President Obama Conducts Online Town Hall

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 26, 2009

On March 26, President Barack Obama conducted his first online town hall. Some 92,933 Internet users submitted 104,076 questions via White House’s Web site, and the president answered several questions that were voted most popular. “One of my priorities as president is opening up the White House to the American people,” Obama said in a short video encouraging people to submit questions. The online town hall was the first experiment of this kind for a U.S. president.

Popular questions ranged from legalizing marijuana to regulating financial markets. In a briefing on Thursday, Obama ended up answering several of these questions. “No, I don’t think [legalizing marijuana] is a good strategy to grow our economy,” he said, earning a laugh from an audience of 100 or so gathered at the White House.

Jobs proved to be the category where the most people submitted questions. Many participants wanted to know how Obama plans to retain jobs in the U.S. “Are you still planning on penalizing the big business execs who take US jobs out of the country?” asked Bart from Virginia. Job creation has been a painful topic as the nation’s unemployment continues to climb.

Obama said that losing some jobs is all right, and that the U.S.’s future lies in high-skilled jobs. Many positions that will be created in the coming months will require education and technical skills, and will be in fast-growing areas like clean energy technology. “That’s why it’s so important to train our folks more effectively, and that’s why it’s so important for us to find new industries, building solar panels or wind turbines or the new biofuel that involve these higher-value, higher-skill, higher-paying jobs,” he said.

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Reader Comments

debug

March 26, 2009 07:52 PM

Millions of highly skilled Americans are unemployed, and we voted for Obama to bring back those outsourced jobs. We want those low paying jobs (they are actually high paying jobs but Obama's phone buddy Bill Gates think they are low paying). Mr Obama you can not train everybody to be a green mechanic. The only green jobs are landscaping and selling marijuana. Obama is all talk.

GKUSHWAHA

March 27, 2009 06:05 AM

IF AMERICANS GOT MILLIONS OF HIGHLY SKILLED EMPLOYEES...WHY DO THEY HIRE PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE....COST..?
I DO NOT THINK SO AVERAGE INCOMER FOR AN INDIAN IS MUCH HIGHER THAN COUNTRY AVERAGE....
I THINK AMERICA NEEDS TO SHOW SOME RESPECT TO THE TALENTS RATHER THAN BEING PROTECTIONIST. IN TODAY WORLD OF GLOBALISATION NO COUNTRY CAN LEAD WITHOUG SELF IMPORVMENTS , COMPETITION ANS SKILLS. MAKING FIRMS HIRE A LESS SKILLED AMERICAN INSTEAD OF A SKILLED ASIAN WILL ADD TO TURMOIL RATHER THAN INNOVATION OR WORK REQUIRED.
33 % OF PEOPLE WORKING IN NASA ARE NON AMERICAN, SOME BIG COMPANIES LIKE E BAY, SUN ..CISCO ALL STARTED BY NON AMERICANS.

PROTECTIONISAM WILL LEAD AMERICA TO FURTHER TROUBLE WHEN THEIR SERVICE, PRODUCTS WILL EITHER LOW IN QUALITY AS COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRY OR EXPENSIVE.

Bob Bouffard

March 27, 2009 01:40 PM

Republicans say that you have not consulted them on any legislation. What Republicans have you consulted and what has been their response?

debug

March 27, 2009 07:29 PM

Guest workers on H1b and L1 are not immigrants. They are temporary workers. Never make them immigrants because are meant to work here temporarily and then go home.

Ebay, Sun, CISCO are started by immigrants and not GUEST workers.

june larson selis

March 28, 2009 01:18 PM

I really don't think I need to consult with a republican to know what state our country is in. I would like our country to pull together to work on healing our problems.
I must state that if we all got a good tax credit or some kind of financial help to put solar panels in our homes we could cut the cost of public utilities by billions. I know for sure I would do it it a second. I just can't afford it since my income has not increased in more then ten years. I have owned a small business for many years and when cost go up I can't always pass it on to my customers like big corporations do. Small business people make a community better because they have to work harder at it then the big box stores do. They come in and hire people for minimum wage and they can afford SOME health care for full time employees. Please help the small business people. Thank you for listening.

kelley

March 28, 2009 06:33 PM

how is giving banks $$ going to stimulate the economy. Giving tax payers $$ would stimulate the economy. And not 800.00 tax credit in 09 taxes. Cash $$ to tax paying citizens. People would get out and buy things. Just because the banks have $ to give a loan people aren't going to go buy a house/car. They would if they had extra cash!!

Amar

March 29, 2009 12:56 PM

This is the time when we need to address unbearable waiting periods in the US for getting greencards for so many waiting in queues paying taxes etc.. Economy needs them now more than ever. We need to create jobs now in the US soil.
These folks are skilled, highly talented and come in EB3 category. 50% of them have 10+ years of experiences and the rest have US degrees.

Carol

March 29, 2009 01:57 PM

I think they need to rethink the resources to certify teachers. Yes test them however, the test should not be the only tool to certify a teacher. I live in Maryland and my test scores are passing in several states but not my own. Does this mean I can't teach? I have obtained numerous accolades and praises from my principal and colleges and yet missing 2 points on a test caused me to lose my job. The states let the test determine whether a teacher teaches and not observation, student performance and the teachers themselves.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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