Update: President Obama takes Twitter questions

White House looks to build support for middle class tax cuts

Obama tweeting
President Obama answering questions today on Twitter. (Image: The White House)

President Barack Obama took to Twitter today to try to build support for his tax plan.

The White House announced on the microblogging site earlier today that Obama would take questions on extending middle class tax cuts beginning at 2 p.m. ET. People were able send in their questions on Twitter using the hashtag #My2k.

At first, the hashtag drew more people tweeting about Obama taking questions than actual questions for the president.

Then, at 2 p.m., Obama began what became a lively Twitter discussion with people who submitted questions. He started off by tweeting, "hey guys - this is barack. ready to answer your questions on fiscal cliff & #my2k. Let's get started. -bo"

After that, the questions started rolling in.

"Mr. President, can you assure us that any "fiscal cliff" negotiations regarding entitlement reform will not hurt the most needy? #My2K," tweeted @pmmckenzie.

Obama tweeted back: "@pmmckenzie we can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future -bo"

Later, @davidosteen asked, "@BarackObama Mr. President, Why not place more emphasis on reducing government spending,than on raising revenues? #My2K #WHChat"

Obama responded, tweeting, "@davidosteen (part 1) already cut $1T+ in gov spending last yr. Discretionary spending lowest as % of GDP since ike. #my2k"

He then added, "@davidosteen (part 2) Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D, edu that help growth & jobs, or hurt vulnerable (eg disabled) - bo"

This isn't the first time Obama, known for using technology and Web 2.0 tools since his first presidential campaign, has used Twitter to reach out to constituents.

In July 2011, the White House held its first Twitter town hall forum. In that Twitter effort, Obama took questions on jobs and the economy.

During this year's presidential election, Twitter became a key player for both the Democratic and the Republican campaigns and played a big role during the presidential and vice presidential debates. Social networks have been a part of other elections, but this year marked the first national election since social networking, and Twitter in particular, went mainstream.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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