President Obama fielded a question at his press conference Tuesday from Huffpost Senior News Editor Nico Pitney. Pitney's question, which was sent to him from Iran, was: "Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there isn't that a betrayal of what the demonstrators there are working for?"
Watch the President's response:
After the press conference, Pitney posted the following message on the Iran liveblog discussing how the question came about:
I just returned from President Obama's press conference, where I was
able to ask a question directly on behalf of an Iranian. I can't emphasize enough how grateful I am for all the submissions I received -- both from contacts I've been communicating with for several days, and from many others via email and Facebook and the Farsi-language social networking site Balatarin.
As I tried to say at the press conference, all of the Iranians who are communicating online do so at great risk. It was very courageous of them and I hope the question I ended up choosing did them some justice.
Also, apologies for the light posting today, which will probably continue through the evening. We'll be back at full speed tomorrow.
A few words about how this came about for those who are curious: as readers know, I've spent a lot of time writing and debating about the President's reaction to the events in Iran. Last night, after emailing with a few people about Obama's press conference and what he might
say, I decided to throw it open to our readers. I received a call from White House staff saying they had seen what I'd written and thought the President might be interested in receiving a question directly from an Iranian.
The White House didn't guarantee that I would be able to ask a question. But I decided that if there was even a chance, I should try to reach out to as many Iranians as possible. With the invaluable help from some readers -- Chas, Chuck, and other Iranian Americans I wish I could name because they deserve the credit -- I was able to post a message in Farsi on Twitter and have my request for questions posted late last night on Balatarin. I ended up choosing the question I did because it was one of the consensus questions that many people had suggested.
Thanks also to the White House staff. They were up front about not being able to assure that a question would be asked, they never asked what the question would be, and they helped me move through the very packed briefing room when I showed up a bit late (sorry to the many
toes I stepped on getting through).