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Obama Tops Off Fiery Speech with Handful of Grassroots Questions

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, February 5 2010


At a fundraiser for low-dollar donors to the Democratic National Committee held in a DC hotel last night, President Obama fielded just four questions sent in by supporters through cell phone text messages or email, delivering policy-thick answers on his perspective of what needs to be done to pass health care reform (the gist: more vetting needs to be done), how government can help to grow small business (more lending), how we can keep America competitive in the future (more clean energy), and how the costs of higher education can be made more manageable (more loans and grants), in an event that had been billed by Organizing for America, in what was perhaps a bit of overpromise, as a "Conversation with the President." OFA Executive Director Mitch Stewart posed the questions to Obama at the tail end of an event that started about 20 past its scheduled 5:45pm EST start time, just after Obama wrapped up a speech to the crowd.

Leaving substance aside, performance-wise, aside from the event's Q&A-by-SMS twist what was perhaps most notable about the evening was just how fired up Obama seemed while delivering that speech. This Obama resembled more the candidate from the '08 campaign trail's most energetic days than the somewhat more staid president we've regularly seen over this past year. At one point, Obama just about yelled when admonishing the assembled crowd and those watching online to keep find, trumpeting, "Don't give up!" (Yes we can!, yelled someone in the crowd.) A passionate Obama continued. "The forces of the status quo might not give an inch," he said, "but we won't give an inch." Video of the full event is here.