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President Obama tweets his pitch to the public

By Dan Lothian, CNN White House Correspondent
updated 10:15 PM EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
Twitter photo of President Barack Obama's online town hall captured by White House photographer Pete Souza with effects.
Twitter photo of President Barack Obama's online town hall captured by White House photographer Pete Souza with effects.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The president answers questions via Twitter
  • Members of the public had tweeted the questions
  • Questions include energy independence and help for homeowners

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) -- It was a mini Twitter town hall.

After delivering remarks on his clean-energy policy in Newton, Iowa, President Barack Obama sat down at a laptop and answered a handful of questions on Twitter that had been submitted hours earlier by the tweeting public.

"This is barack-let's get this started!" Obama typed.

In 140 characters or fewer, questions focused on topics such energy independence, help for homeowners stuck with underwater mortgages, and assistance for small businesses.

"What plans do u have to keep us & our fellow smlbiz afloat?" one person wrote.

Obama responded by explaining what he had done to give small businesses tax credits for hiring new workers and tweeting that he was pushing for more assistance on his to-do list.

"items on #CongressToDoList puts more $ in folks pockets, which means more customers for you," he wrote.

On a question about student loans, the president blamed Republicans for "not moving fast enough."

When one person asked about help for homeowners trapped by underwater or upside-down mortgages -- when someone owes more than his home is worth -- Obama took a swipe at his likely opponent, Mitt Romney, whom he didn't mention by name.

"I refuse to let mkt hit bottom," Obama wrote, a reference to comments Romney once made about the housing market.

Obama ended the Twitter Q&A by telling his cyber audience that he was off to Des Moines, where he was holding a grassroots campaign rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

"thx for questions - keep em coming. remember we're not D's or R's but americans first!"

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