Obama's Facebook Townhall to Compete with GOP's

Sep 26, 2011, 11:47 by R.E. Christian

Republican lawmakers plan a Facebook town hall meeting on job creation Monday to counter one hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama on LinkedIn, Facebook said.

The GOP event at 3 p.m. PDT (6 p.m. EDT) -- 4 hours after Obama's -- will feature House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin -- known collectively as the House Republican "Young Guns."

They will discuss what they're doing to "help the U.S. economy rebound," Facebook said.

The lawmakers also plan to show video of Obama at Solyndra LLC, a California solar-panel maker that received a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009 before going belly up in August and becoming the subject of an FBI investigation.

Its top executives refused to answer questions Friday at a congressional hearing about the failure.

The administration initially touted Solyndra as green-tech poster child.

Solyndra is "a metaphor for the failure of the stimulus package, and it's a 'gotcha' moment," Republican strategist Bill Whalen told the San Francisco Chronicle, explaining the GOP leaders first plan to show videos of Obama visiting the solar firm, then show "the padlocks on the door."

Their event, at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., will take place 6 miles away from Obama's "Putting America Back to Work" town hall at LinkedIn, a professional social network in Mountain View, Calif., with more than 120 million members worldwide.

The GOP event is also closed to the media, unlike Obama's Facebook town hall in April and his LinkedIn event 11 a.m. PDT Monday.

Obama's town hall, moderated by LinkedIn Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner, will feature "questions about job creation and the economy from a live audience made up of LinkedIn members and employees," along with questions submitted by U.S. LinkedIn members, the White House said Sunday night.

The event is part of an Obama pitch to voters to support his $447 billion American Jobs Act in an effort to get congressional approval of the package of infrastructure spending, payroll-tax cuts and other steps to boost the economy and lower the 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

The proposal has drawn opposition from Republicans in Congress and a mixed reaction from Democrats.

After the town hall, Obama was to fly to San Diego for a fundraiser at a private home at La Jolla, 15 miles north, on the Pacific Ocean.

He was then scheduled to fly to Los Angeles for two fundraisers, the White House said.

The first was to be at the House of Blues concert hall and restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., a city near Beverly Hills whose population is 41 percent made up of gay men, a demographic analysis indicated.

Guests at the fundraiser were to include openly gay actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom "Modern Family." Tickets are $250 and about 800 people were expected to attend.

The second fundraiser was to take place at an undisclosed private residence.

Obama was to spend the night in Los Angeles, then fly to Denver Tuesday to appear at a high school in one of Denver's poorest communities to promote the jobs plan, which he was expected to argue would put people to work "rebuilding and modernizing ... at least 35,000 public schools" nationwide, the White House said.

Obama was to return to the White House Tuesday night.

Source: UPI