Barack Obama today held a “Twitter Townhall,” at which the president agreed to answer questions posed to him on Twitter (marked by the #AskObama hashtag). The tweets were filtered by “a Twitter Search algorithm” that aimed to “identify the most engaged-with Tweets,” but were also subject to further filtering by a panel. So no one will have been surprised by the absence of anything particularly damning or controversial.
Here are a collection of the tweets the president would presumably rather had not been posted:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, asked:
#AskObama Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 798 days. House passed plan 2 lift debt&spur job creation–what is your jobs plan?
#AskObama Fearmongering won’t solve our debt crisis. Americans deserve a real debate. You pick: when and where? #2Futures
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) chipped in:
With 9.1% unemployment & “shovel ready” jobs a bust, will you admit the ‘stimulus’ was a mistake?http://bit.ly/oTK17f #askobama
Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.):
#AskObama: are you in as much denial as your ex-auto #czar on “success” of #bailout? http://bit.ly/nesnzD #tcot #jobs #GM #Ford #Chrysler
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R.) stayed close to home:
Why is your administration supporting the NLRB’s job killing policies in South Carolina? #AskObama
And even the supposedly Obama-friendly AFL-CIO weighed in with the simple but pointed:
Where are the jobs? #AskObama
PBS’s Gwen Ifill asked “why we thought #askobama would be more than a tech platform for the WH.” This was a fair comment, but it didn’t prevent some amusing tweets, none of which made it onto the screens at the event:
David Burge (@iowahawk) published a stream of witty and biting questions, amongst which our favorites were:
#askobama Is this a Town Hall or a Potemkin Village Hall?
#askobama Who are these “those who say”?
#askobama if punishing employers results in more employment, can you also punish beer makers?
#askobama I really need to start living within my means. Do you recommend I start holding up banks or convenience stores?
Andrew Breitbart asked:
When Jeffrey Toobin appears on CNN as a pompous, morally compromised legal expert do you giggle like the rest of us? #AskObama
Explain how attending Hawaii’s elite private Punahou School informed your anti-school choice agenda. #AskObama
@irishspy posed a geography question:
What are the capital cities of states 51 through 57? #askobama
And ranging into the surreal, @thecultureofme asked:
#AskObama how can we kill spiders on a global scale like we’ve done to bees?
Tweet of the Day, however, goes to the unknown Kevin Smith, whose verdict read:
I have never seen anyone who can talk so much and still say absolutely nothing of any intelligence #askobama