Did Republicans succeed in steering the first presidential Twitter townhall to questions that would put President Obama on the spot?

There are reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hill Republicans tried, apparently with little success, to do just that.

But at one point, Twitter co-founder and moderator Jack Dorsey said this:

“Speaking of startups, there’s a ton of questions about small businesses and how they affect job creation. This one comes from Neal: ‘Small biz create jobs. What incentives are you willing to support to improve small business growth?’

Obama finessed the question. But “tons of questions?” Do the hard-working small-business owners, the drivers of the economy, folks such as the boutique trial lawyers , the personal-injury lawyers, the doctors, the accountants, the dentists and the bodega owners, really afford to waste time in midday tweeting questions to Obama?

Then we recalled an e-mail we got at the beginning of the townhall from Brian Patrick, director of strategic communications for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), citing a Wall Street Journal blast at Obama’s efforts for small businesses and with a subject line: “#AskObama: What about small business?”

We e-mailed but the modest Patrick said he couldn’t claim credit for Neal’s question.

Still. . .

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