When he ran for reelection in 2012, President Obama embraced Google+ when he scheduled a Google Hangout after his State of the Union speech. This year, the president repeated the tradition, taking questions from voters over Google on Valentine’s Day.
During the chat, Obama tackled the issue of his drone program. In particular, he discussed the program’s use to assassinate American citizens overseas who are suspected of working with terrorists.
The president started by insisting that using the drone program for assassinations is legal. Although he claimed that the program has never been used on American soil, he stated that the rules overseas are different.
“We respect and have a whole bunch of safeguards in terms of how we conduct counterterrorism in the United States,” Obama explained. “What I think is absolutely true is that it is not sufficient for citizens to just take my word for it that we are doing the right thing.”
President Obama agreed to work with lawmakers to better explain the drone program to American citizens. He also agreed that citizens need an understanding of what rules the drone program is following.
The conversation also covered immigration reform. Obama spoke about why he’d deported more illegal immigrants than President Bush. “We have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place even if we think that in many cases the results may be tragic.”
He also fielded questions on why he hasn’t been able to pass comprehensive immigration reform. “I am the president of the United States. I am not the emperor of the United States,” Obama said. “Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system."
Additionally, Obama defended his stance on raising the minimum wage even while acknowledging that the policy could have a modest effect on business profits. “If we’re going to have a society in which we have broad-based prosperity, those same businesses also have to worry about, do customers have money in their pockets?”
One blogger asked him how growing up in a diverse state like Hawaii molded him. The president stated, “Part of it is that the weather’s nice, so that just chills you out.”
The president’s unofficial nickname has always been “No Drama Obama.” Maybe more politicians should vacation in the Aloha State.
Edited by Brooke Neuman