Obama's weekly address to go on YouTube
President-elect Obama is officially the first YouTube president. I think most of us expected this, just not quite so soon ....
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHICAGO–This isn't your grandfather's fireside chat.
President-elect Barack Obama plans to tape a weekly address not just for radio listeners, as presidents have for years, but for YouTube Internet viewers, too.
Well, what else would you expect from the first post-baby boom president?
Connecting the White House hearth to the American home, Franklin Roosevelt talked to the people through the radio, with crackling broadcasts delivered near a crackling fire. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan mastered television. For Obama, who built a big part of his campaign on the Internet, it's YouTube.
About 75 years after Roosevelt used a new medium to reach out during troubled times, the president-elect is doing the same with Web videos.
Obama was recording a four-minute address today at his transition office in Chicago. It will be posted Saturday through a YouTube link on his transition website, www.change.gov. And he will continue to do the videos when he takes office on Jan. 20.
And he won't be the only one in his administration taking a starring role online.
Transition leaders and policy advisers will also appear in videos on a regular basis, Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki said. Other officials, such as Cabinet members, could also take part.
President George W. Bush hasn't videotaped his radio addresses for online viewing as Obama plans to do, the White House said. YouTube wasn't around when Bush came into office, though podcasts of his addresses are available on iTunes, and the audio is posted on www.whitehouse.gov.
The Saturday radio addresses were initiated by Reagan and have evolved into a weekly fixture of the presidency, accompanied by a response from the party out of power.
Still, relatively few people actually hear them on the radio, and Obama is hoping to reach many more with what his transition team calls a "multimedia opportunity.''