This afternoon the President sat down to answer some of the questions on the minds of Americans across the country. The questions were submitted and voted on in a process open to the public, conducted through YouTube. It's no surprise that the questions didn't match up up perfectly with what the White House hears from the beltway press and pundits every day, after all it was intended as an opportunity for the public to ask precisely those kinds of questions. It made for an interesting interview.
One good example was a question about what's called "net neutrality":
MR. GROVE: Great. Well, let's move back to the questions. And I got to tell you, the number one question that came in, in the jobs and economy category had to do with the Internet. And it came from James Earlywine in Indianapolis. He said: "An open Internet is a powerful engine for economic growth and new jobs. Letting large companies block and fill their online content services would stifle needed growth. What is your commitment to keeping Internet open and neutral in America?"
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm a big believer in net neutrality. I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it. My FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has indicated that he shares the view that we've got to keep the Internet open; that we don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet. So this is something we're committed to.
We're getting pushback, obviously, from some of the bigger carriers who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract more money from wealthier customers. But we think that runs counter to the whole spirit of openness that has made the Internet such a powerful engine for not only economic growth, but also for the generation of ideas and creativity.