Obama takes questions about tax rate extension in Twitter Q&A

President Obama held a Twitter Q&A on Monday, using social media to lobby hard for public opinion to rally to his argument that the tax rates on the "top 2 percent" of income-earners should expire at the end of the year. 

Obama answered eight questions during the 45-minute Twitter town hall, including one about Chicago sports.

He also promised that despite the wide gulf between the White House and Republicans in the debt talks, there is "room to negotiate."

The Q&A was part of an ongoing social media campaign by the White House using the hashtag #My2K. Obama sent a personal tweet on Monday inviting his followers to weigh in.

The hashtag represents the estimated $2,200 by which middle-class families would see their taxes increase, on average, if Congress fails to extend the George W. Bush-era tax rates. The rates are set to expire at the end of the year; Republicans want to extend all of them, while Obama wants to extend all but the rates that apply to families making more than $250,000 annually. 

The White House began using the hashtag last Wednesday to ask Americans what $2,200 means to them. 

The hashtag #My2K was trending on Monday afternoon during the Q&A, but conservatives again pushed back. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, bought the hashtag so their response would show up in any search of the topic on Twitter. The group used the same tactic last week and was able to sway the conversation, with later analysis showing the hashtag earned more critical use than supportive.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was using the #My2K hashtag on Monday, as well, and pushing back with hashtags of his own, including #stopthetaxhike, referring to the Republicans' position that raising taxes on families making more than $250,000 would target small-business owners.

Boehner also submitted a question to Obama's Q&A:

The president did not answer Boehner's question, but he did respond to another user who asked why it didn't make sense to extend all the cuts:

He also took time to give his opinion on which Chicago sports team will "win it all" first — Obama picked the Chicago Bears — and to comment on one Twitter user's blue-haired avatar, answering her question about spending cuts that could impact college loans and then adding: "like your hair! -bo"

The use of Obama's initials after each tweets is the White House's signal that the tweets were sent by the president personally.  Pete Souza, the official White House photographer, shared photos of the president behind the scenes reading tweets and a photo of Obama's hands posed on the keyboard.

The White House shared the full timeline of the Q&A here.

—This was originally posted at 12:44 p.m. and has been updated. 

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