Barack Obama took to social news service Reddit today to answer questions posed by the site’s user base, but the event ended up taking on a more scripted feel than when other high-profile figures have fielded questions there.
Responses during the session — which began late — were spaced out by many minutes, as if they were being carefully vetted on the other end, yet contained frequent typos. Two possibilities seem likely: Either the President insisted on little oversight, and made a handful of errors — or a zealously calculating PR team inserted usage and capitalization mistakes in order to humanize an Obama sock puppet.
Disappointingly, Obama (or perhaps his writing staff) stuck primarily to “safe” topics including space exploration and internet freedom, both of which received his broad but vaguely-worded support.
The President dug into less-voted-for questions to opine about beer, sports, and support for his campaign staff. He eventually took time to answer questions about money in politics and student debt.
In general, Redditors were enthusiastic about the IAMA, joshing the President (who remained aloof) and each other (resulting in perhaps my favorite Reddit comment ever.)
“For proof, did he send you a picture of him holding a dated index card?” asked a participant during a separate exchange. “Or did the Secret Service land a helicopter on your house?”
“He faxed a copy of his birth certificate,” answered another.