Live Blog: CNBC's Town Hall with President Obama
Senior Editor, CNBC
11:41 am EST: The president is on his way! Nice round of applause on that one. He's coming from the White House. Tick, tock, tick, tock. More mike checks for Harwood, dead battery. Mm .. Ever—ready any one?
11:34 am EST: Okay, John's gone for now and it's back to the hits. We've got the 60's, 70's and 80's all right here as we spin our way to 12 noon.
People are up and about. They've been sitting for nearly two hours already. The countdown is on. The pres (sorry, gonna save my fingers for when he's here) is about 20 minutes away. He should be on time as this is LIVE TV. And live bloggin!
11:31 am EST: John Harwood just told the now famous story of how President Obama caught a fly with his hand that was buzzing around when John was interviewing him (click on the link for the fly catching video) some time ago at the White House. He told it well, and got a good laugh. A star is born!
11:29 am EST: Okay, look at the image to your left. You see the chairs for John Harwood and the president and the audience behind them. There's a similar crowd of people facing the two chairs on the other side that you can't see. I'm about 30 feet up in the air looking for a parachute.
11:25 am EST: So John says people at CNBC asked him to think about doing this and about approaching the Obama team and it came about because the White House was interested in talking about the economy.
11:24: am EST: John just asked if anyone wanted to ask a question, like how did this come about. So, someone said, how did this come about?? That got a nice laugh and round of applause.
11:20 am EST: Okay, John Harwood came back to talk to the audience. That practice session worked out well, as he nearly got a standing ovation. He's saying the president wants to hear from the people and that's why he's doing this, and John said for everyone to play it straight with the president. He's now acknowledging all the people who helped put this together.
11:16 am EST: It's Just Another Manic Monday!! No, that's not the new name of this event, just the song that's playing on the sound system right now as people talk and wait for this to begin.
Most are just sitting, talking and talking. I think we're all anxious for this to begin, but we've still got about 40 minutes or so to go.
11:12 am EST: Everyone told to get rid of the gum, no cell phones. A final practice for cheering. You wouldn't think that would happen, but hey, this is show biz no matter how you look at it.
Music back on as there's a break in the action. John Mellencamp now. Or was it John Cougar? Wait, John Cougar Melloncamp. Where is that sound guy?
11:10 am EST: Someone from the audience asked a good question to CNBC's Mary Duffy who's been leading the cheering. Are the questions for the president pre-screened? The answer was yes., but there may be some that are not.
11:07 am EST: Okay, John Harwood was here.. and gone. He did a quick look at the set up and took off for make up and to get miked up. He'll be back to talk to the audience before we begin.
Wonder if he'd do a warm up for Leno.
Okay, it's more than 200 people here, official tally is 227. They've just been told they're on live TV for an hour.
They are getting a bit of a pep talk--"we want you to look interested." They just practiced applauding. First time not loud enough. They did it again. Now I'm deaf. Wow, even that wasn't enough. They did it again. It was louder— 7 on scale of 10. Okay, it was an 8 for me.
10:55 am EST: Hi and welcome to the live blog for Investing in America: A CNBC Town Hall Event with President Obama.
We haven't officially started yet—it's still about an hour before the 12 noon EST start time—but here's what's going on.
We are at the Newseum in Washington DC, a four story building that's an interactive museum on the history of American journalism.
It's located on Pennsylvania Avenue, about half way between the Capitol building and the White House. You can see what it looks like from the outside with the first image we have here.
CNBC has been at the Newseum before, most recently a town hall with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. It's a high tech place with state of the art broadcast facilities. You may know that ABC's "This Week" broadcasts from here each Sunday.
Execs at CNBC have been working on getting this town hall set up for some time, I was told and to say they are more than a little happy it's come off would be an under statement.
CNBC senior political reporter John Harwood is the host. He'll be leading the session as people ask their questions to the president, and I'm sure John will have a few of his own to ask.
One interesting note, no other reporters are in the room. The White House press corps and other reporters are set up in an off shoot room, watching it all on monitors. The only cameras are from CNBC, but other media outlets are covering it.
I've a got a birds eye seat looking over the whole room from a balcony with the sound guy and his tech board right next to me.
Who's in the audience? About 200 men and women (no kids), described by CNBC as "a cross section of Americans who are interested in the economy. From college students and union workers to small business owners and retirees." The questions are going to focus on the economy, jobs, Wall Street, banking.
Guests started lining up outside the Newseum about 8 am this morning. Security, needless to say has been tight. Like an airport: bags checked at three different points, computers and phones must be on for the Secret Service to look at, no water bottles. We didn't have to take off our shoes— and belts stayed on.
The room is just about full now, as guests are taking their seats. The room has two sections of chairs on risers, with about a hundred people on each side. Just kind of imagine a very small oval shaped football stadium.