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Obama’s Twitter Town Hall


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? #askobama

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.):

#AskObama: are you in as much denial as your ex-auto #czar on “success” of #bailout #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


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