President Obama's discussions with House Republicans regarding the upcoming fiscal cliff are not going particularly well. So today the president pulled a surprise move and started discussions with a third party—his Twitter followers. In an unanticipated move, the president sat down on Twitter for about an hour and answered people's questions on the topic of the fiscal cliff.
Dozens of questions were submitted to President Obama. Eight of them were answered. "Dozens" seems like a very small number of people taking advantage of the opportunity to directly engage with the president of the United States. The White House announced the event only hours before it began, though, and the fiscal cliff is frankly not that sexy of a topic.
Nonetheless, President Obama held this Twitter Q&A session to directly answer individual questions on all things fiscal cliff. Yes, the president actually tweeted the answers himself. The full Obama Twitter conversation is captured in chronological order on Storify.
And yes, the president did begin the conversation with the phrase, "hey guys - this is barack". The president showed us that he does not capitalize much when he tweets, except when saying "GDP" or using the letter "T" for "trillion."
A Kentucky fellow named Phillip McKenzie tweeted quite a few questions, and the president chose one of his easy ones. "Mr. President, can you assure us that any "fiscal cliff" negotiations regarding entitlement reform will not hurt the most needy?" McKenzie asked. Of course Obama will say he won't hurt the needy.
The president replied, "we can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future -bo." The lack of specifics was sort of a trend in President Obama's answers.
There were lighthearted moments in the conversation. A purple-haired young lady named Mandi asked a question about budget cuts. The president responded, "cuts w/out revenue = reductions in student loans; work/study & college tax credits expire. Bad for growth. like your hair!"
I read that as the president saying Mandi's hair was bad for economic growth. Apprently, he simply meant it as a compliment.
A Twitter user named Mica asked, "Who will win it all first: Chicago #WhiteSox, #Bulls, or #Bears?".
The President replied, "da bears still gotta shot, despite sad loss this weekend! plus rose will return for playoffs!!!"
You've got to hand it to President Obama. The guy knows how to answer a question without actually answering the question.