Weigh In: What Would YOU Ask the President?


Video courtesy of the White House YouTube channel.

Updated, 10:45 p.m.

Monday’s Daily Download segment examined the White House’s use of social media to bypass the filter of the traditional press.

Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn of Daily Download joined me for a discussion about President Obama’s recent Google Plus Hangout.

We talked about the types of questions posed to the president, and whether this is just the next generation of a savvy White House strategy or an evolution in how the administration communicates with the world.

Dont forget that when he first took office, President Barack Obama addressed Internet censorship at a town hall in China that spread further than similar forums hosted by his predecessors, thanks to YouTube, or that the president wasn’t shy about calling on Huffington Post journalist Nico Pitney to solicit a question from Iran since Pitney had been collecting them via Twitter.

Google Plus dubbed the latest hangout a “Fireside Hangout,” reminiscent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio addresses by the fire that reached more than 35 million households. When Roosevelt spoke, he knew he had everyone’s ear at that moment.

In our hyperspeed technological era, everything is immediate, and everything can be bookmarked to watch later. To that end, like any smart news outlet, the White House edited down the president’s hangout to individual answers and posted those clips to its YouTube page, allowing for easy sharing and a diversification of message.

Among the most popular moments had nothing to do with news, but a showcase of the White House staff doing good presidential prep work. President Obama basically “broke” the Internet by casually dropping video blogger John Green’s “Don’t Forget to be Awesome” in his response to a question about naming Green’s unborn child.

The blogger’s reaction to President Obama using his catchphrase is classic.