When the White House announced that President Obama would hold a “Twitter Town Hall” in July by answering questions posed through the social media site, Republicans in Washington jumped at the opportunity, inundating the platform with questions, snarky comments and calls for action.
The president answered a series of questions, not all of them total softballs, including one from Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who posted dozens of questions for Obama on his page.
“After embarking on a record spending binge that left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs?” Boehner asked.
Obama chuckled, and called Boehner’s question “slightly skewed.”
Through a spokesman, the Speaker fired back: “‘Where are the jobs?’ isn’t a ‘skewed question’ to the millions of Americans who lost jobs since President Obama’s failed ‘stimulus’ spending binge began,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told Politico.
Scores of other Republican members of Congress took the opportunity to pose their own questions, although all but Boehner’s failed to yield a reply
“Why do you refuse to reform entitlements?” asked Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois. “They’re on an unsustainable path & reform saves them AND cuts debt.”
“House Republicans have passed a budget to lift the historic debt and put Hoosiers back to work#askobama about his budget,” read Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s account.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, one of the most well-known Republicans in the chamber, came out swinging with his tweet, challenging the president to a debate.
“Fearmongering won’t solve our debt crisis. Americans deserve a real debate,” Ryan said. “You pick: when and where?
But the most ambitious effort to alter the event’s message came from the United States Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business group that took on a heap of criticism from Obama during the 2010 mid-term elections.
Coordinating with Twitter’s new advertising capabilities, the Chamber paid to have its profile featured on the site during the town hall, spending what it called a “significant” amount on the event.
The group also urged supporters to post questions about jobs and the economy to the president through their Twitter accounts. The Chamber blasted out an email asking supporters to post the question: “Will you help businesses and free enterprise create #jobs by getting government out of the way?”
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