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Answers from Barack Obama's "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit [UPDATED]

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 29 2012

So far, President Obama has answered several user-submitted questions posed to him in the last 45 minutes on Reddit. Supporters of Internet Freedom, the space program and campaign finance reform should like what he's said. English grammar teachers, not so much. Apparently he doesn't like capitalization.

To a question asking for the White House's homemade beer recipe, he wrote: "It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty."

To a question about his position on Internet Freedom, posed by David Weinberger (the author of several seminal books on the Internet, who goes by davidjoho on Reddit), he wrote:

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although their [sic] will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.

Several Redditors have pointed out his typo. One also added, "Sure thing. Do you like cats?"

To a question about support for the space program, he wrote: "Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."

To a question about the problem of money-in-politics, he wrote: "Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress - to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."

And to a question about the hardest decision of his presidency, he wrote: "The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget."

UPDATE 2: You can read all of Obama's answer's here, now that the traffic to his IAMA page on Reddit has calmed down.

The comments from Redditors are far more interesting to read than the President's answers, which, after all the hoopla, are pretty much his usual remarks on these topics.


Check out how Twitter users occupied themselves waiting for Reddit to get back online when Obama's Q&A crashed the site: