President Obama's Reddit AMA Answers Tackle NASA, SOPA and Beer
The president answered questions from users of the popular forum for about half an hour on Wednesday, addressing a number of different issues.
A popular community with a constant buzz of activity that often produces memes and even some headlines, the forum's members seized on the opportunity to ask Obama questions ranging from his taste in toilet paper to his thoughts on the drug war. Though the site experienced outages thanks to the crush of visitors, Obama was able to answer a series of questions, both serious and light-hearted. Here's a recap.
On Internet freedom:
Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody -- from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle -- and it will be reflected in the platform.
On the future of NASA:
Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on Mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting-edge research that can take us to the next level -- so even as we continue work with the International Space Station, we are focused on a potential mission to an asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.
What is the White House's beer recipe?
It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty.
On Citizens United, Super PACS and fundraising:
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. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress -- to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.
His most difficult decision in office:
The decision 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. 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.
On his favorite basketball player:
Jordan - I'm a Bulls guy.
On the job market, and the difficulty for young grads in finding jobs:
I understand how tough it is out there for recent grads. You're right -- your long-term prospects are great, but that doesn't help in the short term. Obviously some of the steps we have taken already help young people at the start of their careers. Because of the health care bill, you can stay on your parent's plan until you're 26. Because of our student loan bill, we are lowering the debt burdens that young people have to carry. But the key for your future, and all our futures, is an economy that is growing and creating solid middle-class jobs -- and that's why the choice in this election is so important. The other party has two ideas for growth -- more taxs cuts for the wealthy (paid for by raising tax burdens on the middle class and gutting investments like education) and getting rid of regulations we've put in place to control the excesses on Wall Street and help consumers. These ideas have been tried, they didn't work, and will make the economy worse. I want to keep promoting advanced manufacturing that will bring jobs back to America, promote all-American energy sources (including wind and solar), keep investing in education and make college more affordable, rebuild our infrastructure, invest in science, and reduce our deficit in a balanced way with prudent spending cuts and higher taxes on folks making more than $250,000/year. I don't promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for lon- term growth for your generation, and for generations to follow. So don't be discouraged -- we didn't get into this fix overnight, and we won't get out overnight, but we are making progress and with your help will make more.