Republicans using Twitter town hall to take shots at Obama

at 01:30 PM ET, 07/06/2011


Republican House leadership leave a meeting about the national debt limit and budget plans at the White House in Washington, DC, June 1, 2011. (SAUL LOEB - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
President Obama decided to hold a Twitter townhall “to bring new voices into conversation with the president,” White House new media director Macon Phillips told reporters yesterday. But some of the loudest voices in advance of today’s interactive Q&A are pretty familiar.

Using the administration-sanctioned hashtag #AskObama, House Republicans have spent the morning flooding Twitter and peppering the president with unfriendly questions in a coordinated tweet-blitz.

“Senate hasn't passed a budget in 798 days. House passed plan 2 lift debt&spur job creation–what is your jobs plan?” asked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). His follow-up question: “Fearmongering won’t solve our debt crisis. Americans deserve a real debate. You pick: when and where?”

The town hall will stream live at 2 P.M.; we’ll be liveblogging it here at The Fix.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) posted a Twitter feed on his blog, highlighting House Republicans’ questions. (His own: “With 9.1% unemployment & “shovel ready” jobs a bust, will you admit the 'stimulus' was a mistake?” Republicans are planning to keep up the offensive through the 2 P.M. presidential event, responding in real time.

GOP committees have also gotten in on the action. “Yours has been coined the most Anti-Business Administration in our history, how will you aid, instead of burden, small business?” asked the House Small Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.). “Why do you want 2 increase taxes on employers instead of cutting spending 2 get our debt under cntrl” asked Ways and Means Committee GOPers. From the House Oversight Committee: “How are your job-crushing #regulations helping #smallbiz owners?”

Republicans are also promoting their own hashtag: #4jobs — as in, what will President Obama do for jobs.

On his own Twitter account, Boehner has been retweeting some of his favorite questions to Obama. Most are from fellow Republicans and conservative groups. But one is from an unlikely ally — the AFL-CIO. The question: “Where are the jobs?”

Administration officials have repeatedly said that Twitter, not the White House, will pick the questions — based on the organization’s own algorithims and with the help of journalists. Still, it’s unlikely that any of the House Republicans’ queries will be read in what’s meant to be an interactive talk with regular Americans.

Full coverage of the Twitter townhall on Postpolitics

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