ByÂ Dave Boyer-The Washington Times
PresidentÂ Obama admitted Wednesday that he made mistakes in his economic recovery program, including not tackling the housing crisis aggressively enough, during the firstÂ Twitter town-hall event at theÂ White House.
â€œThe continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasnâ€™t bottomed out as quickly as we expected,â€Â Mr. Obama said. â€œWe had to revamp our housing program several times to try to help people stay in their homes and try to start lifting home values up. Thatâ€™s probably been the area thatâ€™s most stubborn to us trying to solve the problem. Weâ€™ve made some progress. Itâ€™s not enough. So weâ€™re going back to the drawing board.â€
The president answered 18 questions submitted byÂ Twitter followers and screened by officials of the social networking website. About 30 people chosen by theÂ White House attended the event in the East Room, whereMr. Obama initiated the meeting by typing out a â€œtweetâ€ on a laptop at a podium with the presidential seal.
His â€œtweet,â€ which had to be less than 140 characters, was: â€œIn order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep â€” bo.â€
The event was moderated byÂ Jack Dorsey,Â Twitter co-founder.Â Twitterfollowers all over the country were able to participate in real time and to follow a webcast of the event on theÂ White Houseâ€™s website. TheÂ White HouseTwitter account has more than 2.25 million followers.
In response to a question from aÂ Twitter follower from New Hampshire,Mr. Obama said another mistake he made was not explaining to Americans how long the economic recovery would take, because he failed to grasp the severity of the recession quickly when he took office.
â€œEven I did not realize the magnitude, because most economists didnâ€™t realize the magnitude of the recession until fairly far into it,â€Â Mr. Obamasaid. â€œI think people may not have been prepared for how long this was going to take, and why we were going to have to make some very difficult decisions and choices. I take responsibility for that.â€
The event was billed as a chance for the president to connect with ordinary Americans, but SpeakerÂ John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, andÂ New York Times columnistÂ Nicholas Kristof also managed to get in questions.Â Mr. Boehner, who is involved in high-stakes deficit reduction talks with the president, asked, â€œAfter embarking on a record spending binge thatâ€™s left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs?â€
The president laughed and said, â€œJohn obviously needs to work on his typing skills.â€
â€œJohnâ€™s the speaker of the House, heâ€™s a Republican, and so this is a slightly skewed question,â€Â Mr. Obama told the audience. But he saidÂ Mr. Boehnerâ€™s premise was right because, â€œwe have not seen fast enough job growth relative to the need.â€
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