President considers all online questions

John Dimsdale Mar 26, 2009
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President considers all online questions

John Dimsdale Mar 26, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: President Obama will hold a virtual press conference on the economy later this morning, with the questions coming from the public. Since Tuesday, the White House Web site has been soliciting questions, and visitors have been able to pose their own, or vote on which questions that have already been posted are most important for the president to answer. Our D.C. bureau chief John Dimsdale reports the number of votes cast so far is approaching three million.


John Dimsdale: Regular folks have submitted tens of thousands of questions about jobs, health care and home ownership for a Web chat with the president. In an online video, he says he realizes many people are worried about their financial future.

President Obama: That’s why we’re going to try something a little different. We’re going to take advantage of the Internet to bring all of you to the White House to talk about the economy.

The most popular questions include “What will the government do to make higher education more affordable?” Or “Can you drop the penalty for early withdrawals from 401k’s?”

Political blogger David Dayen says this online forum gives the public new access to people in power.

David Dayden: I’ve seen things that are completely off limits to the traditional media, like the legalization of marijuana was very high on the list.

Experts say the White House could end up soliciting people who post to these Web chats as lobbyists for administration proposals.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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