US President Obama answers questions during a live webcast meeting at Facebook headquarters President Barack Obama, on a cross-country trip to sell his deficit reduction plan, said on Wednesday that the nation\'s finances are \"unsustainable.\" At a
campaign-style town hall meeting at the headquarters of Facebook Inc, Obama described the House Republicans\' budget plan as \"fairly radical\" and said members of both political parties in Washington need to work together to start reducing federal deficit in a \"balanced way.\"
\"We have an unsustainable situation,\" he said. \"We face a critical time where we are going to have to make some decisions - how do we bring down the debt in the short term, and how do we bring down the debt over the long term?\"
After his appearance at Facebook, Obama turned his attention to a private fundraising dinner in San Francisco hosted by Marc R. Benioff, chairman and chief executive of Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company. Tickets for the dinner, attended by about 60 people, were $35,800 (Dh131,471) a person.
‘I was a startup\'
Obama spoke after a performance by singer Stevie Wonder, telling a roomful of early supporters: \"Some of you were involved in startups. Well, I was a startup.\"
\"We started something in 2008,\" Obama said of his first campaign. \"We haven\'t finished it yet,\" he said, reeling off needs to overhaul education, improve clean energy programmes and reduce debt and deficits. \"I\'m going to need you to help me finish it.\"
From there, the president is to attend a \"Gen44\" Obama fundraising event at the Nob Hill Masonic Centre, where ticket prices range between $25 and $2,500, according to a Democratic official who wasn\'t authorized to discuss such details publicly.
Obama\'s three-day trip will include another town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, tomorrow and additional fundraisers in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The fundraising events are expected to bring in between $4 million and $5 million, the Democratic official said.
Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist based in Los Angeles, described the trip as \"not a full-fledged campaign trip, but it has some of the dynamics of preparing to run a campaign,\" such as efforts to \"start focusing on swing states early so you can broaden the electoral map.\"
Facebook, with more than 500 million users, is the world\'s largest social network website. It was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg.
Obama has used social media sites such as Google Inc.\'s YouTube to reach out to voters. Wednesday\'s session is the first time he has appeared on Facebook, which passed Google last year to become the most visited website in the US.
Zuckerberg, joined by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, moderated the event. Obama took questions filed online through the White House\'s Facebook page and website, along with those from an audience of Facebook employees, small-business leaders and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Obama said using Facebook allows us to \"make sure this isn\'t just a one-way conversation.\"
\"This format and this company, I think, is an ideal means for us to be able to carry on this conversation,\" the president said. \"We\'re having a very serious debate right now about the future direction of our country.\"
The White House and House Republicans have offered separate plans to reduce cumulative budget deficits by $4 trillion, over 12 years and 10 years respectively.
Obama\'s plan would include $1 trillion in tax increases that his advisers say could be raised from families earning at least $250,000, while the Republicans\' measure wouldn\'t raise taxes. \"The Republican budget that was put forward I would say is fairly radical. I wouldn\'t call it particularly courageous,\" he said.
\"I would call it short-sighted.\"
Obama criticised the Republican plan for preserving tax breaks while chopping funds from programmes such as clean energy, and overhauling Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor.
\"Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor or people who are powerless,\" he said.
Obama, taking questions from Facebook employees and users, said he remains committed to pushing for an overhaul of the nation\'s immigration laws.
He said members of both parties must cooperate to get it done.
From: Gulf News