Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Twittering Our Credit Limits Away: Special Director’s Cut (MOTUS Exclusive)

I’m not talkin’ out of school by telling you that Big Guy’s first TTH (Twitter Town Hall) didn’t go as smoothly as we would have HOPEd. Big Guy seemed to forget that he was answering ADHD questions with “I’m a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago” answers. To say we lost control of the agenda is not the point; we lost the point.

ship of stateTwittering while the ship of state goes down

Knowing we have to get right back in the Twitter saddle - so to speak - Plouffee thought it would be a good idea to use yesterday’s presser as a practice tweet session. 

ObamaCowboyGiddy-up, Cowboy

He and his staff coached Big Guy on the Public Relations Q&A code, which happens to work really well for Twitter too. Here are the basics; no matter how long, complex or emotion packed the question, your response must be a one-liner: short, concise, direct. Big Guy, because his brain is like a steel trap (I still think that’s a bad analogy, butt Lady M seems to like it) indicated he was locked and loaded. Butt either he knows nothing about guns, or he got his “lock” and his “load” reversed. Either way, somewhere out on the shooting range he completely lost sight of the target. As a result, our trial run for the next big TTH ran off the rails a bit.

twitsSome twits at our Twitter Townie

We assigned our in-house video crew to scan the video from the press conference and cut Big Guy off when he reached the Twitter-max 140 character response. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Won that, on Twitter, unlike the scrubbed clean transcripts  and multimedia files provided by our Ministry of Propaganda (aka the MSM) every sound he utters, including non-fluencies would be counted. So that’s a mitigating factor, to be taken into consideration.

When using his opposable thumbs to tap out a real tweet, those non-fluencies won’t be there (I HOPE), taking up unnecessary characters. In fairness then, we didn’t count the commas inserted around the non-fluencies. They’ve just been added to assist with copy readability, and like I said, Big Guy won’t be inserting them with his thumbs anyway.

Butt, rules are rules, and the videographers were just following instructions. So here, first, is the truncated transcript, followed by the video clip of the truncated, 140 character, one-liner answers. As you’ll see brevity is the soul of wit, and there’s not much wit here to work with. If you actually care what Big Guy said, you’ll have to read the whole thing whole thing, butt be sure to carve out an hour or so.

twitter seal

It looks like we’re probably going to have to create a new position of Social Media/Twitter Czar, possibly at Cabinet level, for a bit of additional coaching before tackling another TTH.

press sec seal

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Mr. Claire Shipman

For Immediate Release

July 11, 2011

Press Conference by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Big Guy’s Briefing:

Good morning everybody. Uhhh I want to give a quick update on what's happening with the debt negotiations, provide my perspective, and then

Big Guy’s Close-Questions & Answers:

All right with that I’m going to uhh take some questions starting with Ben Feller

Ben Feller Question:

Thank you very much, Mr. President.  Two quick topics. Given that you’re running out of time, can you explain what is your plan for where these talks go if Republicans continue to oppose any tax increases, as they’ve adamantly said that they will?  And secondly, on your point about no short-term stopgap measure, if it came down to that and Congress went that route, I know you’re opposed to it but would you veto it?

Big Guy Answer:

I will not sign a 30 day or a 60 day or a 90 day extension Tha that is just not an acceptable approach And if we think it’s gonna to be hard

Ben Feller Follow-up:

Do you see any path to a deal if they don't budge on taxes?

Big Guy Answer:

I do not see a path to drill uhh to a deal if they don't budge, period. I mean, it it if the basic proposition is, "it's my way

Chip Reid Question:

Thank you, Mr. President.  You said that everybody in the room is willing to do what they have to do, wants to get something done by August 2nd.  But isn’t the problem the people who aren’t in the room, and in particular Republican presidential candidates and Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill, and the American public?  The latest CBS News poll showed that only 24 percent of Americans said you should raise the debt limit to avoid an economic catastrophe.  There are still 69 percent who oppose raising the debt limit.  So isn’t the problem that you and others have failed to convince the American people that we have a crisis here, and how are you going to change that?

Big Guy Answer:

Well luh luh let me distinguish between professional politicians and uhh the public at large Uh tha the public is not paying close attention

Chip Reid Follow-up:

Do you think he’ll come back to the $4 trillion deal?

Big Guy Answer:

Uh a I think Speaker Boehner has been very sincere about tryin to uhh do somethin big Uh I think he’d like to do something big

Rich Wolf Question:

Thank you, Mr. President.  You keep talking about balance, shared sacrifice, but in the $4 trillion deal that you’re talking about roughly, it seems to be now at about four-to-one spending to taxes; we’re talking about $800 billion in taxes, roughly.  That doesn’t seem very fair to some Democrats.  I’m wondering if you could clarify why we’re at that level.  And also, if you could clarify your Social Security position -- would any of the money from Social Security, even from just Chained CPI, go toward the deficit as opposed to back into the trust fund?

Big Guy Answer:

With respect to Social Security, Social Security is not the source of our deficit problems. Social Security uh if it if it is part

Sam Stein Question:

Thank you, Mr. President.  With unemployment now at 9.2 percent and a large chunk of those lost jobs coming from the private sector, is now a really good time to cut trillions of dollars in spending?  How will we still create jobs?  And then to piggyback on the Social Security question -- what do you say to members of your own party who say it doesn’t contribute to the deficit, let’s consider it but not in the context of this deal?

Big Guy Answer:

Uh, our biggest priority as an administration is getting the economy back on track and puttin people back to work. Uhh, now ya know without

Sam Stein Follow-up:

Are there things with respect to Social Security, like raising the retirement age, means testing -- are those too big a chunk for -

Big Guy Answer:

I, I’m probably not gonna to get into the details, Sam, right now of negotiations. Uh I might uhh enjoy negotiating with you but uhh I don’t

Leslie Clark Question:

Thank you, Mr. President

Big Guy Answer:

Thank you.

Leslie Clark Follow-up:

Have you -- you’ve talked with economists, you said that economists have agreed that a deal needs to be made.  Have you worked with new U.S. business leaders at all to lobby Congress to raise the debt ceiling?  And if so, who are you talking to?

Big Guy Answer:

Uhh, uhh I have spoken extensively to business leaders. Uhhm a a and and I’ll be honest with ya I think that business leaders leaders in the

Leslie Clark Follow-up Follow-up:

And can you say, as the clock ticks down, whether or not the administration is –

Big Guy Answer:

I’m sorry I, I

Leslie Clark Follow-up Follow-up Follow-up:

Can you say, as the clock ticks down, whether or not the administration is working on any sort of contingency plans if things don’t happen by August?

Big Guy Answer:

Uhh, we are going to get this done by August 2nd

George Condon Question:

Mr. President, to follow on Chip’s question, you said that the Speaker faces tough politics in his caucus.  Do you have complete confidence that he can deliver the votes on anything that he agrees to?  Is he in control of his caucus?

Big Guy Answer:

Uh you know that’s a question for the Speaker uhhh not a question for me. Um a my uh experience with John Boehners uhh has has been good. Uh

George Condon Follow-up:

So your confidence in him wasn’t shaken by him walking away from the big deal he said he wanted?

Big Guy Answer:

Ha ee ee ya know these things rr rr are a tough process. And and, look, in in in fairness, uhh uh a big deal would require uhh a lot of

Big Guy Answer:

April Ryan Question:

Mr. President, hi.  I want to revisit the issue of sacrifice.  In 2009, you said that -- expect the worst to come; we have not seen the worst yet.  And now with these budget cuts looming, you have minorities, the poor, the elderly, as well as people who are scared of losing jobs fearful.  And also, what say you about Congressman Chaka Fattah’s bill, the Debt Free America Act?  Do you support that bill?  Are you supporting the Republican bill that is similar to his, modeled after Congressman Fattah’s bill?

Big Guy Answer:

Well, uhm uh I I’m not going to comment on a paticalar bill right now. Le' me le' me speak to tha tha broader point that that you’re asking

Big Guy Closer:

Awright?  Thank you very much, everybody.

And here’s the video with Big Guy’s answers cut at the 140 character mark. We also cut out all of the press corpse questions, but you can read them in the transcript if you think it will help clarify the answers. We couldn’t truncate their questions as required by Twitter protocol because the First Amendment protects their right to say and write just about anything. Even Big Guy - so far - doesn’t have the authority to edit their questions. Censoring isn’t as much of an issue, as they pretty much take care of that on their own.

On second thought, maybe Twitter doesn’t really suit our needs after all. Although the good news is it did cut a 40 minute presser filled with no new information down to a nice compact 3 minutes of no new information.

And isn’t that what Twitter is all about any way?

Linked By: Larwyn’s Linx on DougRoss@Journal, Thanks!