If you had five minutes with President Obama, what would you say?

Publishing note: MPR News had a series of outages that kept Today’s Question from being published regularly this week. I apologize for the inconvenience.

President Obama is scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities today. He will hold a town hall style meeting in Minneapolis at Minnehaha Falls and attend a Democratic fundraiser. He will deliver a speech at the Lake Harriet band shell on Friday. [Live updates from MPR News]

Today’s Question: If you had five minutes with President Obama, what would you say?

  • Joe

    Reschedule cannabis, 22 states are already in conflict with the policy of keeping it Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act. Put it in the same schedule as alcohol, but don’t subsidize it like ethanol. No more raids.

  • PaulJ

    Promote a voter decision support system based on argument rather than advertisement.

  • Lisa J

    Thank you for your service! I imagine it isn’t easy being the President! I hope you get to enjoy your family & vice versa because you’re pretty cool & they are lucky to have a husband/dad like you.

  • Nicholas Kraemer

    I would want him to know how disingenuous it is to come to Minnesota under the guise of connecting to lower/middle class America, while spending most of his time here at exclusive events only open to one-percenters.

  • scott44

    Hey, nice to meet you. Want to go and try some stream fishing for Brook trout?

  • Peatbogjeff

    Why are you so utterly devoted to the bloody demonic sacrament of abortion, which kills 1.3 million unborn people each year–mostly black and latino?

    • Joe

      I heard he aborts babies personally through executive order and drone strikes

      • Gary F

        Where did you hear that? MPR or MSNBC?

        • Joe

          Nobody watches MSNBC.

      • theoacme

        And he’s a dingo, too – just ask Elaine!

  • Jim G

    Mr. President,
    I would like your focus to be on plain folks, hard working people like your own Mother and Grandparents. Plain folks that are in need of good jobs. Plain folks that need work which pays enough to make their labor worthwhile. Plain folks that need to have a good education, one where their kids and grand-kids will be prepared for the future. Plain folks that need to know that the rich people who are running this country’s political institutions are listening to them and care about their struggles. Plain folks need hope that this country can work for them, as it did once for their mothers and grandparents.

  • KTN

    as-salaam ‘alaykum (peace be with you),
    What’s that you say, you’re not Muslim?

    • Joe

      People say that to me all the time and I’m not a Muslim, it’s great that they respect me as an infidel.

    • theoacme

      He’s just as much a Christian as any Republican – which means, he isn’t.

  • whitedoggie44

    You claim be be a constitutional lawyer yet you have unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted obamacare 38 times without the consent of congress. Does this undermind the rule of law in the Unites States?

    • Gary F


      And “why are you trying to dismantle the United States of America?”

      • Joe

        I thought he supported the Union and the Federal Government before the rights of the individual States? Confusing question…

    • KTN

      He never claimed to be a what you call constitutional lawyer, he actually was a Con Law Professor. Facts people, their not that hard to dig up.
      Since the ACA was introduced by Congress, passed both houses, was signed by the President, and survived a feeble attempt to dismantle it by the Supreme Court, I’m not sure your point of undermining the law.

      • whitedoggie44

        Disagree with you on his use of executive branch to make changes to legislation at his whim for political gain. Just as he lost today in his recess appointments. I am hopeful he will lose again after the republican files suit as he is again attempting to upsurp legislative power. As I have recently read, the ABC, CBD, NBC and the New York times have all stated the obama adminstration is the most non transparent administration since nixon, I assume he is hiding lots of secrets. This is not an issue of the good or bad of obamacare this is a president who think he is king.

        • theoacme

          Then where is your condemnation of George W. Bush? Hint, all Republicans would call, and treat, Obama as a…

          …what did that prospector in Blazing Saddles say?

          • whitedoggie44

            W is no longer president so don’t worry about what happened 7 years ago. Clearly was not pleased with W on many issues as well so this issue is related to excessive executive authority. If it displeases you to criticize obama, perhaps you can begin policing what is left of free speech.

    • Rich in Duluth

      President Obama isn’t using executive order any more or less than other presidents . It’s what they do when they can’t get Congress to act.

      • John Bristow

        Obama has issued 32 executive orders. Reagan issued 232.I

        • whitedoggie44

          If you know something about the law, you would understand there is a degree of magnitude regarding executive orders. Executive orders by themselves are not unconstitutional but clearly obama has crossed the lines with his changes to obamacare, immigration and other executive orders. The congressional republicans have decided to file law suit so time will tell if he is a president or a king as he wishes he was.

          • John Bristow

            First of all your personal attack (basically the implication that disagreeing with you constutes stupidiy) is inappropriate. Second the fact that the president has policies with which you disagree doesn’t make him a king. This is just another case of the Republican sense of entitlement which regards any election which they lose as illegitimate.

      • Jamie

        This isn’t an executive order, which can be done within the limits of the constitution, assuming you don’t exceed the authority granted to the executive office. This is the executive branch making actual changes to legislation passed by the legislative branch – unconstitutional and unacceptable.

  • Logan’s Mom

    Hang in there. Many people are behind you and believe in you. Parts of Obama Care are a quagmire but this was inevitable. Many of the BIG profit-orientated pharmaceutical companies and medical firms did not want to see you succeed and they have purposely and intentionally created challenges to derail public healthcare. BUT it is SO needed. The USA can do it. Canada, Sweden and Finland have succeeded and so can we. Every American deserves the opportunity to participate in an affordable Health Care Program. Health Care needs to be unconnected from private business. Right now, too many people are being discriminated against through work related insurance programs. Bottom line… the greedy power players in this country have been consumed by their own greed and their ethics and empathy for other human beings have run down the drain. Thank you for sticking with it. Again, there are many people in this country who believe in you… Hang in there.

  • Deb K

    Would you encourage your daughters to serve their country in the military? Why or why not? How do you feel about having your own children placed in harms way? Just curious – the mom of a 2 conflict veteran

    • Joe

      Only if they’re treated equally and allowed roles on the front lines — just like the men.

  • Ron P.

    I would ask him how he is (really). And how are his ladies? I’d mention a few things about US Microbusinesses, entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation that he doesn’t know but needs to; and I’d mention that I raised my beautiful daughter since she was a new born and ask him about his familiarity with single parents particularly single dads.

  • Sheila Knop

    I know the President needs to shine a light on the “progress” that has been made, but it is hard to hear for someone like me who continues to struggle. It’s like cognitive dissonance for my ears. I heard excerpts of President Obama’s speech today on the news — his words, not a reporter’s words — where he was discouraging people from believing the media hype that frequently focuses on the negative. He talked about all the true progress that has been made regarding the economy and health care. Well, if I had five minutes with President Obama, I would respectfully remind him that it isn’t the media that makes me feel skeptical about the progress with the economy. It’s my inability to afford my rent, groceries, utilities, putting gas in my car, paying my car insurance, having to pay overdrafts when my rent is due because my paychecks just don’t quite stretch far enough. It’s the expense of mandated health insurance, rising costs of prescriptions, household goods, etc. that are part of my everyday life. No, it’s not the media or Republicans that discourage me about the economic progress reports. It’s my checkbook, my low paycheck, my day-to-day expenses, rising property taxes that helped contribute to losing my house last year. I live in the real world. Oh, and by the way, I earned my master’s degree four years ago but have yet to find a job in my field! It’s not my education holding me back. It’s that the competition for every job that opens up is grueling. A master’s degree is becoming as common in some fields as bachelor’s degrees once were so what does that mean for those who have not even earned a degree of any kind yet? The words I have written above may lead one to believe that I am cynical and critical but I am not. I am simply pointing out that I have yet to experience firsthand, the “economic progress.” However, I never give up, I keep working hard, I volunteer on two mental health advisory boards in my community, I do my best to network so that I can find a decent paying job again and most importantly, I continue to have faith that things will improve. Mr. President, it’s not the media, it’s the reality that too many people in this country live from day to day that makes us question the “progress reports.” I commend you, however, Mr. President, for also keeping the faith, working hard and doing your best to try and push policies forward that will hopefully replace the grim economic reality that I am speaking of…the one that is also contributing to social problems such as increased substance abuse, domestic violence, crime, and mental health concerns. Recognizing the costs of all these things and how they weigh on our economic recovery is equally important. I don’t have the magic answer, but I want to plead with you, President Obama (and all lawmakers), to set aside the unproductive political posturing on Capitol Hill and work in a bipartisan way to foster the kind of progress that can be felt for REAL, by the majority of hardworking Americans out there like myself, who continue to live paycheck to paycheck. Thank you for allowing me my five minutes.

    Sheila Knop
    Buffalo, MN

  • John Bristow

    The right screams and yells and lies. The response is all to often defensive or technical. A large part of the population is uninterested in careful discussion and is vulnerable to simple answers, however wrong-headed they may be. Progressives need to be blunt and call lies lies in simple direct language. It does no good to win the intellectual battle and lose the war. Demagoguery needs to be called out, not simply debated.

  • Gayle

    I would invite him to go camping in the BWCAW, where we could appreciate the beauty and power of nature. I think that experience would influence his thinking on environmental issues as much as anything else. I think the days of uninterupted privacy and contemplative opportunity would help him prioritize and organize coming into the next phase of his term of service and stage of his life. While we sat in a canoe, watching an eagle ride the thermals and an osprey hunt, where the only sound was the wind in the trees, I would ask him “If he knew on the day he was sworn in what he knows now, what would he do differently?”

  • JQP

    Thanks for trying to help the old country out.
    America at this time, is a two cadre’s of bitter cantankerous old geezers who can’t accept change or the even invest time in the process of simple decision making. The geezers are in constant fighting all the time over every last molecule and atom of every last tiny breath of every last utterance. They wheeze and crone and cough and sputter , expending their entire energy on arguing instead of doing.

    You got us through a singularly awful patch of economic disparity brought on by the 45 years of abuse under the unique brand of Americanism .. laws passed in Congress with spriit and intent and convoluted by the citizens and corporations to the insane last letter of the law.

    We are not a nation that respects stari decisis nor the intent of the law. We are a nation of individuals that think everyone else has to support our positions while we ignore theirs.
    Thanks , again, for trying to help us move ahead.

  • Jamie

    I would like to ask him a few questions, questions that a free press should be asking (ahem, MPR), similar to the following:

    Why do you promise to be a uniter, then divide us by race, gender, age, income?

    Why did you promise to be the most transparent government in history only to become the most opaque?

    Why is it you think you can “focus like a laser” on 40 different things at once? That’s not focus.

    Why did you promise to build a 21st century VA, only to have it shown to be completely mismanaged?

    Why was George W. Bush irresponsible and unpatriotic when he added $4 Trillion to the national debt, but when you add $8 Trillion you’re not unpatriotic and irresponsible?

    Why do all federal politicians seem to think that power should be centralized in Washington?

    Why do you think it’s okay to tell the Justice Department not to enforce specific laws? Congress writes the laws, not you.

    What did you know about the IRS targeting of conservative groups and when did you know it?

    • theoacme

      I would like to ask Obama why he is just as much of a Nazi pig as all his fellow Republicans, like Jamie, are?

  • Jean

    How can our country thrive when you spend all your time blaming republicans for the fact that they won’t do what you want? I would tell him to grow up. We have an adversarial system of government EXACTLY so that one party can’t ram bad policy down the throats of all Americans. Guess what, Mr. Obama? Many, many Americans disagree with you, and find your revolting method of buying votes with government giveaways paid for by hardworking people to be utterly un-American. The fact that he can’t get things done the way he wants is because (big surprise) there are many people here who don’t want what he wants. He needs to be President of the whole country, and that means you don’t get what you want when you want it. What a disappointing man.

  • J F Hanson

    You lied to us about the nature and content of the ‘gun control’ bill Schumer wrote last year.


    And why did you claim Executive Privilege for Holder, et.al. in the matter of the records of the Fast and Furious scandal?

  • Paul

    Why “Move on” instead of telling Attorney General Holder to start the investigations of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, etc. Hold them accountable for their actions leading to the invasion of Iraq. This nonsense started with Ford pardoning Nixon – time for accountability to begin.

    And speaking of accountability, just what were you thinking by keeping Larry Summers, protecting Wall Street and the bankers while throwing most of us under the bus after the Great Recession? Seriously?

  • Patricia

    The elephant in the room: Big Business and a handful of very rich, very powerful folks control Washington, therefore this country. Why aren’t we talking about that?

    • theoacme

      Because Obama is a RIF (not reading is fundamental, but Republican in Fact) – he’s the House…you know – designed to distract from the rich people’s plan to rape the world…and when the revolution comes, they’ll leave Obama to be lynched, and cheer from Switzerland, like the Nazis that they all are.


    As a Human Being I would like to see less money spent on Military Spending. i would like to see my tax dollars go to Education, Health Care, Housing, Jobs, Higher Wages and the Environment. I would also like to see U.S Dollars go towards all U.S Families and their children. i would also like to see U.S dollars go to U.S Vets that have served during Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to see Head Start and Higher Education Programs provided to all future generations as well. I understand we Humans do not live in a Utopian Society but we do have the right to plan for it is the future now. This is for survival. All Humans deserve a right to life. Today, Now and for ever!!!

  • Carrie

    I would tell him he’s done a good job of cleaning up the mess the Republicans left for him. What a thankless job that’s been.

  • Donna

    Mr. Obama: In family courts across this country, women are experiencing the deplorable nightmare of having their children shredded and ripped from their homes, from their lives, from their very arms by a biased, unjust, cruel “justice system.” (I know of one case where a woman was nursing her infant while in the courtroom, and the judge ordered that the child be immediately removed from the breast and given to the father.) And why is this heinous activity occurring? It is because women, who despite so-called “economic advances” still live with much less financial wherewithal than men, often struggling in the throes of poverty, cannot afford the exorbitant costs of legal representation. Therefore, they cannot adequately present to the court the abuse and domestic violence they’ve suffered at the hands of the fathers of their children ~ while the father, who has representation, comes across as “the victim” based on his attorney’s presentation. So. Mr. Obama, for the masses of aggrieved, abused women who suffer at the hands of psychologically sick men, please allocate funds to pay for the needled legal representation for these women ~ rather than sending monies to high corporations which already have budgets in excess of millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars.

  • Humanswithoutborders20142016

    Stop locking up humans that are crossing the borders. Let them enter into the U.S!!!

  • Cuban cigar

    Do the right thing please close Guantanamo Bay!!!