Monday, August 22, 2011
UPDATE: You asked, the White House responds!

CNN’s own Wolf Blitzer sat down with President Obama last week for an exclusive, one-on-one interview from Peosta, Iowa. Several iReporters submitted questions for the president, on topics ranging from domestic call centers to jobs and the economy to political posturing.


We didn't want your videos to go unanswered, so we sent them to the White House. Not long after, we received video answers to several of your issues from three administration officials. We're sharing them with you now.


View the videos below to see the White House staffers' responses shown in their entirety, along with the question originally posed by the iReporter.


All of the iReporters in turn posted commentaries on the White House videos, and those submissions are now linked as well:




How will you bring call center jobs back to America? (From Steve Gordon of St. Petersburg, Florida)


Answered by: Jen Psaki, Deputy Director of Communications


NEW: View Gordon's response





Can we get assistance for people behind on their mortgages? (From Shawn Louise Blumenfeld of Mount Vernon, Washington)


Also answered by Jen Psaki


NEW: View Blumenfeld's response





As African Americans were largely your base in the first campaign, what opportunities are there to create jobs in America by building Africa? (From Jay O'Conner of New York)


Answered by: Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting


NEW: View O'Conner's response





Where's the progress on alternative fuels? (From Brett Bayne of West Hollywood, California)


Answered by: Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change


NEW: View Bayne's response





Why aren't we going toward more options like solar power? (From Marie Cox of North Canton, Ohio)


Also answered by Dan Utech


NEW: View Cox's response



Now it's your turn. What do you think about the responses to the iReporters' questions?


We want to know your views on jobs, fiscal policy, the global economy, fuel, oil independence and beyond. Comment below or sound off on video.

August 22, 2011
Click to view blckdrgn's profile

Why do we only invest $30 billion a year in Nanotechnology when other countries invest $300 billion or more? Nanotechnology will play a HUGE role in shaping the next century. We need to be at the forefront of this technology. It will have a larger impact than the auto industry or computers/internet combined.

August 22, 2011
Click to view Mephistphole's profile

Why do you keep playing the class envy card by insisting the only way we can balance the budget is to raise taxes on those of us making more then $250,000 a year.  If taxes need to be rasied then why aren't you suggesting everyone take an equal hit.  Raise taxes on everyone by 2% or 4% or 12% or an equal opportunity VAT or Sales tax that doesn't exempt any kind of purchase?


It seems to me THAT is fair and balanced because everyone is getting treated equally. 

August 22, 2011
Click to view SpoonlsE's profile

"iReporters?"  What the F is an "i" reporter?  Do you mean a reporter?  Will we ever get back to plain English?

August 22, 2011
Click to view SpoonlsE's profile

OK, now for serious business.


Taxes are not complex.  When I pay, everybody pays.  Everybody means the wealthy.  It means the Corporation.  Everybody.


Is this simple enough, or do your need to call your lawyer?

August 22, 2011
Click to view stevefromFLA's profile

Well, at least the White House is listening.

August 22, 2011
Click to view MizFurball's profile

I don't believe Steve Gordon's question was answered. He wanted to know what the President would do to bring call centers back to America. How about putting a high tax on US employers who send their jobs overseas?

August 22, 2011
Click to view america45's profile

funny how all these questions don't ask anything important, like how do u plan on solving the economic crisis or helping millions of Americans survive. These white house people need Americans to tell them the truth...forget about party lines, your country is suffering and declining, get up and do something about it...if not for the people than the love for this country should be enough

August 22, 2011
Click to view russeppen's profile

Why don't we ask the government why it is illegal to grow an ANNUAL plant that produces as much wood pulp cellulose fiber in 1 acre, as the amount of wood pulp cellulose as 4.1 acres of tress?  (Source: Department of Agriculture). This same plant has 25,000 other uses...including BIO FUEL. Or, an annual plant that has been proven by Harvard School of Medicine in 2007 to reduce tumors by more than 50%?  The plants?  Hemp and Cannabis!

August 22, 2011
Click to view jayshelley's profile

Remember what the Christian god Jesus did to the moneychangers in the temple? Cast out the greedmongers, who even now are gathering to slice up Libya. GET THEM OUT!

August 22, 2011
Click to view MizFurball's profile

@roattw I think you may be onto something.


August 22, 2011
Click to view rosehips's profile

Sorry, Jen. You mentioned that we create 4000 call center jobs a month but you fail to mention how many we lose! I lost my call center job to outsourcing. I will wager that we lose more call center jobs than gain them in a month's time. Can you address this? Thank you.

August 22, 2011
Click to view rosehips's profile

So Dan, why didn't you address the solar power issue? Sorry, but your answer shows that the Obama administration is not doing nearly enough to develop alternatives. I'm so disappointed. You could be doing so much more.


And please tell the President that if he approves the Keystone XL, there will be grave repercussions from a significant percentage of his base.

August 22, 2011
Click to view headfake69's profile

Thanks to Repukes and G W Bush/Cheney and neocons, they country handed Obama was destroyed beyond repair.

Nothing Obama can do about the economy.


Fortune 500 bosses and wall st care about profits and not about USA. Their religion is money.

August 22, 2011
Click to view Trigster's profile

Question 1: Not their job to bring call centers here.  Labor is cheaper elsewhere.  Capitalism sucks.


Question 2: Good question.


Question 3: No, African Americans weren't Obama's "base".  The majority of African Americans may have voted for him, but don't delude yourself into thinking that was the majority of votes.


Question 4: Ask the energy industry that buys up any and all clean energy patents and spreads lies about the viability of our green technology so they can continue to sell oil.


Question 5: Same answer as question 4 (dirty energy corporations)  and question 1 (capitalism sucks)


Can we get some good questions?

August 22, 2011
Click to view paulbegala's profile

The wheels are off the Obama bus. It's up on the cinder blocks on some rental property in Martha's Vineyard this weekend. It is the end of the summer of discontent for a president who's clearly in over his head and whose wallowing is most unbecoming.


Mr. Obama's economic policy prescriptions, textbook Keynesian mumbo jumbo, have failed. History would have been instructive had only he been learned in the discipline. Obviously, he's not. Next month, he'll return with yet another chapter of the novella best titled "Hocus Pocus."


Policy failures aside, we can only wonder if America also should be worried about the mental state of this president. Just prior to his Midwestern bus tour, at a private New York fundraiser, Obama's reported to have likened opposition to his presidency to the persecution of Martin Luther King. Then, on tour, his maudliness plunged deeper as he compared his plight to the sufferings of Abraham Lincoln.


As Gettysburg College history professor Allen C. Guelzo reminded in National Review Online, Mr. Lincoln rose to the challenge and exhibited greatness in his leadership. But, "In our current national agony ... we have come to see a littleness, not a greatness, in Barack Obama. And it is not for him that we feel sorry, but for ourselves."


For it is a tragedy of our own making.

August 22, 2011
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Hey Trigster, that's a very thought-provoking analysis. Are there any questions you would have asked?

August 22, 2011
Click to view nhutking21's profile

I would like to see the No.1 U.S to restrain Sino's crazy ambition to rule the world. So we can change, Obama?

August 22, 2011
Click to view Worldfest's profile



Green jobs and alternative resources?


CNN is kidding itself if they believe that these hand picked questions are the real ones Americans are concerned about.


These are muffins, compared to the hard-balls we should be throwing at them to answer, like:


California lost 74,000 Manufacturing jobs between 04' and 07' because of new labor laws introduced and implemented through majorly Democratic Legislators. This is a parallel of what the US in general is becoming as companies began to outsource labor to India and the US. How do we avoid such a burden of laws and regulation upon businesses?


Gadhafi controls Lybia, a nation of 6 Million -- divided in civil war -- and after 3 months of our involvement, he is still defying Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the US; nations that tore the world up in WWII. What the hell?

August 22, 2011
Click to view nsaidi's profile

@Worldfest Appreciate the passionate response. We definitely want to hear from people if they're feeling fired up. I've been utterly fascinated by the discussion going on here today. And by the way, if you've got a view and you want to share it on camera, you can sound off here:

August 22, 2011
Click to view Malcolm2809's profile

@trigster, no we can't get good questions because the White House couldn't answer them.


Point 1. "clean energy" our most used is from carbon emissions.In which 1000's of acres of land in poor countries-such as in africa and latin america get cut down and get turned into fuel, then they plant Eucalypts trees to redo the cycle, so we don't have a forest- we have crops in which all the animals are killed that were once in the perimeter. These are owned by the oil companies and are unregulated on a federal level.


Point 2. The real answer for Question 1 ( phone call centers) would be to put a very high tax on hiring foriegn employees,while putting stricter sentences on those who don't claim them towards the goverment. That money then would be put into the talked about "tax cut incentive for domestic employees" which would be small so not cause stress financial wise but would help American jobs stay in America.


3.{Housing is tough one because Wall Street is congress(both houses) biggest lobbyst in all aspects. However Mrs.Psaki is only cutting the weeds and not pulling it by its' roots.}

  They need to regulate finacial Ivestment firms ( think goldman sachs or meryl lynch) and Banks MUCH more. Start from the bottom up, from putting caps on interest rates via money borrowed to absurd fees such as the infamous "early re-payment" fee.


With Africa, to be honest I studied politics stressed on the domestic level while this is more of a foreign affair question, however if the White House put TOO much money into Africa they would get a backlash From the right side in the sense of " Obama cares about africa then is own people." This may be enough to affect the moderate republicans and the independent voters,especially since his Dad is From Kenya. Sounds silly, I know.


FYI, nothing gets better quick, think uprises compared to the time it took things to become situated. Think downfalls to the time it took to rebuild. Things will get better but our expectations are GOING to be lowered whether we like it or not.

August 22, 2011
Click to view Johnny5cent's profile

Why do we send $3 billion + advanced weapons like the F-35 to Israel every year?


Why isn't Israel required to comply with NPT when the rest of the Levant is, or required to do so?


Why is the Obama administration silent as Israel continues settlement expansion?


Why is our nation, a beacon for freedom and democracy, preventing the Palestinians from having their own nation state (i.e. UN vote)?

August 22, 2011
Click to view EWillies1961's profile

My Dear iReport staff, since you did this offline, I wish you had chosen more iReports to get answered. My question was an important one that nobody wants to ask in those terms but need to be else we continue heading nowhere as no one stands up and ask middle class centric questions.

August 22, 2011
Click to view nsaidi's profile

@EWillies1961 Thanks for checking in with us. Not every question could be answered, unfortunately. But if you have an opinion to share, please by all means speak up! There's a nice discussion taking place here.

August 23, 2011
Click to view Punkygrl's profile

I am curious as to WHY with all this tax these people, lower these taxes, raise these the US doesn't get rid of income tax all together and just put a small tax on EVERYTHING! This way in reality everyone will pay their fair share... people who make millions WILL be paying by buying goods, cars, houses, yachts and so on. Even people who would NEVER think of reporting income would pay - any illegal activity - drug sellers, call girls, whatever activity - these people also like nice clothes, cars, tv's, stereo's and whatnot.


Seems a simple solution to a huge controversy.


No loopholes, no breaks, nothing to redo, cheat or fix. Everyone pays according to what they can afford and/or buy, Seems extremely fair and way less work that reworking something that no one is ever happy about and a system that has too many work arounds!

August 23, 2011
Click to view Zmanjax's profile

Face it, professional politians are killing this country.  Between the DNC, the RNC, and the lobbyists, nothing meaningful is going to change.  The only way to change our future is to eliminate the professional politians.  I don't care if Ghandi is in office, vote the incumbent out.  Lets get some people in there that think of it as a "public service", not a career.  I want someone in office that doesn't "know" the system.

August 23, 2011
Click to view billnmiami's profile

Nice easy questions they picked to answer. Where is my question about 50% of the people living in this country and who are not paying income tax? How is that possible. If those that aren't paying paid as little as $10 a month it would generate 18 billion dollars in revenue! Now that is a balanced approach!

August 23, 2011
Click to view TC0315's profile

Republicans blame democrats, democrats blame republicans, etc. etc. etc.  It's hard to fix something when you're always pointing your finger at the other person.  People are still blaming Bush for the state of the economy even.  The guy is gone, time to blame someone new.  Oh you can't blame Obama because you're a democrat?  Maybe it's time for people to stop blindly following a political party just because they've been brainwashed over the years to do so.  Political parties, unless they get along (which they never will), are contributing to the problems of our country.

August 23, 2011
Click to view Malcolm2809's profile

@nsadi what about telling your bosses to relay these questions to get some real answers.

August 23, 2011
Click to view rally1's profile

The Nappy one, got 93% of the african american vote in the last election. (Fact) Forbes (hardly a NEOCON), has said that american industry is sitting on 2 TRILLION of investment capital.  They will not invest in a president that they cannot trust,,that will not lead and has an overbearing trait to "give away" money for foolish projects (installing signs,,renovating closed welcome centers yada yada).  Maybe everybody should have read about the EPA regs going into effect 1 Jan, that industry leaders say will cause rolling blackouts (not a racist term).  Obama said during the campaign..."we will eliminate these dirty, coal plants."  He is in fact doing that,,,remember that when you can turn on your XBOX 360.  All you socialists...give up your goodies,,

August 23, 2011
Click to view TSIndiana's profile

I've been an entrepreneur for 25 years and have been stopped from making my business grow by local bar (court officer) corruption that is being allowed by the DOJ and "disciplinary commission(s)".


Every encounter I have had in the legal system has been as plaintiff when law enforcement officials would not stop a person or local government official, seeking to take my property without paying for it. When I refused to pay value to local government officials personally (graft), I was attacked by all manor of theft, vandalism and corrupted official actions. 


Business as usual is graft and bribery.  When one doesn't participate, they are slandered, their character assasinated and they find themselves at odds with the local governing body.  The town attorney made up a story saying I had been convicted of a crime...which was totally and completely false...but spread in the legal community as if it were true. will be targeted for theft and they may be partnered with local government "officers". Count on it eventually. 


Apparently nobody in the bar, executive or legislature is willing to stop judge corruption.  Giving title to my stolen property to the thief, "under color of law" tells me we have lost pursuit of truth in justice because open fraud is being allowed, even encouraged (as "alternative defenses") in courts of law.


When there is restoration of honest services in the judicial branch, then thieves will no longer purchase lawyers to manufacture evidence and defraud. The last theft cost me $80k to replace and stopped forward progress of my small technology business, robbing the community of future jobs.    

August 23, 2011
Click to view TSIndiana's profile

As a side note, the loss above was a modular home that the thief now lives in.  My accumulated equity in my business for about 10 years of hard work was stolen in 2003, given to the thief by the trial court judge in 2006, "affirmed" in 2008 and denied transfer.  Know fraud was "certified"(see 18 USC 1017 and 1018). 

August 23, 2011
Click to view thmper's profile

And we have a president calling all tea party members and republicans terrorists.  An now a full media blitz criticizing any oposition canditates say as "out of line" and "uncalled for".  Left wing pundants call for "kill the rich" beat them, take their money and the blacks are acting one it.  Their rioting in the streets and the media covers it up.

August 23, 2011
Click to view deafia's profile

I am deaf and I can't follow what they are saying on videos. Caption please!

August 23, 2011
Click to view workingmom5's profile

What is sad is that CNN has become what MSNBC was 5 years ago and by the looks of how they report their news and especially their slant on politics they will end up being just and scorned by intelligent Americans who still think you should report the news and let the viewer decide...  You are no longer relevant when it comes to giving an unbiased approach to anything political.  Instead you are like political hacks in the tank for Democrats.  If you doubt what I am saying look at your base...

August 23, 2011
Click to view kirikintha's profile

Y'know - honestly I am more scared about public perception right now than anything. It's abundantly obvious that most people can barely wrap their heads around national policy - all they can do is look at their local lives and try and get some divine inspiration on how enact a national policy.


I think we are just going to stumble through the next 25 years, because all we can do is argue about who is wrong, rather than who is willing to help out.


All I see is "I don't want to do this, I don't want to do that" - well, if we can't do anything, how can we fix anything?



August 23, 2011
Click to view Nodack's profile

I think kirikintha is right.  Our system has evolved into a two party system where the two sides are competing for control over the country and they treat it as if it were a life or death struggle against an evil adversary. Instead of focusing on fixing and helping all Americans, their main priority is making the other side look bad at all costs, even if it hurts America.


I love America, but the political system we have right now isn't doing any of us any favors.

August 24, 2011
Click to view Malcolm2809's profile


Obama grow some balls, let teabaggers suck on those salty nuts.

August 24, 2011
Click to view jdubbs1881's profile

Useless containers need to be liquidated.

August 24, 2011
Click to view MetalGods's profile

drivel. can't think of a better word to describe these lame responses to really lame questions.

August 24, 2011
Click to view think1stbron's profile

Protectionist policy would be if another country was attempting to see a product or service to Americans and then the American government created an unfair environment to the foreigners with tariff's or subsidies etc. The "point" is that while un-skilled workers in America enjoy few perks, one of them is having a minimum wage. I am almost ashamed to call it a perk but compared to third-world etc I guess you could say "we have it good." Anyway, American companies are able to circumvent the minimum wage laws, health benefits etc by outsourcing the jobs for pennies on the dollar. This boosts profit for corporations at the expense of American workers. There is simply nothing equitable about this for a SOCIAL standpoint. Sure Capitalism reigns supreme blah blah free-market is now being used as a scapegoat for corporations trying to get an edge where ever they can, EVEN AT CALL CENTERS. Anyway, I guess its America and "Thats the way it is" until we get an inspirational leader that will ACTUALLY EMPOWER THE  PEOPLE unlike Odrama.

August 24, 2011
Click to view think1stbron's profile

ALSO: Public Service Announcement: When someone make a grammatical error in a blog post it does not discredit their entire point. Think of a damn reason to have an opposing opinion before you get on some third grade shit. thanks.

August 24, 2011
Click to view Factz101's profile

HISTORY WILL READ AS FOLLOWS:  The TEA PARTY came to Washington and DID NOTHING but almost cost Americans their country, so close following the BUSH 8 year reign fiasco- But the Democrats lead by President Obama stood their ground and saved America in spite of all the REPUBLICANS laying in the road demanding their same ideas that failed America be used.. the decline and fall of the GOP and the change of America's 2 party political system as they knew it .. the Independents became very strong after President Obama changed the world and placed the USA as the strongest nation once and for all. The Democrats and The Independent American party continued to be the thing America needed as the partisan politics that rocked America to it's knees fell to the wayside.. America's middle class took control with Balance and Growth leading the way to a true United States.

August 24, 2011
Click to view thunderbolt0's profile

Factz101, I don't think your blog is based on any kind of factual evidence. But rather runs on party lines. If you want to talk about the reason why we find ourselves in this mess, you can't blot out the parts of the picture that doesn't appeal to you.Let me give you just a few examples to show why your analysis is lacking.Freddy, and Fannie is a dem creation. When the Republicans seen what was coming over the hill, they tried to do something about it, but the dem controlled houses blocked every attempt.Should we forget Acorn? I bet some would like to. How about the biased shown when the Black panthers intimidated people at the voting sites?What about the policies put forth that let companies out-source our jobs? Was that the Republicans?

To fix our problems we first have to come to terms that it was both parties fault. Both put politics, and their own personal gain ahead of the job they was elected to do.With that said, I have to go along with the tea party on this, so go ahead and label me( I have thick skin). But before the tea party, I didn't see anyone wanting to fix, much less address the problems we are facing. Neither party, in the past, has had the will to even try. People wanted change during the last Presidential election, but got more of the same. The tea party ran on their beliefs. They have stood by them even after the election was over(thats a new one). They have forced politicians from both parties to at least look at the problems.What exactly did we get from both parties when confronted by the tea party?Republicans are a mixed bag.  Some embrace the tea party, some despise it. But they haven't gone to the extremes that the dems have. The dems have labeled the tea party with such names as Nazis,terroist,Un-American, trolls, etc. etc. Now seeing these things transpire over the last three years, and seeing how the Dems have pushed their policies while averting due process I have to ask myself.Do I want 4 more years of this crap? Can I back a party that labels and tries to destroy people over their political views..........I think not! One thing is for sure in our household. Any politician that calls me a Nazi, terriost, under-educated(thats a good one, from what I've seen)or Un-American doesn't deserve my vote, or anyone elses.When you decide to try and divide America using race,class,lies and deceit, you can find your vote somewhere else. You won't get it here.The instant information age is here,more people are looking to other means than the liberal controlled media for answers, and they are finding them, Much to the politicians disapproval, I'm sure.I believe the numbers now don't matter a hill of beans. Whats going to matter is when people step in that booth and have to decide whether to keep things as they are, or still strive for that change they was looking for three years ago. After seeing the dems turn on the people that don't agree, I'm still looking for change. I will vote for anyone that offers me something different from what I've seen the last three years. Your polls are useless. And are driven to bring about a certain conclusion. But don't feel bad, I will be the same way, when I close the curtain at the voting booth.

August 24, 2011
Click to view Factz101's profile

NAH THUNDERBUTT.. REVENUE TALKS AND TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS WALKS! Maybe your point of view may be relevant after 2016 if the GOP learns anything from being taken out of the game for MASSIVE ERRORS! LOL cya at the polls goob!

August 24, 2011
Click to view sevven1's profile

Why is President Obama coldly ignoring and heartlessly abandoning the plight of millions of American middle class workers by allowing the financial industry's criminal thieves, who, through their blatantly obvious fraud and near-treasonous economic "policies", quite literally destroyed this great nation's economy and directly caused these very same people, millions of hard working Americans, to lose ANY prospect at all of finding adequate enough income to feed themselves and pay their bills, to now come and further steal from their suckered victim's by now immorally foreclosing on and evilly taking MILLIONS of their hard-earned homes??!! Why hasn't he done the "right thing", at the very least, and simply declared an indefinite moratorium on all foreclosures of all single family homes until they, the one's responsible for all of this, get their acts together and begin to do the right things??!!

Why hasn't he considered punishing these super-greedy ultra-elitist royal wannabes by implementing an indefinite emergency extended unemployment tax on all of these so-called "job creators" order to get them to share at least some of the pain and finally get them off their obese wallets and actually do something credible to Put America Back To Work???!!!

If the banks and the wealthy elite were forced to pay for these extended unemployment benefits, and the newly registered welfare/S.N.A.P recipients, AND, not be allowed to STEAL their victim's homes, jobs would suddenly spring up by the millions like wildflowers in the Spring and this country would, unsurprisingly, immediately be "back-on-track!!!!

Think out-of-the-box Mr. President! Be creative! But, be fair for a change, and lay the blame for this nightmare squarely at the feet of those who've purposely created it in order to enrich themselves and plunge the rest of us into oblivion!!!!!!


Give Us The "Change We Can Believe In!" that you swore you would!!!!!

August 24, 2011
Click to view HowCanThisBe's profile

If you cross the N. Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, education, & tax free business for 7 yrs. REALLY???? How can this be right, for our country, and our economy??? No wonder we are a country in debt. Honestly I think the American government should be overthrown, Voted of the Island,replaced, every single one of them. I mean seriously, how is this helping Americans or our economy when ALL these illegal 'aliens' have a job, or 2 or in some cases 3 and there is countless TAX PAYING Americans unemployed. Then they want to RAISE the TAXES so the REAL, LEGAL Americans have to pay the national debt. This is totally Screwed up. NO wonder America has this 14 trillion dollar national debt. IS ANYONE ELSE SICK OF PAYING FOR OUR GOVERNMENTS STUPIDITY???? How can this even be?? who's idea was this??? I doubt if it was the doing of any American citizens,,,I'm really sorry there are poor countries in the world, and I believe in charity but this is making the USA one of the poorest countries, and fast!

September 14, 2011
Click to view andyb2791's profile

Way to pick all the easy questions to answer. Where do you expect do get all this money for these imporvements of our infastructure you suggest? If you were to increase the percent we tax our upperclass by even half of a percent, tens of millions if not hundreds of millions back into our economy. Not even to mention that with this crisis we are currently in the government shouldn't be spending money to create jobs when all that is needed is that aformentioned tax increase on our richest citizens and a government sanction on the number of jobs our big corporations are allowed to outsource that would put a maximum percentage on the number of jobs corporations are allowed to have overseas.  This would bring back jobs aswell as redistuibute the wealth more evenly and help stabilize our crumbling housing market... Thats a win all around!!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.

Categories Recent posts Monthly Subscribe