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Google+ Hangout Participant, Subject of Republican Spin, Says She'll Probably "Vote Obama Back In."

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, February 1 2012

President Obama hangs out online with Jennifer Wedel via Google+. Photo: Pete Souza

Right-leaning bloggers and the Republican party have wasted no time in using President Obama's frank online video exchange with Texas insurance agent Jennifer Wedel on Monday to further the party's narrative that the president is out of touch with ordinary, hard-up Americans.

To recap, Wedel was one of five citizens whom Google chose to participate in a post State of the Union discussion with Obama about the big issues on their minds. The question weighing on Wedel's mind was the issue of H1-B visas, the temporary work visas that the federal government makes available to foreigners when there's officially no American capable of performing the job posted by a company. Wedel asked the president why the government continues to issue the visas when highly-skilled engineers such as her husband are suffering from chronic unemployment. Obama responded that as he understands it, there is actually a huge demand for high-tech engineers in the country right now. He characterized the Wedel family situation as "interesting," and asked Wedel for a copy of her husband's resume.

The Republican National Committee quickly made a YouTube video with clips of the exchange and framed it as an example of the president being out of touch. The video came online at about the same time as a report with the same storyline in the right-leaning Real Clear Politics blog. Matt Drudge publicized the report with a link on his blog on Tuesday.

Then the National Republican Congressional Committee jumped on too, launching Careerdestroyer.com, a microsite encouraging people to submit their resumes to the White House to demonstrate the scale of the unemployment across the country.

The only problem for the Republicans is that the person upon whom they're basing their entire campaign doesn't feel that Obama is out of touch. In fact, she says she's going to vote for him.


Wedel was interviewed by a blogger and independent journalist Peter G. McDermott shortly after the hangout. She says a lot of interesting things about Google+ as a platform, and about the experience of engaging in a live video chat, but when asked if she had voted for Obama in 2008, she admitted that she didn't, but she was likely to this time around.

"I would probably vote Obama back in only because I know how he works, and how he rolls," she said.


In addition, McDermott reports that Wedel posted that White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Alyssa Mastromonaco has followed up to get a copy of Wedel's husband's resume.

Wedel seemed pretty excited about the experience, and not someone who feels that the president is out of touch.

techPresident has contacted both Wedel and the White House for confirmation about the exchange and will update when we hear back from them.

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