|Twitter Town Hall @ The White House|
|July 6, 2011--During a Twitter Town Hall at the White House, President Barack Obama became the first president to live tweet and then fielded 18 questions submitted via Twitter. Obama's live tweet was very much in tune with the ongoing focus on the budget and debt ceiling: "in order to reduce the deficit,what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep - bo." Questions from people around the country were "surfaced" by "curators" and posed to the President by Twitter Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey. Neither Obama nor Twitter knew the questions in advance. Most popular question topics among the 169,395 tweets submitted were jobs (23%), the budget (18%), taxes (18%), education (11%), war (6%) and housing. One of the questions came from Speaker John Boehner. Obama's responses were not limited to 140 characters (summaries of his remarks were produced for Twitter users and tweeted). In the latter part of the town hall, Obama discussed some of the responses to the question he had tweeted at the outset.|
DORSEY: And our next question comes from someone you may
is Speaker Boehner.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, there you go. (Laughter.)
MR. DORSEY: “After embarking on a record spending binge that left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs?” And I want to note that these characters are his fault. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: First of all --
MR. DORSEY: Not his fault, not his fault.
THE PRESIDENT: -- John obviously needs to work on his typing skills. (Laughter.) Well, look, obviously John is the Speaker of the House, he’s a Republican, and so this is a slightly skewed question. (Laughter.) But what he’s right about is that we have not seen fast enough job growth relative to the need. I mean, we lost, as I said, 4 million jobs before I took office, before I was sworn in. About 4 million jobs were lost in the few months right after I took office before our economic policies had a chance to take any effect.
There are a couple of things that we can continue to do. I actually worked with Speaker Boehner to pass a payroll tax cut in December that put an extra $1,000 in the pockets of almost every single American. That means they’re spending money. That means that businesses have customers. And that has helped improve overall growth.
We have provided at least 16 tax cuts to small businesses who have needed a lot of help and have been struggling, including, for example, saying zero capital gains taxes on startups -- because our attitude is we want to encourage new companies, young entrepreneurs, to get out there, start their business, without feeling like if they’re successful in the first couple of years that somehow they have to pay taxes, as opposed to putting that money back into their business.
So we’ve been able to cooperate with Republicans on a range of these issues. There are some areas where the Republicans have been more resistant in cooperating, even though I think most objective observers think it’s the right thing to do. I’ll give you a specific example.
For us to move forward on a major infrastructure initiative where we’re putting people to work right now -- including construction workers who were disproportionately unemployed when the housing bubble went bust -- to put them to work rebuilding America at a time when interest rates are very low, contractors are looking for work, and the need is there, that is something that could make a huge, positive impact on the economy overall. And it’s an example of making an investment now that ends up having huge payoffs down the road.
We haven’t gotten the kind of cooperation that I’d like to see on some of those ideas and initiatives. But I’m just going to keep on trying and eventually I’m sure the Speaker will see the light. (Laughter.)
Other Republican leaders submitted tweets as well, although Boehner's was the only one asked. Mitt Romney tweeted, ".@BarackObama Where are the jobs? Use #ObamaIsntWorking to #askObama your questions for his town hall." Romney also retweeted "RT @nikkihaley Why is your administration supporting the NLRB’s job killing policies in South Carolina? #AskObama" as did Pawlenty. Herman Cain asked, "As a mathematician, I've got to ask: exactly how did you come up with the jobs "created or saved" number, again? #askobama."