With just an hour to go before President Obama's first-ever Twitter town hall, the most retweeted question under the #Ask Obama hashtag is whether he'd consider legalizing marijuana to lower the burden on U.S. courts and prisons and raise government revenue.
Legalization, with nearly 5,000 retweets, is followed by questions about whether the president will promise to allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire in 2012 and whether he should be held responsible for predicting national unemployment wouldn't rise above 8 percent, which garnered about 1,800 and about 1,300 retweets respectively.
The data was gathered by Twitsprout, a Twitter analysis plug in that's currently in a testing phase. The statistics are being updated hourly, the company said.
As of noon Wednesday, about 51,000 Tweets had come in under the #Ask Obama hash tag, set up for the virtual town hall. About 65 percent of those are genuine questions. The rest are promotional tweets about the event, Twitsprout said. The site spiked late Tuesday after remaining slow and steady since the event was announced Friday.
The Eastern time zone leads in Ask Obama questions at 33 percent of the total, followed by the Central time zone, which has asked 22 percent of all questions. About 17 percent of questions have come from the Pacific time zone and only 5 percent from the Mountain time zone, the site said. The remainder came from outside the continental U.S.
A few national figures had jumped into the Twitter debate as of Wednesday afternoon.
"Why is your administration supporting the [National Labor Relations Board's] job killing policies in South Carolina?" Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tweeted.
Noted University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato asked: "If Bush had launched Libyan adventure, wouldn't Sen. Obama have demanded War Powers Act be obeyed?"
Other seemingly high profile tweeters appeared to be imposters.
"When can wife and I come over and see if the kitchen needs remodeling before move in?" asked TeePawful, a play on Republican presidential contender and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
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