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Politics and Media Headlines 3/26/09

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@BarackObama Updates His Twitter! (by Adam Ostrow at Mashable)
Barack Obama, Twitter’s second most popular user (CNN has passed him), updated his Twitter account [Wednesday] for the first time since taking office. The update is to promote the President’s online town hall, which encourages citizens to submit questions via The White House website. Obama will be responding to some of the most popular questions – determined by users voting them up ala Digg – via video on Thursday.

Obama turns to Web to bypass news media (AP)
President Barack Obama took questions from the White House press corps on Tuesday.. On Thursday, he is taking to that same room for another public grilling — this time by regular folks armed with questions submitted via the Internet and in person, as part of a political strategy to engage Americans directly. "It's a way for the president to do what he enjoys doing out on the road, but saves on gas," press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday.

Obama's Prime Time Pitch (
President Obama sometimes strayed from the facts or made dubious claims during his hour-long evening news conference March 24.

• He said his budget projections are based on economic assumptions that “are perfectly consistent with what Blue Chip forecasters out there are saying.” Not true. The average projection by leading private economists is now for substantially less economic growth than the administration’s forecast assumes.
• He said he is reducing “nondefense discretionary spending” to less than it was under the past four presidents. Not true. His own forecast for the final budget of his four-year term puts this figure higher than in many years under Reagan, Clinton or either Bush.
• He said he was “angry” about “inexcusable” bonuses paid to AIG executives. But he glossed over the fact that his own aides insisted on watering down a Senate-passed amendment that might have prevented payment of such bonuses.
• He repeated that his budget is projected to cut the federal deficit in half by the end of his term. That’s true, but deficits also are projected to shoot up again later unless big policy changes are made.

One of the most dramatic claims came not from Obama but from a reporter who asked about children “who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the country” and who said 1 child in 50 is “homeless.” The truth is far less dramatic. The study he cited doesn’t just count children with no roof over their heads. It also includes those whose families are staying with friends or family members, in hotels and motels, in trailer parks or in housing deemed to be “substandard.”
You’re not homeless if you’re forced to live with relatives, or in a lean-to? Why no, you’re a lucky ducky, ripe for being mocked by a man who makes more than $20 million a year. See below.—Caro

Limbaugh on "bogus statistic that 1 of 50 American children are homeless": "Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns (New York Times)
FRESNO, Calif. — As the operations manager of an outreach center for the homeless here, Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center. Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns.
And who was talking about this problem before the Ebony reporter asked his question at the press conference? Nobody.—Caro

Homesteaders in the Hood (Slate)
To survive, everyone needs to have a place to be and to sleep, eat, and, let's face it, go to the bathroom. For most of us, that place is the home. As rising unemployment pushes more people out of their houses and apartments, however, and growing numbers of Americans cannot find a place to perform these essential functions legally, they will have little choice but to break the law. And so some of them are turning to a strategy that has cropped up repeatedly in American history—squatting.

On the other hand, Rush has a lot of sympathy for Wall Street former millionaires and billionaires:—Caro
Limbaugh on people who work on Wall Street: "People want families like yours to suffer. They want you to understand how hard life is for them and that's why they support Obama" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Hannity, too, is worried about the rich (like himself)
Hannity fear-mongering: "If the government takes too much money ... just like if it was a terror attack against America, Americans will get hurt." (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

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Carolyn Kay

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