Washington, Jan 28 (ANI): US President Barack Obama touched on a variety of topics, from legalisation of marijuana to civil unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, during a wide-ranging, online 'virtual town hall' with YouTube viewers.
The session was part of the administration's weeklong follow up to the State of the Union Address.
Comprised of questions submitted and voted for online, the president spent 45 minutes answering questions ranging from the weighty-challenges of White House policies in Iraq and Afghanistan-to the frivolous, such as the gift he would give first lady Michelle Obama for Valentine's Day.
Asked about the nation's decades-long war on drugs and whether he backed legalizing marijuana-a question, which garnered more than 13,000 votes, making it the most popular-Obama said the question is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate." Still, "I don't favor legalization," he added.
"I am in favor of thinking more about drugs as a public health problem," the Politico quoted him as saying.
Other questions fell more neatly into the education-and-green innovation category that gave him an opportunity to reprise his call for changes to the country's energy policy, packaged in a timely imperative to create the "jobs of the future."
"We've got to invest in innovation, to invest in research and development," he said.
Obama participated in a similar online Q-and-A session after his first State of the Union address in 2010, and shortly after taking office in 2009.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president looks at something like YouTube as sort of an online town hall meeting. Obviously a number of us use different types of social media like Twitter to communicate what the government is doing to the people in this country." (ANI)