The President is working the crowds again this morning, but this time he's telecommuting to the job with what the White House is calling an online town hall. ("It's a way for the president to do what he enjoys doing out on the road but saves on gas," says press secretary Robert Gibbs.)
The session, called "Open for Questions," is the next logical step in the All-Obama-All-the-Time presidency. By the deadline for voting, 91,000 people had submitted more than 103,000 questions and more than 3.5 million had cast votes for their favorites.
Most, of course, were about the economy and financial crisis, but special-interest groups were active, as reflected in the question of whether he favors the pending California bill to legalize marijuana.
It's a commentary on what's happening to American media that everyone but newspaper reporters has been grilling the President in his information blitz over the past week, but the New York Times and Los Angeles Times blogs will be live-posting on the Internet Town Hall here and here.
No more time for kibbutzing here. Have to go watch and listen.
Update: The man is mesmerizing, no doubt about that. His ability to reach out and connect with people should be bottled and made available to all politicians, but only if they qualify by having a reasonable facsimile of his intelligence and empathy. Leavening an hour and a half of wonk talk with anecdotes about his mother's terminal illness and his daughter's experience of a spinal tap, Obama showed today why presidents from here on will have to reach a new level as communicators. The dangers of demagoguery are obvious, but at the very least, the days of Empty Suits like George W. Bush are over