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Pelosi takes questions from online crowd

  • Story Highlights
  • iReport and Digg contributors uploaded questions for user-generated interview
  • Online community voted for what would be asked
  • Top-ranked question tested Pelosi on Net neutrality. She passed
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DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- So what is Congress doing, anyway? That was a common refrain in a handful of questions posed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the first Digg Dialogg interview Wednesday night.

Digg CEO Jay Adelson presents the community's questions to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi live on

iReport contributor ReallyRick, whose real name is Rick Seno, wanted to know how Pelosi explained Congress' low approval rating. "What can you do to assure the voters that the Congress is not in gridlock?" he asked on camera from his Dallas, Texas, apartment.

"Everything has been eclipsed in my view by the fact that we have not stopped the war in Iraq. And we have to do that," Pelosi responded, but also said she was disappointed to hear that young people don't know about Congress' other recent successes in areas including college affordability and job creation.

Seno was one of hundreds of online contributors who submitted and ranked questions on and for an interview with the Speaker outside the Democratic National Convention. Watch ReallyRick's question

In all, Pelosi answered the nine top-ranked questions, including one on legalizing recreational marijuana (something "I don't think you'll see," she said), on a "playing dead" Congress ("It's clear we're not going to do more until we have a Democratic president."), and on government bailouts for Bear Stearns and Freddie Mac ("this relationship that we have now is not wholesome.").

Digg CEO Jay Adelson led the interview, the first in a series called the Digg Dialogg, introducing questions that came from, and were selected by, the online communities at and Starting on Monday, users uploaded more than 1400 text questions to and dozens more video questions to, CNN's user-generated news site. The Digg community picked the questions for the interview in an online vote. See all 1400+ questions on

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Adelson presented the questions to Pelosi verbatim, and in the order they'd been ranked by the Digg community, with no follow ups and no rephrasing. The entirely user-generated event took place just outside the Pepsi Center in Denver just minutes after Democrats officially nominated Sen. Barack Obama their candidate for president.

As you might expect in an interview driven by an online community, the top-ranked question had a decidedly tech bent: Digg user "maverick999" used his question to test the Speaker, asking her to define Net neutrality.

It's the "free exchange of ideas without having any gatekeepers or toll-takers on the information superhighway," Pelosi answered, indicating her support for the idea. "You're either on the side of the future, or you're in the past on this subject."

Pelosi dismissed a question from Digg user "spkrcity," who asked "Does your support for telecom immunity have anything to do with the fact that your husband has millions invested in AT&T?"


"He doesn't have millions invested in AT&T," she said, and "I didn't support telecom immunity."

One of the most common themes of the user-generated questions -- and one of the most discussed on -- was about Pelosi's stance on impeaching President Bush, but since none of them ended up at the top of the community's list, the question went unanswered. iReporter JanMarbol's poses a question as a video essay >>

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