Washington Extra – Tweet tweet

July 6, 2011

President Barack Obama’s Twitter Townhall would have been more interesting if he had answered tweet for tweet.

Instead it looked a lot like an old-fashioned interview except the questions came over the transom on Twitter.

Of the tens of thousands of questions posed at #AskObama the ones chosen allowed the president to chew over long-standing talking points but offered little new insight. It might have been worth asking at least one fun question off the well-trodden policy path.

The White House did get into the novelty of it, inviting 140 guests to match the 140 characters allowed in a tweet. And Obama started off the event by tweeting from a laptop with a presidential logo set up on a stand.

But that was the last time during the event that he issued anything so brief. If his spoken answers had been tweeted in full they would have gone way past the red zone that signals over the limit on Twitter.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Obama tweets for first time, tweaks Republicans

U.S. President Barack Obama took to Twitter to press his economic agenda, using the popular social media site to tweak Republicans and advocate for a deal to reduce the deficit. In a “town hall” style meeting that lasted about an hour, the president fielded questions posted by users of the Twitter site and sent his first live tweet from a laptop in the White House East Room — making what he called presidential history.

For more of this story by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland, read here.

Cantor floats tax compromise for debt deal

A top Republican floated a tax compromise that could revive hopes for a budget deal as President Barack Obama warned the United States could spiral back into recession if an agreement is not reached soon. Rep Eric Cantor, the No. 2 official in the Republican-led House of Representatives, said that his party could agree to close some tax breaks in a trillion-dollar budget deal as long as they were offset with tax cuts elsewhere.

For more of this story by Andy Sullivan and Jeff Mason, read here.

Lagarde to give China bigger IMF job

China is close to clinching a top-level post at the IMF, sources familiar with the situation said after the IMF’s new chief pledged to give more power to emerging economies. IMF sources said Min Zhu, a Chinese national who was a special advisor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was expected to fill a new deputy managing director post to be created by Lagarde. “Min Zhu is expected to be named to deputy managing director,” an IMF board member said. The appointment would first need the approval of the IMF board.

For more of this story by Lesley Wroughton, read here.

Roger Clemens’ perjury trial begins

Baseball pitching great Roger Clemens may call ex-teammates to testify in his defense at his perjury trial while a prosecutor said he may mention or call as witnesses star players implicated in the steroids scandal. Both sides laid out their potential strategies on the first day of the trial in which one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history has been accused of lying to Congress when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

For more of this story by James Vicini and Jeremy Pelofsky, read here.

Easing economy will offer some respite to Obama

Signs of economic improvement could bolster President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes as he tries to beat back Republican attacks over his failure to create enough jobs. Economists say things are looking brighter in the second half of 2011, which would augur well for Obama as he gears up a 2012 campaign that will largely hinge on how Americans feel about the economy.

For more of this analysis by Patricia Zengerle, read here.

US FDIC backs pay clawback as Bair ready to exit

U.S. regulators could snatch back up to two years of Wall Street executives’ pay if they are found responsible for the collapse of a major financial firm, under a provision approved on Wednesday. It was part of a broader Federal Deposit Insurance Corp rule laying out the order in which creditors will be paid during a government liquidation of a large, failing financial firm.

For more of this story by Dave Clarke, read here.

From elsewhere…

Shuttles’ end stirs doubts about U.S. space program

As the clock ticks down to this week’s space shuttle launch, there is a mounting sense of uncertainty about future dominance in space. Friday morning’s launch of shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station will mark the end of an era in the U.S. manned spaceflight program. But former astronauts say the space program is in “disarray” and fear the end of the shuttles could mean a permanent decline in U.S. space leadership.

For more of this story, read here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at Twitter Townhall)

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