Obama Takes To Twitter To Defend Tax Hikes For Wealthy

PHOTO: President Barack Obama participates in a Twitter chat about the "fiscal cliff" on Monday, December 03, 2012.The White House/Twitter
President Barack Obama participates in a Twitter chat about the "fiscal cliff" on Monday, December 03, 2012.

Twitter users peppered President Barack Obama with questions about the so-called "fiscal cliff" during a Monday afternoon Twitter chat amid a stalemate in the talks over tax rates and spending levels.

Obama participated in a 45-minute question-and-answer session on the social media site in an attempt to gain popular support for his proposal to pass tax breaks for all but the wealthiest Americans.

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Using #my2k, a Twitter hashtag meant to encourage people to tell what $2,000, the amount the White House says the average middle-class family would lose if Congress doesn't take action before the end of the year to extend tax cuts, Obama answered questions about the fiscal cliff.

"what is your opposition to taking away deductions for the 2% rather than up the rate?" asked one Twitter user. "Seems like a reasonable compromise #My2K"

"not enough revenue, unless you end charitable deductions, etc. less revenue=more cuts in education etc," Obama tweeted back, including a link to a White House web page on limiting tax deductions.

It's not the first time the president has turned to social media to reach a wider audience. He launched an "Ask Me Anything" thread in August on Reddit, a popular crowd-sourced site, covering everything from funding for the space program to the White House Honey Ale recipe. Both of his presidential campaigns, particularly the first, were notable for their effective use of social media to encourage voters, especially young people, to cast ballots.

He also connected with Twitter users over sports.

"da bears still gotta shot, despite sad loss this weekend! plus rose will return for playoffs!!" he tweeted in response to a user's query about which Chicago sports team "will win it all first."

"Gotta go, he tweeted at the end of the chat. "Thx. Keep pressure on Congress. Call, email, tweet your Member & tell them what 2k means to you. Lets get it done. #my2k – bo."