Twitter to host Obama ‘Town Hall’ two weeks before GOP debate

Dylan Stableford

Twitter announced today that it plans to host a "Town Hall" with President Barack Obama next week, focused on the economy and jobs.

The event, moderated by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, will be streamed live online from the White House on July 6 beginning at 2 p.m. EST.

To participate, Twitter users are being asked to tweet questions for the president using the hashtag "#AskObama" and to follow the official @TownHall account.

It's worth noting that #AskObama is not yet trending. But Mark Halperin--the political analyst suspended indefinitely by MSNBC over a remark he made about President Obama--is.

The @TownHall Twitter account has only 1,800 followers, compared with @BarackObama's 8,902,810.

The president will answer selected questions--which will be displayed on two large screens in the East Room--for about an hour, the White House said.

"Twitter offers a compelling way to not only get information out but also to understand what people have to say about an issue," Macon Phillips, special assistant to the president and director of digital strategy, told the New York Times. "That is why we are doubling down on our online engagement efforts."

Earlier this week, a GOP debate that its organizers call the "First Presidential Townhall on Twitter" was announced. (Twitter itself is not an official sponsor for that debate.) Organized by the Republican Liberty Caucus and sponsored by TheTeaParty.net, it is slated for July 20.

So far, though, only Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Georgia businessman Herman Cain have been confirmed as participants.