Twitter activism, #p2, and Ask the President

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#p2 (Progressives 2.0) is working to get progressive questions from diverse perspectives more coverage in traditional and new media.

The March 19-March 24 Ask the President project offered a chance to influence the March 24's White House news conference and March 26 online town hall. Blog posts on Liminal States, The Seminal, Alterdestinies, Comments from Left Field, and elsewhere highlighted the contest and particular questions. The bulk of our activity was on Twitter.

On Tuesday morning, March 24, we had a list of seven questions on our wiki page and in our Tweeting Points for the day. President Obama responded to three of the seven questions on this list, including one that had been originally asked on Twitter, in his online town hall meeting. Two of these answers were repeated on the White House blog.



Also supported
or tweeted by

Answered by Obama?
What are you planning on doing about all the homeless veterans out there?
bcreative2003 on Twitter

Do you still support increased VA funding?
truthbites on YouTube
Will you partner with recovering communities to support funding and authorization for their plan, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Program, to rebuild community infrastructure, restore the environment and create 100,000 green job and training for residents and displaced workers? Gulf Coast Civic Works NOW

Why is a single-payer model not being seriously considered and discussed as part of the major healthcare reform proposals under your administration?
Fai Borowiec
Why Tuesday?
Why Tuesday? on YouTube
care2, Rep. Shel Israel, @garyvee @AskThe President, ...

What are your thoughts on the possibility of prison reform, especially in the area of drug crime?
Boris Millman

What are your plans and timeframe to get FISA right?
Get FISA Right on Wetpaint
Get FISA Right

VA Funding and homeless veterans

from truthbites via video: Do you still support increased funding for veterans?

from bcreativ2003 via Twitter and Ask the President: What are you planning on doing about all the homeless veterans out there?

from Columbia South Carolina via Open for Questions: How can you, the VA, and I ensure our veterans are successfully transitioning into civilian life?

Excerpts from President Obama's response (see Wrapping up Open for Questions on the White House blog for more)

... in my budget we are increasing veterans funding by more than any time in the last 30 years. We're going to make sure that we deal with the -- (applause) -- we're going to make sure that deal with the backlog that too many veterans experience in terms of getting benefits. We're going to make sure that homeless veterans are receiving housing and services. We're going to make sure that homeless veterans are receiving housing and services.

The homeless rate for veterans is multiple times higher than it is for non-veterans. That's inexcusable. It means that we're going to provide services for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, that we're going to provide services for Traumatic Brain Injury that are the signature injuries of these recent wars. So we are going to significantly increase veterans spending.

Now, just as is true generally, government alone can't do it. So all of us individually are going to have roles. If you're a business owner, hiring a veteran, not discriminating against somebody who's a veteran is going to be absolutely critical. In your communities, in your churches, in your neighborhoods, making sure that there's outreach and celebration of veterans when they come home, that's going to be critical.

Single-payer health care

... in progress ...

Voting in Ask the President

We also did well in the Ask the President rankings, with four of the questions on this list in the top 10.

At 94%, Get FISA Right's question had the highest approval rating in the top 50 questions.Ask the President Widgets has the full questions and details about the results.

Media attention

As well as getting an answer to the question, one of the goals for participating in something like Ask the President is to get the cause (and potentially the advocacy group) some media attention. Successes so far:

  • single-payer health care mentioned by
  • lack of media attention to FISA and domestic surveillance discussed on Twitter with Washington Times White House correspondent Jon Ward
  • Twitter-based actvism:
    • cited by the Ask the President coalition in ...

... include include other examples of success stories ...

Find out more

To follow the conversation about these and other progressive topics, check out the p2 and askpres channels on TweetLeft.

For more on #p2's advocacy strategy, see Jon Pincus'
Mr. President, do you like Skittles? and Activism at the speed of Skittles: #p2 and #askpres on Twitter on The Seminal.


About "Ask the President"

Obama Press Conference

What questions do you think President Obama should be asked at his next press conference?

Ask the President provides a way to tell the media and the president what everyday citizens want to know. Propose a question you want asked at the next White House press conference -- and vote on questions other people have proposed. It couldn't be easier; none of this even requires registration

How to Promote

ShareClicking the share button gives you several different ways to share your question with others.
ReTweetClick a question's ReTweet button to tweet about a question on Twitter. That will take you to a Twitter page already filled in with a shortened link to the question and the #askpres hashtag to make it easy for others to find it. All you have to do is type your message. Many questions even provide "Tweeting points" to get you started.
LinkThe URL for each question is in the "link" box at its bottom right

Find Out More

Ask the President is a collaborative effort of a broad coalition spanning the political and technological spectrum, including The Nation, the Washington Times, Pesonal Democracy Forum, Jack and Jill Politics, Culture Kitchen, Smart Mobs, and many others. Ari Melber has been providing regular updates in The Nation

Laura Flanders' video from The F-Word:

How to Vote

YesVote for a question by clicking its green thumbs-up button.
NoVote against a question by clicking its red thumbs- down button.

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#p2 ("Progressives 2.0") is a resource for progressives using social media who prioritize diversity and empowerment.

The page you're looking at represents an effort to harvest and promote progressive questions for presidential press conferences.