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Obama — the social media president

Thursday, August 30, 2012    

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WASHINGTON, USAA (AFP) — President Barack Obama reinforced his image as the social media president yesterday as he took questions from the public in an online chat on the Reddit website.

As Republicans gathered for the nominating convention in Florida, Obama chatted about hurricane relief efforts, the space programme and Internet freedom in a wide-ranging discussion.

"Hey everybody — this is barack," he wrote.

"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."

Obama ignored a wide range of chatter and questions such as "Do you like cats?" while responding in several important political areas.

"Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too," he said.

"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."

The conversation highlighted Obama's wide-ranging use of social media. Last year, he participated in a "Twitter Town Hall" from the East Room of the presidential mansion.

And he promoted the event with a tweet from his verified Twitter account, writing: "Hey, everyone: I'll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here:"

Some participants appeared skeptical or joked about the Reddit appearance.

"For proof, did he send you a picture of him holding a dated index card? Or did the Secret Service land a helicopter on your house?" one user wrote.

To which another replied — in a mocking reference to some who still question Obama's nationality: "He faxed a copy of his birth certificate."

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