Obama Defends Secrecy on TPP Trade Deal, Veers Into Sports on Twitter Q&A

Within a few hours of his first tweet, the president had already attracted almost 500,000 followers. Jim Young/Reuters

President Barack Obama took his new @POTUS Twitter handle out for a spin Thursday afternoon by answering questions from the multitudes.

The plan was originally to answer questions about climate change after he attended a hurricane preparedness briefing Thursday morning in Miami.

But the questions, predictably, veered a bit off track.

One person on Twitter wanted to know what Obama would do about student loans. As of last year, 40 million people in the U.S. owed a combined $1.2 trillion to banks, lenders and the federal government for their educations.

Another person asked Obama why the text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement has not yet been released. He countered that there was "nothing secret about it."

But Obama mostly stuck to the topic at hand. He mentioned last year's historic climate deal with China and noted that the U.S. would be working with the Brazilian government to secure a climate plan there.

And he touched on climate change as a national security issue.

One person asked about the Obama administration's recent approval of Shell's plan to drill for oil in the untapped Arctic, criticized by many green groups as antithetical to the president's stated goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Another person asked about how to educate children early about the facts of climate change. Obama replied that environmental education should be integrated into other subjects, like science and social studies.

After exactly 40 minutes, the president had had enough. He said he had to run, but confirmed that he had fun and would do it again soon.

He still left a few questions unanswered.


Maybe next time.

That concludes this edition of Fireside Twitter.

Obama Defends Secrecy on TPP Trade Deal, Veers Into Sports on Twitter Q&A | U.S.