The event was staged for him to charm the audience – and that’s exactly what President of the United States, Barack Obama did as he took part in a Google+ Hangout. A publicity stunt, the event was meant to give the American public a chance to ask questions of their President – especially those questions related to the State of The Union Address which happened a couple of weeks earlier.
From emphasizing on his plans, to follow up and make economy better, creation of jobs through innovation and development goals in high tech manufacturing, whatever President Obama said was designed to lay down the foundation for his upcoming reelection. The Google+ Hangout was the first all-digital interview to be conducted from the White House. It also gave President Obama a rare opportunity to connect with his voters and discuss matters that ailed the general public and his visions for America. Obama on his Google+ Hangout discussed matters like education, unemployment and even him dancing jigs and his upcoming 20th wedding anniversary!
Before the event, Google’s SVP engineering, Vic Gundotra said that the Google team was quite ‘nervous’. “You just don’t walk into the West Wing of the White House and set up computer equipment,” wrote Vic on a Google+ post. At the end of the ‘Hangout’ the YouTube page had more than 6,000 likes and just over 1,600 dislikes. More than 225,000 people submitted or voted on questions and 5 lucky ones got a chance to ask their questions from Obama on live video.
On education, while speaking to a group of high school students from California, Obama talked about pursuits beyond school and urged the students to take responsibility of their future. "College is a big enough investment where you've gotta think ahead," he told students, when addressing various ways young people can seek higher education without being overwhelmed by the burden of student debt. Talking to Jennifer Weddel, from Fort Worth Texas, about her husband’s unemployment despite him being an engineer, President very easily hedged the question and invited Jennifer to send in her husband’s CV - offering to look into it.
Refusing to dance a jig, as one of the people asking questions demanded, Obama skillfully deflected and said his wife, Michelle, danced better. On being confronted with a very well-known Obama impersonator from YouTube, the President laughed and said he lacked the much needed gray hair to represent the American public. Obama even talked about his upcoming 20th year wedding anniversary, saying, “We may have to defer the full celebration until later in November.” The Obamas’ 20th anniversary comes just a month before the presidential elections, the President of the United States also added, "I don't know how romantic a weekend we're actually gonna get.”
Did it work? While the President hedged a few questions, it was a good night for all. While Obama’s Google+ Hangout wasn’t really much more than a publicity stunt (for both Google and the President – who is seeking another term in office) it was in reality a chance for the American public to get a chance to talk one-on-one with their President.