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Obama to Do a "Hangout" After State of the Union

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, February 11 2013

President Barack Obama will participate in a Google Hangout this Thursday to discuss the State of the Union.

His appearance follows recent discussions with Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke recently on gun policy and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who discussed immigration reform.

It will be Obama's second appearance on the Google Hangout platform facilitated through the White House. He stopped in last January in a discussion moderated by YouTube's Steve Grove.

In a blog post, Macon Phillips, White House Director of Digital Strategy, wrote that Obama will use the Hangout to "answer questions from Americans across the country about the issues and policies laid out in the speech." The post does not list a moderator.

The White House is inviting members of the public to submit and vote on submitted questions online before the Hangout takes place at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday.

Phillips also announced other digital engagement plans surrounding the State of the Union. In addition to broadcasting an "enhanced" version of the speech, as the White House also did last year, a new tool called Citizen Response will let users highlight a portion of the speech, explain how they are connected to the issue, and share it with their friends.

Right after the State of the Union, the White House will stream a panel discussion including 100 people who follow the administration on social media. Various White House staff, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, will also be responding to questions posted via social media throughout the week on issues such as education, jobs and the economy, energy and the environment, reducing gun violence and immigration reform.

Republicans have also rolled out their own plans to respond to the State of the Union. At gop.gov/sotu, a "second screen" platform will "help you separate fact from fiction and easily share it with your friends, family, and social networks," Speaker John Boehner promises in an e-mail announcement. The platform will additionally stream the response by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will also be delivering a pre-taped response in Spanish. In addition, users can follow the reactions of Republican lawmakers on Twitter.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) plans to deliver a Tea Party response to the State of the Union.

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