President Holds Twitter Town Hall Meeting

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US President Barack Obama (r) sits with Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey as he answers a tweet from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio during a “Twitter Town Hall” in the East Room of the White House. (AP)

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WASHINGTON (KCBS) – President Barack Obama held his first-ever presidential town hall meeting on Wednesday via the San Francisco-based social media site Twitter.

In his administration’s latest attempt to tap into social media, President Obama opened by sending himself a question about deficit reduction.

“I am going to make history here as the first president to live tweet,” he said.

Americans were able to send the president questions, which he answered aloud, not constrained by the normal 140-character limit. The main focus was jobs and the economy.

“Even I did not realize the magnitude because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude of the recession until fairly far into it,” Obama said.

Nicco Mele, an adjunct professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and veteran of online political campaigns, said the meeting garnered far more attention than conventional ones do.

“The White House gets to look hip and technically with it. It’s part of the narrative of the Obama administration in how savvy they are with emerging technologies,” said Mele.

He said the event also let the president speak directly with Twitter users, who tend to be more politically active and engaged.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern followed the President’s tweets closely.

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(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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