The Washington Post

Obama answers State of the Union questions on Google+ and YouTube

The people have asked.

Now, President Obama will answer.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, the president will participate in his first “virtual interview” by responding to questions about his State of the Union speech last week that were submitted by users of Google+ and YouTube.

The White House and Google said that 227,000 users sent in 133,000 questions and cast 1.6 million votes to determine which of the questions will be asked of Obama. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration had no input in selecting the questions.

Obama will answer the questions at the White House, with a live audience made up of selected Google+ users. The event will be broadcast via a video stream on the White House’s Web site, Google+ Hangout page and the YouTube channel.

By harnessing its vast social media networks, the Obama team aims to amplify the president’s State of the Union message by directly reaching younger Americans, a key part of his base during Obama’s 2008 White House campaign. Last week, the president unveiled a proposal to provide more federal aid in student loan funds to colleges that keep down tuition costs, one of the core demands of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Last summer, Obama participated in a Twitter town hall event, answering pre-selected questions with 140-character replies, and he has done similar chats with YouTube and Facebook users.


David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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