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After Nearly 140,000 Questions, Obama to Answer 10-15 on YouTube After Nearly 140,000 Questions, Obama to Answer 10-15 on YouTube

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WHITE HOUSE

After Nearly 140,000 Questions, Obama to Answer 10-15 on YouTube

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President Obama began his weekly YouTube address even before taking office.(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

3:11 p.m.-- A perfect ending: someone asks Obama how to prepare for this next 'Sputnik moment' - a line from his State of the Union. What does America need from his generation, the man asks?

Obama goes back to his State of the Union talking points, talking about out-building and out-innovating other countries and making sure that young people have the resources they need to build their skills.

 

"The goal over the next couple of years is to make sure that even as we're reducing our deficit, dealing with our debt, we're still making some core investments for the future," he says. He wants us to feel the same sense of confidence about the future that previous generations have felt.

"I want our kids to be understanding that to win the future, we're going to have to outwork folks. We're going to have to be disciplined," he says. Even if math and science doesn't come easily to some people, they will have to work harder.

"We're going to have to up our game as individuals. Government can help."

 

3:09 p.m.-- A Peruvian national who is an activist for the DREAM Act asks about whether Obama will help stop deportations of students who qualify for the proposal in the act.

Obama reiterates a popular line, that people like the questioner are not at fault for growing up in the United States. He says he supports the DREAM Act and wants to get Democrats and Republicans to work together so people like the student who asked the question can stay here and become a nurse.

"This is one more problem that we can solve if we're not trying to score political points off each other but we're creating an environment where this is a country of laws, and a country of immigrants."

3:05 p.m.-- Someone asks Obama why his diabetes medicine is so much cheaper in Canada and Mexico. Obama says it is because the Canada and Mexico are bulk purchasers and can negotiate prices with the drug companies. He thinks that we should do that, too.

 

But Obama notes that if the questioner is getting his drugs through Medicare, the government is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors by closing the donut hole.

Also on health care: a man asks about why it is so much cheaper to feed kids Fruit Loops than fruit. Obama says that his wife is spearheading this issue across the country, and notes the deal with Wal-Mart that the first lady worked on recently to get the company to provide cheaper, healthier food.

He also says that the government is trying to encourage linkages with local farmers and food producers to get their products into underserved communities.

3:02 p.m.-- As with last year, Grove says there were a number of questions about Obama's drug policy. A former police officer asks about the war on drugs.

"I am not in favor of legalization," Obama says. "I am a strong believer that we have to think about drugs...as a public health problem." He says that, like smoking, drunk driving, a seatbelt use, we make more strides by changing people's attitudes. "On drugs, I think that a lot of times we have been so focused on arrest and incarceration and interdiction, we don't spend as much time thinking about how do we shrink demand."

He says the White House is looking at this issue very carefully, but it does require shifting resources and new strategy.

He adds that we need to do more to help provide resources for those who are addicted and our policy on nonviolent, first-time drug offenders - how to get them on the "straight and narrow" path.

2:58 p.m.-- Someone asks about efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Obama talks about his trip to Wisconsin yesterday, where he toured some factories that manufacture tools for clean energy use.

"We've lost some lead to China," he says about the clean energy race, saying that we've fallen behind to China in solar panel production. He also says we need to create an energy standard in the country. He said in the State of the Union that 80 percent of our energy should come from clean sources by 2035.

Someone asked why, if it is so cheap for him to make solar panels into his garage, it's so hard to make this technology widespread. Obama tells him to go into business.

"What we've got to do is make sure there is a market for entrepreneurs out there," Obama said.

2:55 p.m.-- A woman asks about whether the wars abroad are really necessary, and a man asks about how preventative wars distances his policies from President Bush's.

Obama says he doesn't buy into the premise that Afghanistan was a preventative war because that was where 9/11 launched from. He said he disagreed with going into Iraq, but that his adminstration is bringing the war to a close in an "honorable" fashion.

In Afghanistan, he says "it is my job as president to make sure that [al-Qaida] can't launch another attack against us." He admits the situation hasn't been perfect, but that they have been able to make progress.

He reiterates that we will be "out of Afghanistan by the end of this year" - though we think he meant we will begin withdrawing troops. End date for total transfer of military operations to Afghan army is 2014.

2:53 p.m.-- Asked about the Egyptian government blocking social networking cites, Obama says that Egypt has been a close ally, but that he's always said to President Hosni Mubarak that moving forward on political and social reform is crucial to the country's future. "My main hope right now is that violence is not the answer to solving these problems in Egypt," he says. "There's certain core values we believe in as Americans that we believe are universal," he says of freedom of speech.

2:47 p.m.-- Rapid round of personal questions:

Best part of being president? Seeing when you've helped people. He cites meeting a woman who got help making payments on cancer treatments because of the health care bill.

Toughtest? "The bubble. I can't go for a walk, I can't go to the corner coffee shop, I can't leave the house and not shave and have my sweats on."

Favorite class in college? A political science class with a professor (name coming later) from Occidental College.

Who will win the Super Bowl? "Now the Bears have lost, I have to say neutral."

What are you getting Michelle for Valentine's Day? "I will tell you that the more I'm campaigning, the more I'm president, each Valentine's Day seems to get more expensive. I've got more to make up for." But he says that she really just wants time, so he tries to get a date night in on Valentine's Day.

Favorite mathematician or scientist? "Lately, my favorite mathematicians and scientists are actually folks that are not very well known. I get a chance to meet them on a pretty regular basis through what's called PCAST - President's Council on Science and Technology, essentially." Like the chair, Eric Lander from Harvard, a mathematician, who can help explain math to people not as savvy as himself. As Prseident, Obama says, he loves having access to math and science experts.

He talks about Amy Chyao, the high school student from Dallas, Texas who was nationally recognized for her work on cancer treatment. She also came to the State of the Union.

Favorite YouTube video? He says he watches them with Sasha and Malia, who will show him videos. He usually uses YouTube for sports highlights.

2:45 p.m. -- Obama gets a question about how to fund Race to the Top. "Let's carve out a little bit of this money and create a contest among states," he says, after noting that Race to the Top spending only represents 1 percent of total education spending.

2:43 p.m.-- "Nothing that the government does replaces the role of government in education," Obama says in response to a question about education, including how to help minorities in education. "Building a culture around the love of learning is critical."

He talks about the challenges of finding good, experienced teachers in neighborhoods with high minority populations.

He also reminds people that we need to do a good job in closing achievement gaps for the fast-growing minorities like Hispanics.

2:40 p.m.-- Obama is asked about specific cuts he will make, and brings up the five year non-defense, discretionary freeze he proposed at the State of the Union. He adds that he doesn't want to give away too many details so that people will still pay attention when the White House releases its budget next month. "We want to cut with a scalpel as opposed to a chain saw," he says of cuts. He also notes that in some areas - research, education - government will spend some money.

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