President Obama meet @RenegadeNerd.
Yes, that interaction happened Wednesday as President Obama became the first chief executive to hold a Twitter #WHTweetup @Townhall where he fielded questions from across the country on topics like healthcare, education, welfare, government spending, housing and more a during an hour-long event in the @WhiteHouse East Room.
The questions sent into #AskObama ranged from people like Speaker of the House John Boehner to New York Times columnist Nick Kristof to the aforementioned @RenegadeNerd who asked about the country’s debt ceiling.
Obama even sent the first presidential live Tweet: “in order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep – bo”
Some highlights from the event moderated by @Jack, otherwise known as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
- Obama mentioned mistakes he made during the recession: First, not explaining in enough detail to the American people that it would take a while to get the economy straightened out and would take patience and second in finding ways to regenerate the housing market quicker and more robustly.
- The country needs to be successful in developing cutting edge technologies, but also the industries that support them, Obama said. For instance, he said Apple has done a wonderful job creating products like the iPhone and the iPad, but they aren’t manufactured in the United States, so they don’t have as great an impact on the nation’s economy as they could.
- Obama wants to help immigrants that come to the United States study stay in the country if their intention it to start a business, instead of them returning home and operating their company from another country competing with the United States.
- The administration made the largest investment in alternative energy in history through the Recovery Act. Part of that is fueling advanced battery manufacturing that will spur the next wave of alternative energy cars. “Whoever wins the race to develop the batteries will likely win the race for making the cars of the 21st century.”
- The administration has passed at least 17 tax cuts to small businesses, including zero capital gains taxes on start-ups to help their businesses get off the ground.
- There is talk of providing a corporate tax cuts for each veteran a company hires. Obama also said he wants to start a campaign to urge companies to “do the right thing” and hire veterans coming back from war.
- Obama proposed trying to reduce the country’s oil consumption in staggered steps to make things easier for consumers. “We only provide two to three percent of the world’s oil, but use 25 percent of it, so drilling ourselves out of oil dependency is not a solution,” he said.
- He wants to make the Bush tax cuts for low and moderate income families permanent and go back to the pre-Bush cuts for the top earners to bring in extra tax dollars.
- When it comes to NASA, Obama said in the wake of the shuttle’s last flight, he’s challenged the organization to fly to an asteroid as a precursor to a trip to Mars. Doing so would cause for a number of technology breakthroughs that could benefit the rest of the country.
- Obama said he wants to keep cutting military spending, but in a way that makes sense for national security and the nation’s priorities going forward. “We can’t just lop 25 percent off the top,” he said, adding that the defense budget is so huge that even small percentage reductions can have a huge impact.
- Even though the country is in a tough economic situation, it should not reduce foreign aid as that money gets returned in multiples in terms of goodwill, foreign relations and establishing America as a global leader.
- The country needs to continue to provide opportunities for future generations through development and education. For instance, Obama said he would never have gone to college without help of a scholarship available at his school, and Dorsey never would have become a successful entrepreneur without the government developing the Internet. “We’re here because people made investments in us and now it’s our turn to do that for the next generation.”