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Open for Questions Follow-Up: Past the President to Policy Experts

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 3 2009

You have to give it to the Obama White House -- they do seem to be embracing the freedom of constant iteration. Forget the ol' Microsoft box-and-ship software paradigm. Instead, this administration is like coders tweaking in the night. Here's the latest build of their online "Open for Questions" town hall, kicked off last week at the White House. There was, they note, "one video question that we had particularly hoped to get to, however, and ended up missing out on." No worries! This is the Internet, so take another pass at it.

The question comes from 28 year-old graduate student Becky Blitch who's quadriplegic and doesn't want to upend her current health insurance situation by getting a job. The direct response comes from Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy Kareem Dale, who also happens to be blind. By having Dale take the detailed policy questions rather than President Obama, the White House is picking up on a suggestion made in these parts and elsewhere that web tools can be used to connect citizens directly to the best sources of the information they're after -- which isn't necessarily, or even very often, going to be the fellow in the Oval Office.