Obama has impromptu online town hall — crashes Reddit

President Obama chose the social news site Reddit for his latest direct-to-voters online town hall Wednesday afternoon…The Reddit forum, or subreddit, went live at four minutes after the hour–and within 15 minutes had more than 2000 comments.

Redditors, per regular forum etiquette, asked Obama to verify his identity, which he did using both a photo and a link to a tweet, signed “-bo,” signalling that he composed the message himself.

“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.”

The site struggled to keep up with the sudden deluge of traffic, with the forum alternately crashing and being placed under read-only constraints.

Once things got going, Obama answered questions about internet freedom, an issue unsurprisingly close to the hearts of Redditors.

“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…”

He railed against dark money and anonymous election donations:

“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 on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

Lots of questions and reasonably straight-arrow answers for someone sitting in the White House. Direct and to the point. I always reserve my criticism for specific issues when they are being covered.

I think he did a solid job. He answered to the protocols and standards of geek netizens. I heard about this about 15 minutes before it started and knew damned well he’d crash the servers. Something that Romney and Ryan probably couldn’t do even with “spontaneous” coordination with both the Tea Party and the NRA.

Read through the whole article and draw your own conclusions.

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