News / USA

Obama Takes Deficit Campaign to Facebook

President Barack Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg take part in a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt, April 20, 2011, at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
President Barack Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg take part in a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt, April 20, 2011, at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

President Barack Obama is using the social website Facebook to promote his ideas on cutting the U.S. government deficit. The president’s visit Wednesday to Facebook headquarters in California was a recognition of the site’s growing political influence.

It is estimated that 600 million people around the world use Facebook.  That is roughly twice the population of the United States.

President Obama tapped into that popularity Wednesday, by visiting the website’s base in Palo Alto, California, where he responded to questions in an online forum.

Related video report by Dan Robinson


The host of the event was Facebook’s 26-year-old billionaire founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg. "Sorry, I am kind of nervous. We have the President of the United States here," Zuckerberg said.

Several questions concerned the federal deficit, which is projected to reach $1.6 trillion this year. The president says his plan would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 to 12 years.  Republican Representative Paul Ryan says his competing plan would slice about $4.4 trillion from the deficit in a similar period.

One Facebook employee in the audience asked Mr. Obama whether he thought his plan or Congressman Ryan’s was more bold and courageous.

"The Republican budget that was put forward, I would say, is fairly radical.  I would not call it particularly courageous," the President said.

The president called the Republican plan shortsighted, and said it would cut too much from social programs and spending on economic development.

"I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere.  I think he is a patriot.  I think he wants to solve a real problem, which is our long-term deficit.  But I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is to change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way," Mr. Obama said.

Republican leaders have charged that Democrats have spent too much over the years, and are not serious about reducing the deficit.

A new public opinion poll indicates that Mr. Obama needs some help in promoting his deficit-cutting plan.  Fewer than four in every ten Americans surveyed for the ABC-Washington Post poll approve of the president’s handling of the deficit issue.  Republicans in Congress fare worse, with only one in three Americans saying they are doing a good job in closing the shortfall.

The same poll has Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating at 47 percent, one of the lowest points of his presidency.  However, it also shows him leading each of five potential Republican candidates, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, real estate mogul Donald Trump, former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

In 2008, the Obama campaign used Facebook to attract large numbers of young voters and campaign contributors.  Leaders of the president’s 2012 re-election campaign hope to duplicate that success, with the huge expansion of the social media over the past four years.

In his opening remarks Wednesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged the growing power of Facebook and other social media.

"More and more people, especially young people, are getting their information through different media.  And obviously, what all of you have built together is helping to revolutionize how people get information, how they process information, how they are connecting with each other," Mr. Obama said.

Only seven years after its founding, Facebook has an estimated value of $50 billion.  The website was used prominently by pro-democracy activists in Egypt and Tunisia, and it is reported to be planning to enter the China market.

The president’s three-day Western tour is almost equally divided between public forums on deficit reduction and campaign fundraisers. With 17 months remaining before the election, Obama campaign organizers have said they hope to raise as much as $1 billion. Next year’s U.S. presidential campaign is expected to be the most expensive in history.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs