Barack Obama Reddit AMA: President Participates In 'Ask Me Anything' Thread

08/29/2012 04:35 pm ET | Updated Aug 30, 2012
  • Craig Kanalley Senior Editor, Big News & Live Events, The Huffington Post

"I am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA"

With that, President Obama sent waves across the Internet and prompted an explosion of tweets, introducing his very own "Ask Me Anything" Reddit thread, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

(Scroll down for his responses)

Reddit moderators and administrators quickly confirmed it was actually Obama in the comment thread, and Obama himself posted on his verified campaign Twitter account that it was indeed him.

The IAmA Reddit series allows Reddit users to ask questions of people from many walks of life, as seen here, and vote up their favorite questions and responses. It is a crowd-sourced Q&A of sorts hosted by the Internet.

The Washington Post reports that Obama is hosting the Q&A during a campaign stop in the same city Reddit was born in 2005 -- Charlottesville, Va.

08/29/2012 5:30 PM EDT

Obama Answers 10 Questions

Obama included the following in his 10th and final response:

"Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. "

So looks like that's it. Scroll down for a look back at his responses and find the full thread here.

08/29/2012 5:27 PM EDT

Obama On Reddit: "NOT BAD!"

In case you missed it, in one of his responses, Obama wrote: "if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!"

08/29/2012 5:21 PM EDT

Obama's Longest Response

Obama's response on unemployment and the economy was 297 words long. It was posted 15 minutes after his previous post on the White House beer for the longest gap between posts.

08/29/2012 5:12 PM EDT

Balancing Personal Life With POTUS

gobearss asks, "How do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?"

Obama's response:

It's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!

08/29/2012 5:11 PM EDT

On Unemployment

Reddit user hmlee posts:

I am recent law school graduate. Despite graduating from a top school, I find myself unemployed with a large student loan debt burden. While I'm sure my immediate prospects will improve in time, it's difficult to be optimistic about the future knowing that my ability to live a productive life -- to have a fulfilling career, to buy a house, to someday raise a family -- is hampered by my debt and the bleak economic outlook for young people. I know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Many of us are demoralized. Your 2008 campaign was successful in large part due to the efforts of younger demographics. We worked for you, we campaigned for you, and we turned out in record numbers to vote for you. What can I say to encourage those in similar situations as I am to show up again in November? What hope can you offer us for your second term?

Obama's response:

I understand how tough it is out there for recent grads. You're right - your long term prospects are great, but that doesn't help in the short term. Obviously some of the steps we have taken already help young people at the start of their careers. Because of the health care bill, you can stay on your parent's plan until you're twenty six. Because of our student loan bill, we are lowering the debt burdens that young people have to carry. But the key for your future, and all our futures, is an economy that is growing and creating solid middle class jobs - and that's why the choice in this election is so important. The other party has two ideas for growth - more taxs cuts for the wealthy (paid for by raising tax burdens on the middle class and gutting investments like education) and getting rid of regulations we've put in place to control the excesses on wall street and help consumers. These ideas have been tried, they didnt work, and will make the economy worse. I want to keep promoting advanced manufacturing that will bring jobs back to America, promote all-American energy sources (including wind and solar), keep investing in education and make college more affordable, rebuild our infrastructure, invest in science, and reduce our deficit in a balanced way with prudent spending cuts and higher taxes on folks making more than $250,000/year. I don't promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for long term growth for your generation, and for generations to follow. So don't be discouraged - we didn't get into this fix overnight, and we won't get out overnight, but we are making progress and with your help will make more.

08/29/2012 5:07 PM EDT

Reddit Experiencing Site Problems

If you're having trouble accessing Reddit right now, you're not alone.

Many Twitter users are saying they can't log on. You may see the message: "reddit is under heavy load right now, sorry. Try again in a few minutes."

08/29/2012 5:04 PM EDT

How This Happened

Peter Kafka explains on AllThingsD how Reddit got Obama to do the Q&A.

According to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit:

There’s not a lot to it. I’ve gotten to know quite a few folks in the WH & Obama campaign team over the years and it was always something I brought up when I got the chance. There are quite a few redditors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and at the campaign HQ — given the prominence of reddit, it’s an easy sell.

Read more on AllThingsD.

08/29/2012 4:59 PM EDT

White House Beer

Silent1mezzo asks, "What's the recipe for the White House's beer?"

Obama responds, "It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty."

08/29/2012 4:58 PM EDT

Money And Politics

Suzmerk asks, "What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?"

Obama responds:

Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress - to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.

08/29/2012 4:56 PM EDT

Nearly 2 Million Readers

According to Reddit's counter, the AMA has had 1,853,997 readers so far (and counting).

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