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Crowdsigliere: Plouffe Asks for a Little Public Guidance

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, February 8 2011

The Obama White House's latest effort to use this here Internet to connect members of the public with folks working inside the executive branch is a little project they're calling "Advise the Advisor," where-in an administration official frames what's happening on the presidential front and then asks for feedback from anyone who cares to give it. Think of it as "Your Direct Line to the White House," said the White House at the program's launch yesterday, and in the first installment, David Plouffe, the Obama campaign manager who joined the administration in a formal capacity last month, asks for takes from the masses on what they're seeing in the world of innovation, and in particular what seems to be stymieing it in the United States at the moment.

The White House breaks down how "Advise the Advisor" is meant to work:

Here’s how it works: one of the President’s closest advisors will post a short video to let you know more about what’s going on here at the White House and ask for your advice, opinions and feedback on important issues.  We’ll go through as much of your feedback as possible and post a summary of what you’ve told us later in the week.

(Worth noting: over down on Capitol Hill, House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa is making much the same pitch as Plouffe, asking the public to let the California Republican know what's holding back job creation in the United States. You never quite know what the response to these sorts of things might be, but the White House here enjoys the advantage over Issa of being, well, the White House, and thus considerably more in the public eye.)

Unusual for the Obama White House's online efforts, there's no Twitter or Facebook or other "social media" way for the public to engage here; responses must come in the form of text inputted into a web form, and they're only known to the recipient. That medium, though, offers the chance for extended thought: the input box accepts up to 2,500 characters -- or about the equivalent of a letter five pages long set in single-space 12 point Times New Roman. During President Barack Obama's sit-down with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that aired Super Bowl night, he complained about "being in the bubble," saying that as a result of the constraints of the White House "what happens is that you feel like you're not able to just have a spontaneous conversation with folks."

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