March 26th, 2009
12:18 PM ET
14 years ago

Liveblogging President Obama's town hall


Watch the Obama town hall on

On Tuesday, President Obama took questions from the national press corps - today, it's your turn. The president will be responding to questions from ordinary Americans this morning in a video live stream, and CNN wants hear what you think of the answers. If you'd like to weigh in, submit your comment here during the livecast. CNN Political Editor Mark Preston will be joining the conversation with instant analysis.

Click here to read the live blog and submit a comment!

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Join us here on the Political Ticker at 11:30 am ET.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. JimG

    Isn't it interesting how most of the posts here address the President directly, as opposed to something like "Why don't those people in Washington ..."?

    Obama seems to be very successful at addressing the American People directly, because we're answering directly!

    March 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Los

    Marijuana will someday eventually be legal. It makes no sense for it to be illegal while alcohol is widely available wherever you look, and causes untold amounts of pain and misery every year. You never see anyone staging an intervention for marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. FJ from Atlanta

    Hey Mark,

    You have to give the President high mark on explaining things to the american people in simple terms and keeping them involve in the process.

    He is the Commander-In-Chief and Explainer In-Chief. He is the people's champ.


    March 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Chet

    Although obviously many people,including the president, feel that the question of legalizing weed is a joke, the amount of support demonstrated recently shows that many of us feel it is not. As a Purple Heart veteran who is on the verge of dropping out of college because my GI Bill benefits total less than 400 dollars a month, as someone who cannot find a job and is unemployed, and suffers from PTSD and has not gotten the help I need, I was interested in all the topics discussed. But I know the answers already. The administration has been asked and answered all of their responses. Instead of answering a question I tuned in for I was laughed at by the president of the United States for supporting policy that would help diminish crime, respect personal freedom, lower law enforcement costs, and generate jobs. Shame on you, sir. Whether you agree with legalization at least respect our legitimate questions.

    March 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Brian Crooks

    March 26th, 2009 12:31 pm ET

    My question would be: Why not hold a live town hall meeting in this format and answer questions "off-the-cuff" rather than pick and choose between 150,000 questions that were submitted ahead of time? I'd like to see if you can actually think on your feet and I'd like to know where you stand on issues without the filter of preparation.
    He did that last week twice in California.

    March 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. markpreston

    By the numbers

    From the White House:

    * 92,928 people submitted 104,113 questions
    * 3,606,692 votes were cast for the questions.

    March 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |

    @karen-Phoenix, I couldn't have said it any better. He did say he is here for all of us not just to sit behind his desk in the Oval office and then hearing what his plans are from his Press Secretary. This way we as the people can truly hold him accountable for his statements, you know getting it straight from the horses mouth. This is what he did as a community organizer. Yes he may have been stumped at some of the questions but at least he is allowing us to ask. With regards to legalizing pot, well if there is a study and I'm sure there is I believe you will find more deaths coming form DRUNK DRIVERS than POT SMOKING AND MORE DUI DUE TO ALCOHOL RATHER THAN POT. Legalizing Pot will stop crime and what is going on in Mexico it will cut shut down the drug cartel with regards to Pot. This is a tough one. If crime is reduced and it generates revenue then why not just like Alcohol was legalized. My husband traveled a lot there are countries in Europe where drugs are legal, the police don't even carry guns and the crime rate is no where near ours.

    March 26, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Google to find out how much we're spending every year on excessive sentencing of drug USERS. THAT is where the money is getting thrown away. Sure, DEALERS should be in jail, but USERS??? Ridiculous. It's all so politicians can pretend they're "tough on crime" and cite statistical data showing how many "druggies" they threw in jail for 10 years for having a gram of coke on them and claim that they're "cleaning up the streets." Streets are still looking pretty dirty to me.

    March 26, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Bear

    I... I just lost a lot of respect for President Obama. Watch as he answers each question up to the marijjuana reform question fully and intelligently.

    Watch as he blows off the reform question and the crowd laughs.

    I've never been so disappointed in my leaders... and that's saying something.

    March 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Joe the Schmoe

    "'m deeply disappointed by Obama's sarcastic summary response to all the cannabis questions. It's a real issue to many Americans."

    You should be disappointed in the cannabis lobby, they flooded the question queue with legalization questions. I support legalization/decriminalization, but seeing all those weed questions on Jobs, Green Jobs, Budget etc made the issue a joke issue.

    March 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. JimG


    We saw that on Tuesday, and his message was almost exactly the same.

    Obama seems to be very good at making his points regardless of the question or the lack of preparation. Very impressive.

    March 26, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Mel

    MIke, exactly what is the difference? He only had two hours for people to submit questions before the meeting started. The only difference is the medium with which its presented. The internet reaches more people.

    March 26, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Shooky


    There is NO WAY taxing weed alone can turn the economy around, even if they add an additional sales tax at like 90% like the proposed tax on AIG bonuses, but that would anger a big chunk of Obama's voters. Then they'll have to move on to a cheaper high like buying peoples prescription meds or sniffing paint... anything they can do to avoid sobriety, because sobriety is apparently so oppressive and out of the question.

    Of all the pot smokers I know, not one of them admits to being an irresponsible user although an objective look at their lives will tell you otherwise.

    March 26, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. J. Syrowski

    On the subject of education: One of the fundamental problems with the education system is not the schools, it is in the parents who do not value education and the environment that children must live in from day to day. Their environment is not nurturing. Schools are taking on the roles of parents, psychologists, disciplinarians, chaplins, and meal makers. Parents are abdicating their responsibility to develop productive citizens who can contribute to our society. On a side note to this, is that the third generation of welfare has learned to use the system to do as little as possible and depend on the government and the responsible citizens to fund their lack of responsibility.

    March 26, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. GG from Minnesota

    I just wish the President had a better understanding of economics. If his proposals are adopted we'll have the largest expansion of the federal government since FDR. Handing over control of whole industries to the government and saddling the country with vast amounts of additional debt will not make a more prosperous nation. Command economies just don't work in the real world, just ask the Russians and Chinese.

    March 26, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. FJ from Atlanta

    Excellent question from the teacher from Philadelphia.

    March 26, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. PJP

    Mark, yes I think he boned up on the answers to the questions he wanted to answer or someone wanted him to answer. He can get his story straight and have someone write him out an answer before he makes it look like he has got all the answers. That's my story and i'm sticking to it.

    March 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Chad

    Mike Fairfax,
    I totally agree that the questions should be 'winged'. However, there is no doubt that he can think on his feet he is a top graduate from Harvard Law.

    March 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    @ Mike in Fairfax, who asked "My question would be: Why not hold a live town hall meeting in this format and answer questions "off-the-cuff" rather than pick and choose between 150,000 questions that were submitted ahead of time? "

    He just did a live town hall in CA and answered live questions on his feet and it was fantastic. He's testing a different medium/venue to see how well WE can work together to make it work. He can't be everywhere at all times except on the internet.

    March 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Mike in Fairfax


    I mean one like this, where those who are not necessarily there to get a gander at his greatness might actually ask a question that doesn't just give him a chance to toss out his regular stump speech.

    March 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Drummer

    "If we legalize weed, why dont we also legalize STEROIDS for athletes? You get results but later, your bodies suffer from it. "


    You can't say the same for steroids, alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs.

    Bottom line, cannabis is illegal because you can grow it in your own backyard and big companies can't profit from it. They have all the lobbying money.

    And if you can show me 1 documented death due to cannabis, please provide a link!

    March 26, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Lorrie

    President Obama,

    Would you consider making student loans 100% tax deductible without income limitations.

    March 26, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. gregory

    I listened to the President and I think it was really cool....

    What a generation we have in the white house. How refreshing?

    March 26, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. Zion

    @ Observant,

    I am very angry and upset with President Obama. How dare he say we (America) don't want the out-sourced jobs back. Manufacturing jobs average pay 50 – 60 K, finance jobs avg pay 45-60K. An American combined household income of 90 to 100K. And he want to provide all of us with green jobs that haven't even been created yet. I personally voted for him because he said he would look into the closing some of tax loopholes. "Watch way they do and not what they say." With that being said, "Watch what I do in 2012″. Anyone but the current (with the exception of Sarah Palin, I am angry not stupid).

    If you were really observant, you would realize that green jobs will replace these jobs that you want back. That's long term thinking versus short term thinking. Green is where its going. That's like I am trying to explain to people in my school district, you need to learn how teach to children who speak a second language because soon they will comprise a great deal of your students. Short term thinkers are saying, nay, lets just improve this now, and wait till later. (Just an example). If you noted in your own statement, he said, he would close "some of the tax loopholes." He can't close them all. Realistically, we cannot stop outsourcing. Companies have always been doing it, it just became more obvious with a hurting economy. If you vote Republican, remember, most of those guys are in states that have foreign based auto companies, therefore you will have protested in vain.

    March 26, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Progress vs. Stagnation

    This forum is fantastic!

    President Obama is setting new standards for presidents to come - all presidents should make a point of communicating directly with the people who helped elect them.
    This is so refreshing, considering the secrecy of the Bush Administration.

    By the way, all of those Republicans who are touting that they want "Obama to fail" are going to see a huge backlash. This campaign is going to backfire. The President is too popular. This is the first administration since Clinton's in 1992 in which the people actually feel that they were part of the process.

    March 26, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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