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Live from the White House, a Familiar Town Hall Format


President Obama holds a town hall-style meeting to discuss the economy with about 100 invited participants in the East Room of the White House. The meeting was simultaneously broadcast over the internet. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama, who used the Internet as a prime driver of his successful campaign for office, turned to the Web today in an effort to rally support to drive his economic agenda.

For almost an hour and a half, the president , microphone in hand, paced the East Room of the White House, answering questions culled from 104,000 sent in via the Internet. Online voters nominated the most popular questions, which were then posed to the president by a moderator. The president took other queries from a live audience of about 100 nurses, teachers, business people and others assembled at the White House.

The White House called the "Open for Questions" town hall -- which included several YouTube video questions -- a way of directly connecting everyday Americans with the president. "I promised to open up the White House to the American people," Obama said at that start of the session. The session "marks an important step to achieving that goal," he added.

But despite the technical elements and the regal venue, the meeting had the feel of, say, a presidential town hall in Denver. Or even a campaign event.

VIDEO | Obama Touts Refinancing During Web Town Hall
Obama was asked questions about topics such as health care, education, the economy, the state of the auto industry and housing. In most cases, his responses allowed him to tout policies laid out in his $3.6 trillion budget proposal, his housing bailout plan and in the recently enacted economic stimulus plan.

Obama said he will share his administration's plans for helping ailing automakers within the next few days, reiterating his belief that the country needs a strong domestic automobile industry but that the automakers must develop a sustainable business model.

On job creation, he warned that the dramatic job losses that the nation has seen in recent months is not likely to be reversed before the end of the year. In response to a question about when jobs that have been moved to foreign countries may return, the president was not reassuring.

"Not all of these jobs are going to come back," he said, adding that many of the jobs lost were low-skill and often low-wage work. The nation's economic future, he said, should be tied to creating high skill, well-paying jobs in fields such as renewable energy that would be difficult to move out of the country.

Obama said one of the most popular questions posed was whether legalization of marijuana could contribute to economic growth. "I don't know what this says about the online audience," the president joked, before turning serious and saying it would not be a good idea.

Obama also explained the thinking about his health care reform proposals and his plan to dramatically boost federal education spending and make college more affordable by expanding federal financial aid programs. Although the federal budget is laboring under a huge deficit, he said, the investments are needed to spur economic growth and to slow the spiraling cost increases in health care.

In a departure from the campaign trail-like atmosphere, Obama told the townhall participants that while he loved them and would love to stay and pose for pictures after it ended, he was on a tight schedule and couldn't spare the time. And then he left.

Posted at 1:58 PM ET on Mar 26, 2009  | Category:  New Media
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JakeHappiness:

How about because potheads becoming President of the United States is the rare exception not the rule?

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2009 12:29 PM

Clearly the legalization of marijuana is a political hot potato, but it is getting a bit insulting that when it is consistently a top question from supporters, he just blows it off with a trite comment.

If he thinks it is, "a bad idea", which it is not, then how about telling us why he thinks so instead of avoiding it??

Posted by: JakeHappiness | March 27, 2009 11:04 AM

Posted by: htruman March 26, 2009

"... please stop mooching off of MY (as in mine, the city I live in, and other like-minded, productive cities that voted unanimously for BO in last election) ..." EMPHASIS ADDED.

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2009 2:03 AM

The GOP can't respond. Boehner can't be against all government solutions and propose better government solutions at the same time.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 26, 2009 11:57 PM

Nevadaandy:

At least Reagan and Bush were "natural born" citizens.

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:26 PM

-----------------------------------------

Spoken like a true fiscal conservative.

Pop question for you Jakey, who was the last Republican president to oversee a balanced budget? Hint, you're going to have look back a few years to identify this individual.

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 9:39 PM

__________________________________________________________

There is really only one completely honest and accurate way to describe Barack Obama...


He is simply an As* Hole

_______________________________________________

Posted by: StarsAndStripesForever | March 26, 2009 9:36 PM

Thanks Obama for showing me that whitehouse.gov is just a way for people to "think" they are getting through to you. If the marijuana prohibition issue was so high on the list, you could have at least had a rational discussion about it. I voted and campaigned for you but this hurts, I'm done with you if you don't take our voice more responsibly.

Posted by: christophster | March 26, 2009 6:20 PM

------------------------------------------

Is it just me, or is this tonight's winner of the most overtly fake posting award?

(As in a sorry effort by a right wing troll to pass themselves off as a disaffected democrat youth.)

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 9:34 PM

He didn't get 100% ANYWHERE!

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:08 PM

Your persistent dwelling on the inconsequential is hilarious!

Keep it up fake Democrat, but real Republican propaganda parrot!

Keep on squawking nonsense. It's what Republicans do effortlessly, but also mindlessly.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | March 26, 2009 9:20 PM

FairlingtonBlade:

That's not true (children of foreign diplomats, for instance). Besides, the basic question of whether Obama was born in these United States still has not been answered. Why won't he consent to the release of his LONG FORM birth certificate?

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:55 PM

-------------------------------

Once again the fake Democrat, but real Republican propaganda parrot is squawking, again.

The voters voted for Obama, Congress approved the vote, Supreme Court Justice Roberts swore him in.

That means Obama is indeed the Constitutionally legal President of the United States.

End of story.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | March 26, 2009 9:12 PM

Good luck with the 1-20-2013 stuff right wingers. Wait, I can see it now! The slogan for your savior Mitt Romney -- "He was for it before he was against it, abortion that is".

Good luck with that!!

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 9:09 PM

hippychk - President Obama had nothing to do with you losing your job to Mexico. Etrade's been in the dumps for some time as evidenced by the fact that not a single eligible suitor has shown any interest in acquiring the firm upon reviewing its toxic balance sheet. If you want to blame anyone, send a thank you note to Phil Gramm, who helped overturn Glass Steagell, and who shot down the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) back in the late 90's when they gasp!, wanted to mandate transparency, uniformity, and minimum capital sufficiency requirements on the derivative swaps market. Toxic derivatives are otherwise known as the dagger in Etrade's heart.

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 9:05 PM

htruman:

There's NO American city that voted "unanimously" for Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:00 PM

-------------------------------------------

JakeD, I never said as much. The broader phenomenon that I was pointing out was that more and more it is the high tax paying, most innovative and productive block of the American society that is voting Dem. This was particularly apparent in the 2008 where we witnessed a massive Obama landslide (as in 72% and more of the population in his favor) in all the major Federal tax dollar generators of this nation (e.g., San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Portland, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Philly, etc.,etc….). Extrapolating on this irrefutable fact I think that it is laughable that all you Federal tax mooching Republicans (yes a generalization, but since the Republicans are now the marginalized party of rural, low-skill America it’s a fair generalization nevertheless) have the audacity to lecture us, or threaten us as the case happened to be, with withholding our Fed tax dollars.

Still sulking over the economic schooling I gave you yesterday?

How about this, we'll give you BO's birth certificate, again, under the condition that Bush + Cheney go to jail on account of the fact that they have 4 DUIs between them. A perfect analogy for they did to this country if you ask me. Good luck figuring out the difference between lagging and leading economic indicators :)

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 8:55 PM

I just e-mailed the post to indicate that right-wing nutjobs piled on with offensive posts.

Remember: Your IP addresses are ALL BEING RECORDED!

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 26, 2009 8:52 PM

Obama and this administration can be sued by the people for conspiracy to defraud concerning pot laws.Adults can opt to use or not use alcohol which the Govern't profiteers from in taxes.At a deadly price.Prohibition on cannabis reeks of a conspiracy by the justice department to keep it illegal so the legalists can all profiteer from it's lucrative spoils.NORML has enough members who will testify against the Justice Department so as to make a fool out of them all costing millions in reparations.The damages to good people's psyches alone from being exposed to prisons and jails constitutes cruelty for profit also.Lawyers need to get a real job instead of being leaches on the courts and not civil litigants for the people-the victims.Legal remedy with a jury of qualified peers will nail this circle jerk once and for all.The sadists and satanists need to take a seat.High costs+DAMAGES will be reimbursed in a court where competency is measured before the deciders of a case can sit on a jury or vote.The Hispanics in the Valley in Texas at least have a jury of their peers working for them.They stick together and beat the system.The lawyer cabol in South Texas use cops to set-up cases they can plea deal out for money.That and/or get fines and jail time reduced or eliminated with the help of their judge buddies via(donations).It's a racket.Plea deals where they all win.Even the Mayor of Brownsville,Tx scoffs at the laws.Local cobals who profiteer from jailhouse calls to outside payoffs to local graft for contracts and kickbacks included.Sound familar?From jail drug sales to bondsmen getting collateral for thousands legally.Is Obama so naive that he can't get it about abuses in the legal system concerning cannabis and the legal system abuses?Maybe not!Time will not be on his side if he chooses to wait!LDG_1

Posted by: LDG_1 | March 26, 2009 8:36 PM

Legalizing marijuana would help reduce the violent gang wars going on in Mexico. Cocaine and methamphetamine increase violence. Cannabis reduces aggressive behavior. Home-grown would replace the need for cross-border transport of drugs. Legalization of cannabis would reduce the demand for drugs from Mexico. It might not help the economy but it would take some of the pain out of unemployment and allow the country to sit back and take a fresh look at understanding who and what got us into this mess. And don't forget - Ronald Reagan started the cocaine/Contra drug running from Central America to subvert Congress' prohibition of funding the attack on Nicaragua. Ronald Reagan started the "counter-terrorism" training that proposed public violent murder as a political technique. We own a part of this violent Mexican drug war -- and could do a lot to stop it by discussing the legalization of marijuana.

Posted by: DrDan20001 | March 26, 2009 7:59 PM

For the first time in my life I am embarrassed to be BLACK. America finally gave Black folks a chance to play in the sand box and this idot now wants to send all the sand over seas. he claims that the jobs that are being sent over seas are low paying jobs that Americans don't want. Well I lost my $80K job at ETRADE when they sent it to India. Obama is determined to help 3rd world countries by draining America of our jobs. Those jobs that he can't send over seas will be given to illegal Mexicans. The people who will be hurt the most are Blacks as these are our jobs that he is giving away. Unfortunately Black people are too stupid to see what is coming down the pike. For once in our generation we need to wake up and do something...Impeach this guy before he does more damage than the Republicans ever did!

Posted by: hippychk | March 26, 2009 7:57 PM

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 7:56 PM

1-20-2013

Posted by: mpg515 | March 26, 2009 7:37 PM

LOL! The other Night, as I was watching O'Bomba deliver his Speech;

I had to wonder:

With those ears;

can he pick up Radar like a Bat? ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 26, 2009 7:30 PM

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 26, 2009 6:28 PM

Obama is such a shining light. Bless you, Barack Obama!

President Obama is a gift to this country. Unfortunately many of the cynical and sorry people responding to this article simply do not deserve him.

-----------------------------------------

And then...this one time at band camp...we all took magic mushrooms and saw Obama in a vision...

Posted by: Straightline | March 26, 2009 7:10 PM

oh, this is weird

the alien teleprompter now runs a town hall
it can answer questions in complete sentences
making jokes too
making coherent argument
proposing plans

this is a upgrade from the previous TI model 43, which could not read, nor make any sense, except spewing stuff about tax cut and iraq

Posted by: JoeBridgeman | March 26, 2009 6:57 PM

FairlingtonBlade:

That's not true (children of foreign diplomats, for instance). Besides, the basic question of whether Obama was born in these United States still has not been answered. Why won't he consent to the release of his LONG FORM birth certificate?

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:55 PM

Buzzm - take a pill. Take a few. Any child born in these United States of America is a citizen of this proud country. That is the Constitution and no like-minded xenophobes are going to change it. And YOU need to go. Perhaps to Germany or Austria where you'll find similar attitudes.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 26, 2009 6:48 PM

pgr88 -

Gee, somebody ought to make that kind of thing illegal.

Maybe we should limit the pay of corporate board members and restrict how they spend their money.

Oops! GOP says we can't do that!
Because that kind of government interference would be SOCIALIST!

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 26, 2009 6:46 PM

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:34 PM

Rahm Emanuel was director when Freddie Mac board was tipped to a fraudulent bonus scheme. On Rahm Emanuel's watch, the Freddie Mac board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass.


The accounting scandal wasn't the only one that brewed during Emanuel's tenure. During his brief time on the board, the company hatched a plan to enhance its political muscle. That scheme, also reviewed by the board, led to a record $3.8 million fine from the Federal Election Commission for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians.


Emanuel was the beneficiary of one of those parties after he left the board and ran in 2002 for a seat in Congress from the North Side of Chicago. The board was throttled for its acquiescence to the accounting manipulation in a 2003 report by Armando Falcon Jr., head of a federal oversight agency for Freddie Mac. The scandal forced Freddie Mac to restate $5 billion in earnings and pay $585 million in fines and legal settlements. It also foreshadowed even harder times at the firm. Many of those same risky investment practices tied to the accounting scandal eventually brought the firm to the brink of insolvency and led to its seizure last year by the Bush administration, which pledged to inject up to $100 billion in new capital to keep the firm afloat.

Posted by: pgr88 | March 26, 2009 6:33 PM

Obama is such a shining light. Bless you, Barack Obama!

President Obama is a gift to this country. Unfortunately many of the cynical and sorry people responding to this article simply do not deserve him.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 26, 2009 6:28 PM

Nevadaandy:

At least Reagan and Bush were "natural born" citizens.

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:26 PM

christophster:

Thank you. I just wish more of you in PA, OH, IN, MN, VA, and NC had come to that realization last November.

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:23 PM

For those who don't support the President, you need to review what's happened since the Golden Age of Reaganomics.

In the decade of the 1980’s the U.S. was transformed from the world’s largest creditor nation to the world’s largest debtor nation. Throughout the 1980’s conservatives argued that this really didn’t matter.

At the end of 1986 the U.S. had a national debt of $269 billion, at the end of 1987 it was $368 billion, but by 1992 it was $3.5 trillion. It was the greatest economic miscalculation in recorded world history.

It is not enough to describe the U.S. as the world’s richest nation between 1945 and 1992. What is more important is the distribution of its wealth.

The U.S. by 1984 had the greatest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation in world history.

In 1953 there were 27,000 millionaires, in 1964 90,000 millionaires, in 1972 180,000, in 1980 574,000, and in 1988 1.3 million.
In 1981 there were perhaps 10 billionaires in the U.S., 26 in 1986, 49 in 1987 and 52 in 1988. No parallel upsurge of riches had ever been seen since the late 19th century of the Vanderbilts, Morgans and Rockefellers.

But the downside to all this concentration of wealth was that wages—the principal source of middle and lower class income had stagnated through 1986. The Reagan decade was a heyday for unearned income as rents, dividends, capital gains and interest gained relative to wages and salaries as a source of wealth and growing economic inequality.

Remember who was in the White House in the 80's? Reagan and Bush. They turned Washington into a Plutocracy - a government run by and for the wealthy.
During this time government did little to stem the spiraling costs of health care, the environment. Now not only do we have to undo the plutocracy, we also have to ensure we stablize the spiraling costs of health care and energy which if left to these plutocrats will result in more devasting problems for the nation in the next 10 years.

Pres Obama needs to be given the support of We the People to stop the wide spread problems that face our nation. He didn't create the mess we're in, and it certainly is going to take time and yes money to get us out of it. He's using all available methods to get his message out to We the people. This is the first president in my 58 years who really took his message to the people. I always heard about FDR's fireside chats and how popular they were but never in my life had a President who came close to doing what FDR did, now I do and I appreciate that he keeps We the people informed. Now it's up to those who support the President to get our elected officials on the hill to do the same or face losing re-election.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | March 26, 2009 6:22 PM

Thanks Obama for showing me that whitehouse.gov is just a way for people to "think" they are getting through to you. If the marijuana prohibition issue was so high on the list, you could have at least had a rational discussion about it. I voted and campaigned for you but this hurts, I'm done with you if you don't take our voice more responsibly.

Posted by: christophster | March 26, 2009 6:20 PM

I used to be a huge supporter of Obama until today. It was downright unsympathetic the way he addressed the serious marijuana prohibition issue. I will not vote for Obama again in 2012 unless he ditches the politics as usual and starts listening to the rational citizens of this country.

If marijuana were discovered today it would be considered a miracle drug. It makes me so upset that Obama and the audience just laugh at this issue.

Posted by: christophster | March 26, 2009 6:08 PM

The better Obama does, the more the wing nuts squeal and squirm. It's like a passel of stuck pigs here.

Posted by: nodebris | March 26, 2009 5:51 PM

_________________________________________

What has the Messiah done right? Going on Leno and mocking handicapped people, being asked on 60 Minutes if he's punch drunk, doubling our debt within his first few months in office, sounding like a complete idiot without a teleprompter, insulting England, YouTubing a video to Iran, pissing off the EU-just to name a few, doesn't sound like he's doing "better" at anything. When are you going to admit lib that a celebrity affirmative-action candidate is NOT what this country needed?

"Imagine no liberals, what a wonderful world it would be!"

Posted by: trippermeow | March 26, 2009 6:08 PM

It would be hard to find two congressional districts any more different than New York's 16th, a compact area of the south Bronx that is overwhelmingly Hispanic and black, and Texas' 13th, a 40,000-square-mile expanse in and around the state's conservative Panhandle.

These two districts respectively produced the highest vote percentages for Barack Obama and John McCain, according to a CQ Politics analysis of the presidential results in all 435 congressional districts.

McCain won more than 76 percent of the vote in Texas' 13th, which includes Amarillo and is represented by eight-term Republican William M. "Mac" Thornberry.

McCain won all 44 counties that are wholly or partly in the 13th, topped by the 93 percent he received in sparsely populated King County (which had all of 356 people as of the 2000 census).

Obama took 95 percent of the vote in New York's 16th District.

http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/eyeon2010/2009/03/tale-of-two-districts-the-sout.html

He didn't get 100% ANYWHERE!

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:08 PM

mhr614:

Kinda sad, isn't it?

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:05 PM

Obama took only 72 percent of the vote in Hawaii, his highest vote share in any state. Obama’s performance was a big uptick from Democrat John Kerry ’s 54 percent to 45 percent win over President Bush in Hawaii’s 2004 vote. That was not, however, an all-time record in Hawaii. President Lyndon B. Johnson took 79 percent there in his 1964 national landslide.

Vermont, another of the most strongly Democratic-voting states in the nation, was the next best for Obama, who led McCain by 67 percent to 32 percent. Rhode Island, a longtime Democratic presidential bastion, went for Obama by 63 percent to 35 percent.

Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:04 PM

Millions of people voted for Obama in the hope that he would pay their mortgages and save them the inconvenience of paying taxes- much like Geithner enjoys. "Trillions of dollars of debt" means not a thing to people who will never be burdened with dealing with it. They are like children waiting happily for the lollipops to start falling from the sky. Obama is a modern day Wizard of Oz only infinitely more scheming and devious. And always with that idiotic smile on his face: "Who-me? Worry?"

Posted by: mhr614 | March 26, 2009 6:02 PM

htruman:

There's NO American city that voted "unanimously" for Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 6:00 PM

youaresquishy:

When you claim you "do not participate in crimes of any sort" that means you've never used marijuana or even had a speeding ticket?

Posted by: JakeD | March 26, 2009 5:57 PM

Regarding the marijuana prohibition issue, it was the "online audience" that got you elected Mr. Obama so by just nonchalantly dismissing this question you offended a huge portion of your support base. Ending marijuana prohibition is not a "stoner" issue, it is a human rights issue. Everybody should watch the documentary "Escape to Canada" which can be found on youtube. This is the time to advance our country and let rationality trump politics as usual.

Posted by: christophster | March 26, 2009 5:56 PM

Clinton sat back and stayed out of the way while people like Bill Gates, capitalism and a stable economy left by Bush provided the financial successes of the Clinton Adminstration. Hey sequoia-looks like your mommy's girlfriend told you one too many bedtime stories. Time to wake up and grow up!

Posted by: trippermeow | March 26, 2009 4:22 PM
***************

Clinton "stayed out of the way," which would be a good thing, right? Gore reduced the size of government; good thing, right? Bush I RAISED TAXES responsibly; good thing, right?

Bush II lowered taxes, incurred deficits, relaxed regulation and oversaw one of the worst collapses in American history.

None of the above had to deal with a depression, like the current president.

I think most folks understand who the child in the room was and is.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:32 PM

Hey stupid, Bush was in office for 8 years. For 6 of those years the economy was in great shape. The problems didn't begin until the worthless 110 Congress convened. (Democratically controlled) and destroyed the economy. Quit spreading lies you sound like Obama. And we know he's a POS.

Posted by: askgees | March 26, 2009 5:54 PM

I have to wonder - who elected this incompetent boob/colorful speaker? I have yet to speak to anyone of accomplishment who voted for him. And no, by "accomplishment" I do NOT mean wealthy - I simply mean independent thinking, able to read and write and speak in complete sentences, do basic math, and distinguish household poisons from edibles. I guess it was first-time voters who have yet to read, evaluate, and think independently, see substance beneath style, or do anything of any consequence.

Posted by: Mike58 | March 26, 2009 5:53 PM

Amusing that under Bush, Wall Street was addicted to investing in derivatives.

Under Obama, Wall Street is now becoming addicted to investing in bailouts.

The former has already blown a big hole in our economic future.

The latter will finish us off for good.

Just one Big Con following another !!

Posted by: bandcyuk | March 26, 2009 5:52 PM

The better Obama does, the more the wing nuts squeal and squirm. It's like a passel of stuck pigs here.

Posted by: nodebris | March 26, 2009 5:51 PM

Finally, we have an Educator in Chief! This Obama is SUPER FANTASTIC!

We are so fortunate to have this wonderful man.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 26, 2009 5:48 PM

Absolute_0-K, I read the entire thing, beginning to end. There is no indication in my earlier post that I did not. Your theory, that I failed to read the small paraphraph's worth of words he used to dismiss the marijuana decriminalization question I criticized, is absurd, unless it was really just an attempt to insult my reading comprehension ability, in which case you should know that it doesn't say much for your intellectual prowess to resort to insulting those with whom you disagree.

abqcleve, I am not in a prison cell. I am an attorney who graduated from a top ten law school (Boalt Hall - look it up) and have been practicing for 11 years. I do not do participate in crimes of any sort. Your leap, from the fact that I object to Mr. Obama's ridicule of the questioning of current marijuana policy, to the conclusion that I must therefore be in a prison cell, is fairly good evidence that you may well be very ignorant about this issue and/or seriously intellectually challenged.

Mr. Obama ridiculed the notion of legalizing marijuana, clearly. The fact that the issue was raised in the context of a discussion of the economy does not change the fact that he ridiculed and impliedly insulted the many Americans that had the same question. If you don't think "I don't know what this says about the online audience" doesn't count as an implied insult, you're just being dishonest.

It does not take a genius to understand that legalizing marijuana would improve the economy. It does not take a genius to understand that millions of Americans use and sell marijuana illegally, that there is every reason to think that many would continue using it if criminal punishments were no longer an issue, that sellers would be much more likely to report and pay income tax on their income from marijuana sales if criminal punishments were no longer an issue, and that a vice tax on top of that could be imposed and enforced by the federal government if marijuana were legally sold.

It is a serious issue--at its most serious when it comes to the thousands who are rotting away in jail or prison cells because of the U.S.'s ridiculous marijuana policy--and it is also relevant to the economy. The notion that marijuana should be legalized should not have been ridiculed, regardless of the context, and the President, especially in light of the fact that he is an admitted former marijuana user, certainly has no business just laughing at it and putting down the many Americans who asked him about it.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 26, 2009 5:44 PM

Obama should change his name to Mr. Campaign. That's all he knows. When he's in trouble he runs to the Town Hall meetings. Pathetic. Let's see how long it is before this nit wit reverse course on his marijuana position. He'll be legalizing it with in the next 6 months because they'll need the money. Your safety is number one; I mean number 2 I mean it comes after we get our cash.

Posted by: askgees | March 26, 2009 5:42 PM

All Obama all the time appears to be following the lead of President Chavez of Venezuela who talks for hours every day to the people of that nation. To make sure everyone was listening, he ordered the takeover of other media outlet. Chavez used the powers given him by his puppet legislature to take over sea ports, airports and other public/private business in nation especially in areas that still oppose his one man rule. This appears to be America's future under the present puppet congress and President.

Posted by: browncow | March 26, 2009 5:40 PM

#9. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!


Posted by: buzzm11 | March 26, 2009 5:26 PM

------------------------------------------

Hhhhmmmm, do you mean cities such as San Francisco? I do believe so, ahem, ahem, which is hmmmm, priceless, given that the rest of Real America is too busy mooching off our tax dollars (think Alaska, Utah, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, etc., etc.) for you loonies to withhold Federal tax dollars from our city.

(Yes I realize that this is an exaggeration, but maybe you get the point?)

What I'm trying to say in nutshell buzzm11 is please stop mooching off of MY (as in mine, the city I live in, and the other like-minded, highly productive cities that voted unanimously for BO in last election) before recommencing with your rant about the correct utilization of Fed tax dollars.

Posted by: htruman | March 26, 2009 5:36 PM

Obama is fantastic.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 26, 2009 5:30 PM

Well, King Hussein Obama continues to prove that while he is completely inept at governing (turning over the reins of gov't to Pelosi and Reed) - he remains a masterful campaigner. In the meantime, the hidden agenda - the total sublimation of Americans to the government for the purpose of total power and dictatorship - is quietly at work. Just wait until we start with the Zieg Heil's at the 21st century American equivalent of the Nuremburg Rallies. Watch out, real Americans. This phony "leader," elected by foreign dollars and the votes of the uninformed, is taking us down a dangerous path. The right to bear arms may become the most important right granted by our Founding Fathers, who must be collectively sick to their stomachs.

Posted by: Mike58 | March 26, 2009 5:27 PM


ENFORCE OUR LAWS AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!!!

THERE WILL BE NO AMNESTY!!!

OUR ACCEPTABLE IMMIGRATION REFORM

#1. Make Illegal Entry a Felony Permanently Barring Citizenship
#2. Secure Our Borders with our National Guard!!!
#3. Mandate E-Verify for ALL Employees!!!
#4. Cut Off ALL Public Assistance to Illegals and Their Children!!!
#5. Stop the Underground Economy!!!
#6. End Birthright Citizenship for Illegals!!!
#7. End Chain Migration!!!
#8. Make English our Official Language!!!
#9. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!

NOTHING MORE!!! NOTHING LESS!!!

ALL ILLEGALS NEED TO GO!!!

Posted by: buzzm11 | March 26, 2009 5:26 PM

On a day where IBM announced the layoff of 5000 high skilled, high wage jobs being outsourced to India President Obama stated in his town hall meeting that the solution to the outsourcing problem is to create high skill, high wage jobs. The very jobs that he said are the solution to outsourcing are being outsourced. When will our politicians realize that the high tech jobs they promote as an economic panacea are exactly the jobs being sent offshore?

Posted by: OutForJustice | March 26, 2009 5:23 PM

Thespian-in-Chief is at it again. Executive skills are sorely missing with this man...self-adulation is in abundence...

Posted by: seawolfR | March 26, 2009 5:15 PM

fsartori-

LOL! :-D

And just what flavor of Kool-Aid are you enjoying?

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 26, 2009 5:11 PM

ATTENTION CONGRESS....
Bottom line: it's not a budget plan, it's a SPENDING SPREE! Since Obama refuses to live up to his word (which he gave in Denver) to review the federal budget line by line and cut wasteful spending, it's up to you.

American taxpayers in these tight times (especially if you or your spouse has lost a job) have had to make cuts in our budgets. Not out of choice, but necessity.

CONGRESS, as elected government, you are charged to lead us in making the hard decisions, even the painful cuts in budgets to programs.

Please don't make a spending mistake in the name of a "bi-partisan" compromise. There is no compromise from the bank when I have no money in my account. Stand up and lead - say no to endless spending. Make the hard choices.

You took an oath of office, live up to it. Please, I beg of you, for the future of the US.

Posted by: Citizen411 | March 26, 2009 5:04 PM

Today Mr. Obama said those jobs that left are not coming back and would not substain us, being low paying. We need jobs that cannot be oursourced. We need to put in meters in our homes, lay cable lines to the homes, and we need electricians, govt electrians of course, and what is next.

Translation: When all jobs of govt. jobs they cannot be oursourced. Then we need meter checkers to make sure that everyone uses their washers and dryers according to schedule. Then we won't need more electricity sources like nuclear and coal. We may have to waive electrician training requirements.

We have listened for 8 years while Harry Reid has said our govt. is spying on us. How many times did Harry, Nancy, et al complain that we were outsourcing THESE SAME JOBS.

Change we can believe in.

Posted by: gsms69 | March 26, 2009 5:02 PM

President Obama, you make so much sense; I wish more people would listen to what you say and do and NOT to the propaganda being shoved down their throats by hateful un-Americans. Keep up the solid foundation you are building; you have a GREAT deal of support from those of us who can be objective.

Posted by: fsartori | March 26, 2009 4:52 PM

I really liked this format. When I think about other communicator presidents, people like JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, it seems to me they spoke "to" us. Obama seems to speak "with" us. His speaking also involves some listening without the press or congresspeople as intermediaries.

Sarah Palin trashed Obama because he had been a community organizer. I think that part of his resume might be one of the best things about his presidency. He seems to be able to involve the people more than any other president in my 67-year lifetime.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 26, 2009 4:50 PM

OBAMA DEPRESSION SETS NEW UNEMPLOYMENT RECORD

Today’s Wash Po just reported:

WASHINGTON -- The number of laid-off Americans filing initial jobless benefit claims rose slightly last week while the number of people continuing to claim benefits set a record for the ninth straight week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

RESPONSE– Setting a record for Unemployment for the 9th Straight week ??????

Hmm– How long has Obama been in office? 61 days.

How long is 9 straight weeks for the record 9 x 7 = 63 days

TEAM OBAMA– HAD A BIG BOWL OF STUPID FOR BREAKFAST

AND ARE GOING BACK FOR REFILLS

Posted by: JaxMax | March 26, 2009 4:50 PM

Yep,you betcha Rookie Presient Trainee and
Messiah Loser in Chief Barack Hussein Obama
the President Nancy Pelosi Stooge is so far
in over his head that the only way to deal
with the even bigger then George W Bush's
Mess that Ding Dong Baracky Whacky Obama
is making out of everything is IMPEACH Both
Barack Hussein Obama and VP Draft Dodger 2
Joe the motor mouth Biden and Kick Mad Madame President Nancy Pelosi and Las Vegas
Choo Choo Train Harry Reid out of office!
And Immediately Fire Tiny Timmy Turbo Tax
Cheater Geithner,Fire Obama's Gun Grabber,
Terrorist and White Collar Crook Lover Male
Janet Reno US Attorney General Eric Holder
and Do Nothing Asleep at The Switch Democrat Loser Obama Sec of Homeland Security Failure Janet Napolitano just for
openers and vote every Incumbent Democrat
and Republican Out of Congress in 2010 and
2012 and send them to Gitmo for water sports and enhanced interrogations.

Posted by: Donna1983 | March 26, 2009 4:42 PM

The NEXT Amnesty granted to Illegals should be spelled:

M-A-N-I-F-E-S-T D-E-S-T-I-N-Y

No more taking the Refugees without taking the Sources!(And, those RESOURCES!)

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 26, 2009 4:40 PM

I listened to the town hall today and I thought it was terrific! I went to the Open for Questions site yesterday, skimmed a lot of the questions and voted on about 60 of them. I thought the questions raised today in the time allotted were representative. On the whole, the President's answers were thoughtful, clear, and pragmatic. It gave me a better understanding of his priorities, principles, and the way he thinks and listens. I'm grateful for his leadership.

Posted by: pam_leitterman | March 26, 2009 4:38 PM

I just don't understand the concerns of these righty posting loons here. For 8 years, as Bush systematically drove the nation into the gutter's gutter. Apparently, their only concern at the time was that their beer was cold and that cable was working.

Now they care?

Posted by: jfern03 | March 26, 2009 4:38 PM

The bozo tells lies no matter what the medium.
We're short electricians? Rubbish.
Wake up folks. You're getting scammed again.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 26, 2009 4:38 PM

"...despite the technical elements and the regal venue, the meeting had the feel of...a campaign event."

Ya think? I thought campaigns ended on election night, but not with this guy.

I'd be a whole lot happier if he'd spend more time in the Oval Office working on solving the very real problems of the economy (I don't think Turbo Tax Tim over at Treasury is up to the task, frankly).

Posted by: bbahler | March 26, 2009 4:35 PM

Clinton sat back and stayed out of the way while people like Bill Gates, capitalism and a stable economy left by Bush provided the financial successes of the Clinton Adminstration. Hey sequoia-looks like your mommy's girlfriend told you one too many bedtime stories. Time to wake up and grow up!

Posted by: trippermeow | March 26, 2009 4:22 PM
***************

Clinton "stayed out of the way," which would be a good thing, right? Gore reduced the size of government; good thing, right? Bush I RAISED TAXES responsibly; good thing, right?

Bush II lowered taxes, incurred deficits, relaxed regulation and oversaw one of the worst collapses in American history.

None of the above had to deal with a depression, like the current president.

I think most folks understand who the child in the room was and is.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:32 PM

Obama is way over his head, as evidenced by his allowing a guy who can't do his own taxes (even while using TurboTax) correctly, to run the economy. Where is the elegantly brilliant [about everything] guy the media so lovingly assured us Obama was? AWOL? I think he never really existed at all and the MSM sold us a wooden nickel.

Posted by: flintston | March 26, 2009 4:29 PM

Mr. President, why are the Democrats trying to shove amnesty down the throats of all patriotic Americans???

Posted by: buzzm11 | March 26, 2009 4:15 PM
********************

Mr. President, are you willing to join the ranks of two previous REPUBLICAN US presidents who previously looked at the illegal alien question and determined the sane, American thing to do would be to identify them through a rational amnesty program?

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:24 PM

In the Words of the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros:

Pot will get you through times of no Money;

BETTER;

Than Money will get you through times of NO POT! ;~)

Hey you F'ing Happa Haole President:

Wanna GUESS what Hawaii's LARGEST source of money is?!

It would be Mo Bettah to Regulate, and TAX it!

Let AMERICAN Farmers and Businessmen take over the market!

THAT, would be the END of Garbage like Messico's Cartels!

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 26, 2009 4:23 PM

What happened? Clinton ushered in the most prosperous period of growth in ALL segments of society -- not just the 5% that Republicans care about.

Republicans are just wrong on the economy. They always are.

Posted by: sequoiaqueneaux | March 26, 2009 4:01 PM

_________________________________________

Clinton sat back and stayed out of the way while people like Bill Gates, capitalism and a stable economy left by Bush provided the financial successes of the Clinton Adminstration. Hey sequoia-looks like your mommy's girlfriend told you one too many bedtime stories. Time to wake up and grow up!

Posted by: trippermeow | March 26, 2009 4:22 PM

Great, looks like we elected a manchild to the White House.

Posted by: trippermeow | March 26, 2009 4:18 PM

Mr. President, why are the Democrats trying to shove amnesty down the throats of all patriotic Americans???

Posted by: buzzm11 | March 26, 2009 4:15 PM

Mr. President, why are illegals elgible to take the Stimulus jobs. Aren't the Stimulus jobs supposed to be for Americans???

Posted by: buzzm11 | March 26, 2009 4:12 PM

In all fairness, why are the Republicans not countering all his rhetoric? Everytime Bush gave a speech, the Dems were given the same amount of time. Where's the 1-1/2 hours for the Repubs? When is he EVER going to get off the TV so we don't have to listen to all his lies?

Posted by: TexasGal2 | March 26, 2009 2:26 PM
******************

That would be the Fairness Doctrine you appear to allude to: glad you're on board with us after all. BTW, Jindal gave the previous GOP response: you may have fallen asleep and forgotten it. Most did. For the latest cogent, responsible GOP ideas, please refer to the GOP budget "plan" unleashed on a mystified America today by John Boehner.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:08 PM

To youaresquishy: Did you even bother to read the article? Here is what it had to say on the matter of marijuana legalization "Obama said one of the most popular questions posed was whether legalization of marijuana could contribute to economic growth. 'I don't know what this says about the online audience,' the president joked, before turning serious and saying it would not be a good idea."

"Legalization of marijuana contributing to economic growth"? Excuse me while I laugh...sorry if you're offended but that's funny...

Posted by: Absolute_0-K | March 26, 2009 4:08 PM

To address another poster's question, the transcript is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/us/politics/26text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

I saw snippets on YouTube; quite possibly the whole thing is there; I just didn't have time to look and I was more interested in reading it.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:05 PM


Posted by: youaresquishy | March 26, 2009 2:15 PM

Yes, I am sure the many thousands of Americans who are incarcerated right now because of marijuana possession appreciate you laughing at the marijuana decriminalization question.

And I am sure the many who asked you about marijuana decriminalization appreciated you impliedly insulting them.

You may not know what that question says about the people who asked it, but I know what your "answer" says about you, Mr. Obama. It says that you have no good answer to the question.

It's one thing to be opposed to marijuana decriminalization, but to laugh at it, as if the very notion is utterly absurd, is completely unreasonable.

Shame on you, Mr. Obama. Shame.

I voted for you this time, but I won't be doing that again, unless you at least give some kind of answer to the question.

You're the one that opened the floor to questions. Answer them. All of them. Don't ridicule them.

************************

Please. I understand your hyper-sensitivity, but he laughed not at decriminalization; he laughed at the phrasing of that question re: the economy and jobs, in the context of much more serious questions about the economy and jobs. As much as I agree that marijuana should be decriminalized, the world does not revolve around your prison cell, with all due respect.

Here's the transcript:

"THE PRESIDENT: Three point five million people voted. I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy -- (laughter) -- and job creation. And I don't know what this says about the online audience -- (laughter) -- but I just want -- I don't want people to think that -- this was a fairly popular question; we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don't think that is a good strategy -- (laughter) -- to grow our economy. (Applause.)

So -- all right."

Posted by: abqcleve | March 26, 2009 4:02 PM


For a good laugh, go back to 1993 and read the Republicans' idiotic, hyperbolic hysteria and fearmongering over Bill Clinton's first budget.

"It will cause a Depression! Collapse the economy! Socialism! Unemployment will skyrocket! The nation will be bankrupt!" And so on. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

What happened? Clinton ushered in the most prosperous period of growth in ALL segments of society -- not just the 5% that Republicans care about.

Republicans are just wrong on the economy. They always are.

Posted by: sequoiaqueneaux | March 26, 2009 4:01 PM

Everybody that Obama picked to ask a question, in fact asked for some type of government hand-out. Pitiful.

Posted by: jdcw | March 26, 2009 3:57 PM

morena77 said:

"President Obama said there is no way and no needs for lost jobs come back to the US. I do not understand that at all."

Think of it like this.

We probably won't need people to make or repair electric type writers again.

However, as the president pointed out, if we restructure the energy grid we're going to need a lot more electricians than we have now to work on a long term project that can't be outsourced.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 26, 2009 3:56 PM

I suppose his unwavering attitude will get old after a while. Unaffected as the empire collapses.

The energy issue and the educational issues are something you do in a good economy, it's suicide to fund them now. Both are inflationary, any subsidize are.

Posted by: oengus1963 | March 26, 2009 3:55 PM

And tonight, the Prez will go on Late Night with host Talking-head Goofball, and have a big laugh about all of your problems. After all he's got nothing but time between doing Twitter, Skype, his b-ball grid, and this silly online "town-hall" nonsense. A town-hall meeting is just that: a meeting in a town-hall with PEOPLE, face-to-face, without individuals being blocked from entering because they've got the 'wrong' party affiliation and without questions being pre-screened. For pete sakes Obama, what are you scared of? You've already been elected. Why won't you just talk to the people face-to-face and dump the teleprompters already? It's as if you don't have an original thought of your own...oh wait a minute, that's what the MSM always said about W (I don't remember anybody accusing him of depending on the teleprompter). Or maybe it's that you just don't want the American to know your real thoughts?

Posted by: flintston | March 26, 2009 3:46 PM

it was direct Q about the plan to bring jobs back to our country. I am disappointed with the answer. President Obama said there is no way and no needs for lost jobs come back to the US. I do not understand that at all.

Posted by: morena77 | March 26, 2009 3:46 PM

ALL AMERICANS, WAKE UP AND STAND AGAINST AN IRRESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT. DON'T SACRIFICE YOUR FREEDOMS.

Nobama continues to prove himself incompetent and untrustworthy in many ways and is bankrupting our country. Write to your elected officials and demand an end to the destruction of our country's economic future.

First, he decries McCain in the election for saying the economy was on sound footing then recently he says that indeed the economy is on sound footing.
Second, he says that he does not pay any attention to the markets even though millions upon millions are losing their life savings, now he ties his administration's economic success to the success of the market.
Third, his administration rushes his "porkulus" bill through Congress saying immediate passage is urgent then waits five days before signing.
Fourth, he states he is "shocked" by the AIG bonuses then it turns out that it is his administration that had the provision included to allow the bonuses into the "porkulus" bill.
Fifth, he says he is the president to all the people and will be a bipartisan president hen he has Reid and Pelosi exclude the minority party from government participation.
Sixth, he says he will put all bills online for public viewing for five days before signing them then he never puts any of them out for the "smell" test.
Seventh, in October 2008, during the election he states because of the downward spiraling economy he will have to put off his campaign proposals to change the nation in order to concentrate on the economy, then after being elected states he will pass all of his social engineering agenda at once even if he becomes a one term president.
Eighth, Nobama says no lobbying influence in his administration and even writes an ethic resolution saying the same, then repeatedly has waiver after waiver allowing lobbyist into the candy store.
Ninth, plays the part of the common middle class throughout the election process then once elected president ,has Stevie Wonder over to entertain and throws weekly parties featuring $100 Kobe steaks for all his guests while over 11 million Americans are unemployed.
Tenth, as Nobama’s first act in office says he is going to close Gitmo with no backup plan for war prisoners and recently his Attorney General states some of the detainees may be released into the U.S. population.
Eleventh, tells the families of the 9/11 attack victims he is dropping charges against terrorists who have already admitted quilt.
Twelfth, and worst of all, Nobama Administration proposes to have wounded war vets uses their own civilian medical insurance to pay for war wounds and finally relents after public outrage.

Posted by: 2tired | March 26, 2009 3:46 PM

The GOP is obstructionist at best,
The corporate media parrots talking points,
The Democrats in Congress are gutless.

The American people voted for this president's budget priorities and continue to support him(67% approval).

This "Town Hall" wasn't for our benefit. It was for the benefit of Congress.

The GOP can't respond. Boehner can't be against all government solutions and propose more government solutions at the same time.

The media doesn't make policy.

That leaves the Democrats in Congress. And they are being reminded by the president just what it is the American people want.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 26, 2009 3:36 PM

So Obama does not see oversea jobs coming back. ( Thanks for The Effort Obama )

Moreover Obama, expects unemployment to grow.

However Obama, has no problem with employing illegal aliens.

"Yes We Can"
"For I am, What the World, Has Been Waiting For"

Posted by: dashriprock | March 26, 2009 3:34 PM


To all you marijuana lovers:

Be happy that Obama answered your question--even if he did laugh at the popularity of the question (not the question itself).

I am sure that some group hijacked the forum by organizing a voting campaign for the question, similar to the one for the Fair Tax Act.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 26, 2009 3:34 PM

we do not need such a huge budget it is far too excessive, he has already stuck us with way more than Bush ever did and he still blames the previous adminstration, wake up America,this is OB budget as the last two money spending bills were, stop it now, no more, we are broke and acting like a nation full of fools and the rest of the world laughs as they take our money, what a bunch of idiots we are

Posted by: jimmy_19462001 | March 26, 2009 3:32 PM

I listen the broadcast from the beginning to the end. Great format if you have time in mid afternoon to stay in front of the computer for 1.5 hrs. President Obama did good job trying to sell his budget and to answer the most popular Q's.

It all sounds good - unless we know we have no money for these programs. So what is the point?

Posted by: morena77 | March 26, 2009 3:22 PM

Does anyone know where you can either read the transcript of the whole event or watch the video of the whole thing? Thanks.

Posted by: mandalaymooncrystal | March 26, 2009 3:13 PM

It was being broadcast on the cable news channels live, until the Republican House hijacked the air waves to say nothing. It was a plain and simple act to preempt the President. Because they had absolutely nothing to say. Fear does funny things, it's driving the GOP to self destruct.

Posted by: AverageJane | March 26, 2009 3:06 PM

Can anyone tell me where to send my rent and gas bills, so that the Gov't will pay them for me??

I voted for Obama and I know he will have Gov't pay this for me.

Posted by: pgr88 | March 26, 2009 3:06 PM

I would like to ask the President a few questions...1)How about those who receive gov benefits having to take a UA before they get the benefit monthly? Afterall, the taxpayers are having to take one to earn themoney that goes into the program.2) How about charging the companies who send their customer service jobs overseas a HUGE amount that can help fund all the special survival programs we create and to fund the welfare programs. 3) How about truely helping small business that are less than 3 years old get a low interest loan so they can afford to put more employees on the payrol. 4) How about demanding the insurance companies, and all the others to lower their fees if the gov cannot do 1-2-3???? Gosh darn it we Americans are suffering at the hands of big corporations who don't care because they send all their customer service job overseas and then we are suppose to try to understand them when we are already upset with the fact the product or service is not what was promised to us. Enough is enough.... stop supporting companies who outsource, plain and simple.

Posted by: kaygrenzkoch | March 26, 2009 2:58 PM

Just Say No!!

I fail to understand how anyone can possibly accept a budget plan that will result in a trillion dollar deficit each year for the next decade.

What our government still doesn't understand is that it must learn to live within it's cashflow. If it doesn't have the income to support programs etc... then irregardless of how great the program is... it can't be funded and the program can not go forward.

It's as simple as that.

JUST SAY NO !!

And, when it comes to raising tax rates... this is also unacceptable.

As previously stated, the government needs to learn what a real budget is and learn to live within it.

Posted by: jeffhreynolds | March 26, 2009 2:54 PM

When will we stop looking for military solutions for our proplems?
When will we realize that war is a failed paradigm for solving the world's problems.
When will we that our collateral damage is in fact terrorism?
When will we realize we spend vast amounts of money to develop the next generation of weapons for the world to use against us some day?
When will we realize there is no absolute security and that secrecy breeds paranoia?
When will we realize that in taking the gloves of civilization off we become our own worst enemy?

Posted by: cgillard | March 26, 2009 2:51 PM

I read the questions "America" asked him. They were softball questions mostly about what the government was going to "give" them. Wake up people. You are throwing your freedom away for a government hand out. Stalin once jokingly refered to his people as chickens and showed how he could pluck the chicken featherless, causing great pain and the animal would still follow him for a handful of grain. Wake up people, you are becoming a bunch of chickens giving up your freedom of choice for a "handful of grain" that the government is willing to give you.

Posted by: butterbar25 | March 26, 2009 2:44 PM

I would like to ask one question in this "new" town hall format-

When will obama be stepping down from the presidency? Obviously, he knows nothing of what he is doing.

Posted by: smathern | March 26, 2009 2:37 PM

Rant and rave all you want, you neocon losers. I can't wait to see you seethe and spray your bile when Obama beats your party senseless in 2012. Who do you got up? Palin? Steele? Jindal?
Limbaugh? God, you are all so adorable, and so pathetic.

Posted by: euroguy | March 26, 2009 2:33 PM

I loved this format. I think about the other communicator presidents, people like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Both of those talked "to" people. Barack Obama talks "with" people. His talking has a strong amount of listening in it.

Sarah Palin made fun of him for being a community organizer. I think that may be one of the strongest parts of his resume when it comes to being president. He listens and he finds ways to communicate directly with the people without the media talking head getting in between. We need both, but I really liked this Internet town hall.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 26, 2009 2:32 PM

It is really interesting to see the Obama version of Town Hall meetings for public comment. The meetings could be more election campaing politics to influence public opinion, or an honest effort to collect U.S. taxpayers input to influence government decision making. Most people just accept their fate decided by a few government officals. For example, the decisions made by Geithner.

Posted by: klausdmk | March 26, 2009 2:29 PM

In all fairness, why are the Republicans not countering all his rhetoric? Everytime Bush gave a speech, the Dems were given the same amount of time. Where's the 1-1/2 hours for the Repubs? When is he EVER going to get off the TV so we don't have to listen to all his lies?

Posted by: TexasGal2 | March 26, 2009 2:26 PM

At least it's a good sign that our president can show his face in public without someone throwing a shoe at him. :)

Posted by: ifjohnnycalls | March 26, 2009 2:26 PM

well lil boy hussein faked you out again.
this was not a town hall - this was a way to prescreen questions so he could act like he knows the answer off the top of his head.
and what did he say even with practice? we will lose more jobs and things would get worse.
soon he will run out of other peoples money and then he will declare a state of emergency and like all africians leaders - declare himself to be PRESIDENT FOR LIFE!

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | March 26, 2009 2:20 PM

Yes, I am sure the many thousands of Americans who are incarcerated right now because of marijuana possession appreciate you laughing at the marijuana decriminalization question.

And I am sure the many who asked you about marijuana decriminalization appreciated you impliedly insulting them.

You may not know what that question says about the people who asked it, but I know what your "answer" says about you, Mr. Obama. It says that you have no good answer to the question.

It's one thing to be opposed to marijuana decriminalization, but to laugh at it, as if the very notion is utterly absurd, is completely unreasonable.

Shame on you, Mr. Obama. Shame.

I voted for you this time, but I won't be doing that again, unless you at least give some kind of answer to the question.

You're the one that opened the floor to questions. Answer them. All of them. Don't ridicule them.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 26, 2009 2:15 PM

A lie is a lie no matter if you broadcast it over the phone, Tv, the internet, satellite; or if you broadcast it on earth or on the moon.

Obama is broadcasting LIES!

Being over the internet doesn't make those lies any more fancy.

Posted by: cintronlourdes | March 26, 2009 2:14 PM

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