“Good to see lots of folks on twitter speaking out on extending middle class tax cuts. I’ll answer some Qs on that at 2ET. Ask w/#My2k – bo,” the President tweeted through the White House’s official Twitter account at 12:30pm today.
The President received questions on various different subjects, including entitlement reform, increasing taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, and tax deductions for homeowners.
“We can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future,” the President tweeted in response to @pmmckenzie’s question about the impact that the fiscal cliff negotiations regarding entitlement reform will have on lower-class Americans.
Participant @davidosteen asked the President why he prefers increasing taxes for the wealthy to reducing our current government spending. “[already] cut $1T+ in gov spending last yr. Discretionary spending lowest as % of GDP since ike…Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D, edu that help growth & jobs, or hurt vulnerable (eg disabled).”
Not every question received a serious answer from the Commander-in-Chief, however. When asked by @dontbeaprat – who still had an “I voted” Obama ribbon on her profile picture – if keeping the cuts would help her as a recent college graduate without a full-time job, the President included a tongue-in-cheek comment about her purple hair in his response.
President Obama also saved his last question for something near and dear to his heart – Chicago sports. In response to @Mica4Life’s question about which Chicago team “will win it all first,” Obama commented, “[da bears] still gotta shot, despite sad loss this weekend! Plus rose will return for playoffs!!!”
Washington Republicans didn’t let the President have all of the Twitter glory, however. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sponsored a promoted tweet throughout the entirety of the Twitter town hall. “Mr. President, time to get serious. Let’s protect small businesses and families from a harmful increase in tax rates and cut spending #my2K,” Cantor’s tweet read. Freedomworks, which helped elect Tea Party candidates to Washington over the last two federal elections, not only asked its own questions to the President, but retweeted those of its followers to increase their presence in the queue. This tweet coincided with the House Leadership’s announcement of a counterproposal, which calls for $2.2 trillion in cuts through a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.
This is not the President’s first twitter town hall – he also held one in July 2011 to answer questions about the economy and unemployment. Today’s town hall is just one element of a larger social media campaign the White House plans to use to promote his plan over the next few weeks.