Garrulous President Obama to Face Twitter's 140-Character Filter

President Obama is not particularly known for brevity.

So his participation in the Twitter @townhall today poses something of a challenge, given the 140-character constraints of the medium.

Some of the phrases he leans upon are character-eaters. “Let me be clear” is 17 characters. “Look, what I have said is” is 25. “Not going to be solved overnight” is 32. That’s more of one half of a tweet right there.

President Obama spoke 8,901 words at last week’s presidential news conference. In twitter terms, he used 47,913 characters. That’s roughly akin to 343 tweets.

So what to do?

Twitter questioners will be confined to 140 characters in their questions of the president today, and Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey will select and read them.

The president will answer the questions orally.

Then, Jesse Lee, White House director of progressive media and online response will then summarize the president’s response, tweeting them out under @WhiteHouse, and every so often reminding readers that they can watch the @townhall streaming live at

-Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce

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