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Why did President Obama do a Reddit 'Ask Me Anything'?

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Steve Helber/AP

(Read caption) University of Virginia students and supporters cheer President Obama during a rally in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday. He targeted the same demographic with a Reddit appearance the same day.

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President Obama made a surprise appearance on a popular Internet social forum today, popping up on Reddit to take questions from users via a forum known as Ask Me Anything, or AMA.

Reddit users were at first astounded that the president of the United States had landed in their midst. After site administrators confirmed that the person with the username “President Obama” was in fact POTUS, all heck broke loose.

Questions poured forth, from serious inquiries about how to handle college debt in a down economy, to the identity of Mr. Obama’s favorite toothpaste and his attitude towards (the late rock star) Freddy Mercury and (current actor) Neil Patrick Harris.

Users get to pick their questions in AMA, so the silly stuff went unanswered. Among other things, Obama told Reddit that his toughest decision as president had been the approval of the surge of troops into Afghanistan.

“The decision did help us blunt the Taliban’s momentum, and is allowing us to transition to Afghan lead.... But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget,” wrote Obama.

Answering a query about the dangers of money in politics, Obama opined that the flood of cash from "super political-action committees" threatens to drown out the voices of “ordinary citizens.” He said that over the longer term the US might need to mobilize a “constitutional amendment process” to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.


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