President Obama took to Reddit Wednesday afternoon, for a half hour session where users could ask any question they wanted. Of course, lots of people would jump at that chance, so it didn't take long before the system crashed.
Reddit's AMA (Ask Me Anything) is often used by celebrities to connect directly with their fans, but no brush with a celebrity can match an opportunity to communicate directly with the most powerful person on Earth.
The President answered questions about everything from the influence of money in politics and net neutrality, to the recipe for the White House's upcoming beer brew. While the session lasted just 30 minutes, people continued to post questions and comments for hours after. Hopefully the President will somehow find time to read them. Click here to read the entire session.
We've collected some highlights, and the below responses from the President are not edited.
When asked by FifthSurprise what the hardest part of his first term was, Obama responded:
"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."
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 there 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.
Finally, when gobearss asked how the POTUS balances family and personal time against his national duty, Obama responded:
It's hard — truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store — so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm — even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating — this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER — if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience — NOT BAD!
Now, if we could only get the Prez to start sharing some pictures of his high level meetings on Instagram. I would suggest a Nashville filter.