(Photo : Reuters)
President Barack Obama is reaching out to American citizens via the Internet with a surprise half hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) Q&A session through the social networking site Reddit. The "interview" kicked off Wednesday at 4:30pm EST. Here's what our President had to say:
"Hey everybody - this is Barack. Just finished a great rally in Charlottesville, and am looking forward to your questions. At the top, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover."
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Moving on past the intro, following are the six questions that Obama was able to answer during the brief Reddit session...
Q: Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?
A: "Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform."
Q: Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?
A: "Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to an asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."
Q: What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term?
A: "The decision to surge our forces in Afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the Taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget."
Q: What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?
A: "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."
Q: Who's your favorite Basketball player?
A: "Jordan - I'm a Bulls guy."
Q: What's the recipe for the White House's beer?
A: "It will be out soon! I can tell from first-hand experience, it is tasty."