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The President Doesn't Always Tweet, but When He Does ...

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, December 3 2012

Photo: Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama spent a little over 40 minutes on Twitter this afternoon answering questions about extending middle class tax cuts.

He took eight questions from Twitter users, including a self-described liberal atheist with purple hair in her profile picture and a former soldier. Here are the people who the White House reached on Twitter today:

  • Phillip McKenzie — "East Kentucky liberal/progressive/pragmatist." Question: "Mr. President, can you assure us that any "fiscal cliff" negotiations regarding entitlement reform will not hurt the most needy?"
  • Mike Vanderwyst — "Writer/Producer/Editor by trade, actor by hobby. Love my God, my wife and my country." Question: "Mr. President, why won't keeping tax rates low across the board encourage more hires and therefore more tax revenue? #my2k"
  • "Mandi" — "Top Gear, BBC Sherlock, and linguistics fanatic. Liberal. Atheist. Humanist. ND. I worship the beauty of Benedict Cumberbatch. I have permament gay-goggles on." Question: "As a recent college grad w/o a full time job, these cuts wouldn't help me, would they?"
  • Hunter Tredway — "an 18-year-young criticizer of everything." Question: "what is your opposition to taking away deductions for the 2% rather than up the rate? Seems like a reasonable compromise #My2K."
  • David Osteen — "Christian. Husband and father. Former Soldier. Independent thinker. North Carolina Tarheel!" Question: "Mr. President, Why not place more emphasis on reducing government spending, than on raising revenues?"
  • "Mica" — "Seattle girl living in a DC world. :-) Also, I heart politics and social media." Question: "Who will win it all first: Chicago #WhiteSox, #Bulls, or #Bears? #NFL #NBA #MLB cc: #My2k @BarackObama @whitehouse"

Two of the other questioners, Jason Feinman, @jfein, and Emma Robertson, @soitgoesem, don't reveal much about their identities on Twitter. But like the other questioners, they had low numbers of Twitter followers and were not following many people themselves.

At the end of the conversation, Obama urged followers to "Keep pressure on Congress. Call, email, tweet your Member & tell them what 2k means to you. Lets get it done. #my2k -bo."

The White House had bought its #My2k post from several days ago as a promoted Tweet, while House Majority Leader was promoting his tweet "Mr. President, time to get serious. Let's protect small businesses and families from a harmful increase in tax rates and cut spending. #my2k"

Conservative-leaning website Twitchy, meanwhile, documented efforts by Republican supporters to "hijack" the Q&A, and mocked initial confusion among reporters about what the right hashtag for the event was, as well as his use of the expression "tweet your member." But Twitchy did not seem to curate any of the actual questions and answers.

The White House also released two photos of Obama during the Twitter Q&A, one from the front and one from above showing his hands on the laptop. The photo with his hands seemed to be the most intriguing for Twitter users, such as Matthew Keys from Reuters.