'Coolest President Ever?' Obama Takes to Reddit to Answer Questions
President Barack Obama tried out an unexpected platform to reach voters Wednesday.
The president took to Reddit, a social news website, to answer readers' questions, and boy, did they have questions!
In an "Ask me Anything" thread, readers probed the president with questions ranging from if there has ever been space contact to what economic relief he plans to bring for middle-class America.
Reddit announced the president would be answering the questions starting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on their website — and the president even announced it on his Twitter page.
Obama started the thread with a quick intro.
"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," he stated on the website.
So many comments began to pile in after the session started that Reddit's site experienced some trouble loading comments.
Half an hour into the Q&A session, Reddit's counter showed there were over 1.8 million readers — and counting.
A recent law school graduate who's unemployed and saddled with student-loan debt asked the president what hope he could offer recent graduates facing tough times.
"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," the president replied, noting some his administration's recent efforts to help grads, including allowing them to stay on their parents' health-care plan until they're 26 and lowering debt burdens for some students.
"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," Obama wrote. "I don't promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for long-term growth ... 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."
On taxes, the president said: "We've really focused on this since I came into office — 18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes lower for the 98 percent of small businesses that have $250,000 or less in income, make it easier for small business to access financing, and expand their opportunities to export."
Asked about the influence of money on politics, Obama responded: "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."
The questions ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime — and others simply showed admiration for Obama choosing to use Reddit as a platform for discussion.
"Coolest president ever? Coolest president ever," one user stated on the thread.
Oh, and not to leave anyone out, he did address space exploration.
"Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration ... the key is to make sure that we invest in cutting-edge research that can take us to the next level." the president wrote.
And if you were wondering what the recipe is for the White House's beer, Obama has you covered. "It will be out soon!," he said. "I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty."
When asked about how he balances being the president with his personal life as husband and father, he replied: "The big advantage I have is that I live above the store — so I have no commute!"
"Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner!" Obama said at the end. "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!" the president wrote.