Making his latest foray into social media, President Obama fielded questions in a live chat with voters on Reddit Wednesday, discussing subjects ranging from his most difficult decision in office to the White House beer recipe.
The toughest call, Obama said, was “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,” Obama wrote. “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.”
Obama tweeted early Wednesday afternoon that he would “be taking your questions online today” and shared a link to a Reddit page. Obama used an “Ask Me Anything” thread on the site, a feature that allows celebrities to respond to typed questions from users.
There, he wrote, “Hi, I’m Barack Obama, President of the United States. Ask me anything. I’ll be taking your questions for half an hour starting at about 4:30 ET.”
In May, Obama became the first president to participate in a live chat on Twitter.
Obama began Wednesday’s session by saying he had “just finished a great rally in Charlottesville.”
“At the top,” he added, “I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover.”
Before responding to seven of roughly 13,000 user posts -- enough traffic to temporarily crash the site -- Obama posted a photo of himself seated at a Mac laptop, seeking to prove that he was the author of the responses. A comparison between that photo and images of his rally in Charlottesville earlier in the day showed he was wearing the same shirt and tie.
Obama did not discuss the election, except to say that, win or lose, he will spend the day after the election “thanking everybody who is working so hard” and that he believes super PACs wield too much influence.
“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” Obama wrote.
“Over the longer term,” he added, “I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United,” the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that declared unlimited political spending by individuals, corporations and labor unions to be protected free speech.