners who bought at the top of the market should get some help.
2:42: Obama says he is asking millionaires and billionaires to agree to return to the Clinton-era tax rates.
2:42: Obama jokes he is well off “mainly because a lot of folks bought my books.” Says people like him should pay more in taxes so that kids can attend “Head Start” programs.
2:41: Obama says he has cut taxes repeatedly while in office.
“We actually have the lowest tax rates since the 1950s…”
2:39: Obama repeats his “balanced approach” line to cutting the deficit. Says entitlements need to be on the table as well.
“I’m looking for people to put their dogmas aside, put their sacred cows aside…”
2:38: Obama says “That wasn’t the deal that was available.”
2:37: Nick Kristof (@NickKristof) gets the next question. Asks whether it was a failure for Obama not to get Republicans to commit to raising the debt ceiling, while agreeing to tax breaks.
2:36: Obama proposes tax benefit for companies that hire veterans.
2:34: Obama says biggest problem he hears small businesses are having involve financing. Says community banks are not lending, and that he has tasked the Small Business Administration with providing more — and more generous — financing.
2:33: Next question is on small businesses job growth. Obama mentions his tax breaks for growing businesses.
2:32: Obama using the occasion to tout needed infrastructure upgrades, says Republicans have not cooperated with funding.
“That could have a huge impact on the economy overall”
2:31: Obama says most of the job losses took place before he took office, or in the months before the stimulus bill was passed.
Talks about cooperation with Republicans on small business tax breaks to create jobs.
2:30: Obama also pokes fun at Boehner’s typing skills. “John obviously needs to work on his typing skills.”
2:30: Obama says the question is “a little skewed” because Boehner is a Republican.
2:29: The next question is from @SpeakerBoehner. He asks “Where are the jobs?”
2:28: Obama says he is putting pressure on banks to make more mortgage adjustments.
2:27: Dorsey says 6 per cent of questions have to do with housing. Next question deals with underwater homeowners.
2:24: Obama says all of us are going to have to make some adjustments, but the principle of collective bargaining rights “has to be protected.”
2:24: Obama says collective bargaining responsible for weekends, minimum wage, overtime, etc.
2:23: Next question asks if Obama has a solution to people losing their collective bargaining rights.
2:22: Obama highlights green jobs record. Returns to the story of advanced battery production in U.S., which was in the single-digits in 2009, and is now at 20 per cent of the global market.
2:19: Obama says not raising the debt ceiling is “irresponsible,” but does not endorse 14th amendment solution.
“There are some people that say it is unconstitutional for congress not to allow Treasury to pay its bills. I don’t think we should even get to the Constitution on this issue.”
2:18: Obama first jokes about the @_RenegadeNerd_’s avatar before answering the question.
2:17: Obama gets question about 14th Amendment and the Debt Ceiling.
2:16: Obama’s answers taking him 1-2 minutes each. They definitely would not fit into 140 characters.
2:15: Next question is on higher-ed. Obama says universities must do their part to make higher-ed affordable by cutting costs.
2:14: Obama celebrates development of tech products, but says we need to make them in the U.S., citing Apple
2:12: The next question is from @dmscott:
#AskObama Tech & knowledge industries are thriving, yet jobs discussion always centres on manufacturing. Why not be realistic about jobs?
2:10: Dorsey says 27 per cent of questions are in the jobs category
2:09: The next question is from @conblog:
“@DrewHampshire: What mistakes have you made in handling this recession and what would you do differently?#askObama”
2:08: Obama asks himself the first question, tweeting from the @WhiteHouse account:
“in order to reduce the deficit,what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep – bo”
2:08: President Obama is a two-handed typer
2:07: Dorsey reminds President Obama that it’s only 140 characters on Twitter.
2:06: BREAKING: PRESIDENT OBAMA IS ABOUT TO TWEET!
2:06: Dorsey says neither he, nor President Obama know the questions.
2:06: President Obama takes the stage at the first Twitter Town Hall.
2:05: Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey takes the stage.
He’s speaking from note cards.
He says over 1 million questions have already been asked on Twitter.
2:04: And here we go.
2:02: There are a few humorous questions for Obama, including this one from @HuffPostHill: “Knock knock. #AskObama”
2:01: We’re waiting for the video feed to start up. Like most White House events, this one is starting a few minutes late.
1:58: The Boston Globe has posted this interesting chart comparing the #AskObama questions to those asked by reporters at White House press briefings.
1:55: Tweet from @DrewHampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader Editorial Page Editor and Twitter Town Hall curator:
“If you’re not tweeting me your questions on the economy for the President, you hate America. #askObama”
1:54: It’s not too late to ask a question. The curators are selecting questions about the economy from tweets with the #AskObama hashtag.
1:50: Twitter has selected eight journalists to serve as “curators” for the event, helping to select the questions Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey will ask Obama.
1:48: Republicans are seizing the opportunity to ask President Obama pointed questions about his economic record.
You can check out a few of them here.
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