Ask Obama anything?

The president takes on Reddit

Obama's surprising Wednesday afternoon tweet

The social news site Reddit has a signature feature: AMAs. Guests ranging from prostitutes to film directors hop on the site and implore “Redditors” to “Ask (them) Anything.”  This afternoon, Barack Obama stole the Internet for a half hour by doing a 3o minute AMA.

But did he really? AMAs are notoriously tough and revealing. Celebrities hoping to exploit the forum for cheap publicity get eaten alive. When Woody Harrelson refused to answer personal questions (or any questions unrelated to the movie he was promoting)  he was pounced on. He responded by fleeing his own AMA and quickly became an Internet laughing stock. Of course guests receive too many questions to answer, so their selection of which ones to address dictates whether or not they are deemed to have approached the forum in good faith.

As Obama’s AMA wraps up, here’s a look at how he did:

Questions Obama answered (or at least, the ones he responded to):

  • What’s the recipe for the White House’s beer?
  • Who’s your favourite Basketball player?
  • Is Internet Freedom an issue you’d push to add to the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform?
  • How do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?
  • What can I say to encourage those in similar situations as I (unemployed law school grad) to show up again in November?
  • What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?
  • What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term?
  • What is the first thing you’ll do on November 7th, win or lose?
  • How are you going to help small businesses in 2013 and 2014?
  • Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?

Some questions Obama didn’t:

  • Do you feel that there is a problem with the “revolving door” of congressmen and prominent lobbyists?
  • What are you going to do in your second term to address the failed war on drugs?
  • A lot of us are worried about copyright law. Sopa, Acta, TPP… What is your stance on that?
  • What is the purpose of the embargo on Cuba? Will you consider lifting it?
  • How does your administration plan on dealing with [the patents system] during the next four years if you are re-elected?
  • Why are we still in Afghanistan?
  • Why haven’t you closed Guantanamo Bay?
  • As a former constitutional law professor, can you explain how it is legal to kill an American citizen with a Predator drone without due process?
  • Toilet paper – facing out, or facing in?

As the afternoon progresses and the hive dissects Obama’s performance, we’ll find out whether the move was a savvy way to reconnect with young voters or if it backfires as pandering and patronizing.

Here’s a crucial question that may decide the above: Did Obama reveal anything substantial?

Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown

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