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Change.gov Opens to Questions, Comments, 'American Stories'


Dreams welcome

Change.gov, the site where President Elect Obama's administration communicates with Americans, now permits users to submit questions and vote on those they most want answered.

The "Open for Questions" feature launched Wednesday, at which time over 1000 questions were logged and 70,000 votes cast. By Thursday's end, 7300 questions were added and 600,000 votes cast, reports the Change.gov blog.

In descending order, leading questions include:

  • "What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?" — submitted by "Diane, New Jersey"
  • "What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?" — submitted by "Kari, Seattle"
  • "Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?" — submitted by "James M., Nashville, TN"

The feature is part of a calculated effort to position the incoming administration as one built on government transparency and priorities guided by the American people.

In addition to "Open for Questions," Change.gov now features a discussion board where users can respond to questions posed by the transition team. As of this writing, 3572 commenters have answered the most recent query, "How is the current economic crisis affecting you?"

Responses are detailed, occasionally intimate and surprisingly candid. "We have joined discount clubs with other family members, buy in bulk and split the costs," one writes. Another laments, "So the biggest affect of the crisis is the fear I see in everybody's face as I go through my day."

Finally, a section labeled "It's Your America" solicits personal stories about "American moments." Citizens are also encouraged to "tell us what you'd like the Obama-Biden administration to do and where you'd like the country to go."

Obama's administration used Change.gov to keep readers apprised of its transition to the White House. The gesture appears to have paid off: in a recent poll, 79% of respondents said they approve of how Obama's transition has been managed.

This November Obama began airing weekly fireside chats via YouTube. In last week's video, the leader vowed "every child" would have the chance to get online during his presidency.

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