(CNN) – The White House looked to harness the power of social media – again – to boost its public relations push on the fiscal cliff by launching the #My2K hashtag Wednesday.
The effort to popularize the Twitter subject hashtag coincided with President Barack Obama's meeting Wednesday with 85 Americans who answered a White House email sent out last week asking why extending middle class tax cuts was important for Americans.
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"I'm asking Americans all across the country to make your voice heard," Obama said at the event. "Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you. Call your members of Congress. Write them an email, post it on their Facebook walls. You can tweet it using the #My2K."
If Congress is unable to come to an agreement on a deficit-reduction deal, the White House says that a typical middle class family would see their taxes go up by $2,200.
The president said he was excited to work in a bi-partisan manner to address the expiring tax cuts and the potential for slashed military and entitlement spending making up the fiscal cliff.
"But, our first job is to make sure that the taxes on middle class families don't go up," Obama said, "and since we all theoretically agree on that, we should get that done. If we get that done, a lot of the other stuff is going to be a lot easier."
Following the event, the White House asked that Americans use the hashtag to share their stories on Twitter, other social media channels and on WhiteHouse.gov. As of Wednesday afternoon, #My2K was already trending on Twitter.
"I'm asking Americans to make your voice heard. Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you."—
Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 28, 2012
This isn't the first time the Obama administration has used social media to pressure lawmakers.
In a fight over student loan interest rates in July, the president urged a crowd at a campus of University of Nevada-Las Vegas to use #dontdoublemyrate on social media to force Congress to act on impending interest rate hikes. And in December 2011, the president asked Americans to lend their support to extending the payroll tax cut via Twitter using #40dollars. According to the White House, that effort saw the hashtag trending not only nationwide, but worldwide in a short time.
As for #MY2K, the White House Twitter account retweeted some of the responses, including one from @BasilBaker:
#My2K is needed to pay for my prescriptions. My neighbors need their 2K to help keep their son in college. Pass middle-class tax cut now!
#My2K is needed to pay for my prescriptions. My neighbors need their 2K to help keep their son in college. Pass middle-class tax cut now!—
Basil Baker (@BasilBaker) November 28, 2012
Democratic lawmakers also took advantage of the hashtag's popularity to gain support. The Democrats in the Ways and Means committee tweeted:
Ways and Means Dems (@WaysMeansCmte) November 28, 2012
Not to be outdone, Republicans in the Twitter-verse used the hashtag to turn the tables on the president. The Heritage Foundation, for instance, purchased a promoted tweet using the hashtag and then pulled together top conservative tweets on the subject.
Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) November 28, 2012
And Former George W. Bush press secretary and CNN contributor, Ari Fleischer made light of Obama pushing for a Bush policy:
If tax cuts get extended for 98%, give O White House credit for the #My2K hashtag. Give Pres. Bush credit for the tax cuts.—
Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) November 28, 2012
If tax cuts get extended for 98%, give O White House credit for the #My2K hashtag. Give Pres. Bush credit for the tax cuts.
The president's push to muster public support for fiscal cliff negotiations is part of a larger public relations thrust by the west wing in an effort to pressure congressional action on the fiscal cliff.
That effort, largely based on gathering support outside the Beltway, has faced criticism by Republican members of Congress who suggest the president's time would be better served reaching across the aisle in Washington.
"Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement he is back on the campaign trail presumably with the same old talking points that we are all quite familiar with," Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
The president is traveling to Pennsylvania Friday to host a campaign-style event focused on the fiscal cliff.
Based on a poll released Wednesday, it would seem the president already has the public's support, in part, for his approach to the negotiations. An ABC News/Washington Post survey shows that 60% of Americans questioned say they back higher taxes on people making more than $250,000, with 37% opposed. And a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicated that two-thirds of Americans supported a deal to avert the fiscal cliff that included both spending cuts and tax increases.
– CNN's Becky Brittan, Alex Mooney and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.