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Obama is 1st US Prez to host a Twitter town hall

(image) Washington: Barack Obama has become the first US President to host a Twitter town hall meeting to reach out to weary Americans on a range of issues, including the state of the world`s largest economy.

"I am going to make history here as the first President to live tweet," Obama, the 44th US President, said as he kicked off an event billed as a "Twitter Town Hall" from the East Room of the White House yesterday.

Obama used a live webcast to answer questions, submitted via tweets containing the hashtag #AskObama, on issues ranging from jobs to the economy.

"It`s only 140 characters," moderator and Twitter`s co- founder Jack Dorsey reminded Obama as he failed to keep his answers to 140 characters.

During his tweeting session, Obama did take 18 questions and gave feedback on six responses.

A panel of users re-tweeted questions to choose those to be asked.

Obama, who pioneered the use of social media during his 2008 election campaign, began the event by tweeting his own question: "In order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep?"

He then answered the question, saying the US must "make a determination in what programmes could help us grow", like programmes focused on clean air and water. "It could cause a whole new spiral into a second recession or worse," Obama said of the potential effects of a failure to reduce the deficit.

Obama had previously said he wished to reduce the deficit by USD 4 trillion in the next decade by trimming domestic spending, including defence, and raising taxes on wealthy Americans.

Macon Phillips, the White House Director of Digital Strategy, said in a statement that the purpose of the Twitter town hall meeting is to "try to find new opportunities to connect with Americans around the country."

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