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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid