President Barack Obama took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the popular site Reddit Wednesday afternoon. The president verified in a tweet that it was in fact him answering the questions posed by users in the Reddit version of a Q&A.
The session started at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, and users were encouraged to ask whatever they wanted. "Hey, everyone: I'll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here:..." Mr. Obama tweeted.
Hey, everyone: I'll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here: OFA.BO/gBof44 -bo
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 29, 2012
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AMAs are common on Reddit, but never has such a high-profile personage taken part. At the very top of the thread, a post was sent out saying "The moderators and admins have confirmed this thread; this is actually President Obama."
The president took the time out from a campaign stop in Charlottesville, Va., to go online. That's the same college town where Reddit began.
"I was sitting in [the University of Virginia's] Alderman Library when I came up with the name 'Reddit,' and I never could've imagined that seven years later, the president of the United States would be using it -- let alone from the same place!" said Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian told Washington Post.
"We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?" asked Reddit user SharkGirl at 4:36 p.m.
Obama replied, "Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although their [sic] will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform."
Ormirian asked: "Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?"
Obama: "Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."
Daveforamerica asked the president: "What's the first thing you'll do on November 7th, win or lose?"
Obama answered: "Win or lose, I'll be thanking everybody who is working so hard - especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices."
The web page was hit with so much traffic that it experienced outages in the minutes leading up to the event, with a message reading "reddit is under heavy load right now, sorry. Try again in a few minutes." Some users who managed to get access to the page were met with another message stating that "This page is temporarily in read-only mode due to heavy traffic."