(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, in a promised pattern for the future, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs broke tradition and called on Twitter for the first question in the daily White House briefing.
Noting that the Twitter community now gets “first crack” at him before he faces the White House press corps at the daily briefing, Gibbs launched the new feature.
This morning Gibbs, aka @PressSec, sent out a tweet to his 109,022 followers, “Something new: You take first crack. Use #1q in a q & I'll answer 1 on vid before today's briefing. What do you want to know?”
Gibbs answered the chosen question before taking the podium, which the White House posted later on the White House’s YouTube page.
“What is the purpose of the Indian trip, why not Europe to sure [sic] up wavering Afghan support," the tweet asked of Gibbs.
“The purpose of the India trip that the president will take at the end of next week is anchored in two economic summits that will happen at the latter end of the trip, the G20 and the APEC summit,” Gibbs explained from his office. “We begin in India because not only is Asia one of the fastest growing regions of the world, but India is one of the fastest growing economies within Asia.”
Gibbs said that the Afghanistan would be a main topic during the NATO summit when the president goes to Lisbon the following week.
For good measure Gibbs took a second, more light-hearted, Twitter question, wondering if it is true that the new Secret Service code word for the president is dude, a veiled reference to Jon Stewart last night calling President Obama "dude" during a segment with the president.
Gibbs assured the questioner that the president’s code name is still “Renegade”, as it was first chosen in 2007 when he started receiving secret service protection.
Gibbs said taking questions from the Twittterverse first is something the White House regularly hopes to do.
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