As Obama's Google Plus Hangout looms, his YouTube channel has attracted some controversial questions he likely didn't expect to face during Monday's post-State of the Union conversation.
From dozens of questions about his administration's drug policy and the U.S. imprisonment rate to countless inquiries about the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and other controversial legislation, he faces a barrage of inquiries on a variety of contentious issues as Monday night's event looms.
He is expected to answer some of the highest-rated questions on the site, as decided by a public voting system, but there have been repeated claims that the administration does not approve of some of the questions and has removed some that if answerred would likely provide great fodder for Republican campaign ads this year.
Obama is slated to respond Mondaynight to a selection of the 133,219 questions received via the YouTube portal over the past two weeks. His responses will come live during the first-ever White House Google+ Hangout event, in which he will be joined by some of the people who submitted questions. The Hangout will be simultaneously broadcast on the White House's YouTube channel. Both the Hangout and YouTube simulcasts begin at 5:30 EST.
Dear Obama, Youtube deleted NORML's question that was asked to you. So I'm going to repost it. Please respond. 'Pres. Obama, what is inappropriate about saving billions and not arresting nonviolent american citizens for marijuana? #WHChat @WhiteHouse.'
David Seaman, a Business Insider contributor, wrote on his Suicide Girls blog about some questions related to the NDAA supposedly being deleted from the site. Seaman posted screenshots on the blog that show that a number of questions regarding NDAA on the YouTube channel have been removed and replaced with the following message: This submission has been removed because people believe it is inappropriate.
Similar messages appeared Monday when searching for NDAA, but despite the fact that many such questions appear to have have been removed, a number of touchy questions about Obama's handling of the law - which he signed Dec. 31 - still remain, such as this highly-rated one from a Washington state YouTube user: On New Years Eve you signed the NDAA, which gives you or any other president the power to arrest any U.S. citizen who suspected of being a terrorist and hold them indefinitely without trial could you please explain how this is constitutional?
It would be difficult for Obama to dodge such questions entirely, as there are currently more than 1,100 mentioning NDAA posted on the site (some of which simply display the placeholder message saying they had been removed), and 2,300 mentioning SOPA (many of which have also been removed), many of which are rated overwhelmingly positively.
The official description of the event does leave Obama some wiggle room to avoid some questions, as it does not state that he will select all the top-rated ones, but instead a selection of them: You asked, and today President Obama will answer a selection of your top-voted YouTube questions, live at 5:30 p.m. ET, from the West Wing of the White House. For the first-time ever, the entire interview will be conducted virtually through a Google+ Hangout.
To watch Obama's post-State of the Union conversation, simply visit the White House's official YouTube page at 5:30 p.m. EST Monday.