Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Interactive Presidency

FDR gave Americans fireside chats on radio. JFK came into living rooms through live TV news conferences. Barack Obama is connecting with worried voters by Internet--email, online videos and proliferating web sites.

In each case, as a new medium of communication became universal, the White House wired into it to speak directly to people--one at a time.

What's different now is that voters are invited to talk back, which may in part account for the President's continuing popularity during the darkest period in generations. In this interactive presidency, Americans are not feeling abandoned.

This week, the Obama Administration unveiled another web site, on health care reform, to go with White, and others sure to come, giving information and asking for feedback.

In another move on the tech front, the President appointed as the first federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra, 34, to oversee expanded use of cutting-edge technology for information sharing between agencies, greater public access to government information and questions of security and privacy.

Whatever happens in the coming months, nobody will call Obama another George W. Bush, out of touch with the American people.

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