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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

Last updated on: April 21, 2011 16:06 IST

Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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With 19 million Facebook friends, US President Barack Obama is amongst the most followed people on the social media web site.

On Wednesday, Obama well nigh kicked off his re-election campaign at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto (Silicon Valley) where he had been invited to a town hall meeting and to answer questions posed by those present at the meeting (chosen by a lottery) and from those who were following the live web cast of his interaction. The one hour meeting was streamed live on Facebook.

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Image: US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a townhall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California..
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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Even as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, introduced the President, Obama began on a jocular note.

He said: "My name is Barack Obama, and I'm the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie," he said pointing at the Facebook CEO who was wearing a tie and a jacket.

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Image: Obama takes off his jacket as he attends a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"I hate to tell stories on Mark, but the first time we had dinner together and he wore this jacket and tie, I'd say halfway through dinner he's starting to sweat a little bit," Obama added. "It's really uncomfortable for him. So I helped him out of his jacket. And in fact, if you'd like, Mark, we can take our jackets off."

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Image: Obama attends a town hall meeting at Facebook.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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Sitting on a tall wooden stool next to Zuckerberg -- who is one of the world's youngest billionaires and the founder of a phenomenal Internet tool that seems to have taken the world by a storm -- Obama said: "What Facebook allows us to do is make sure this isn't just a one-way conversation, make sure I'm not only speaking to you, but your also speaking back. I really think its progressive thinking. It's a new way to communicate."

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Image: Obama is presented with a hooded sweatshirt from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"What makes me incredible optimistic is that at every juncture in our history, we've always been able to adapt," Obama added.

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Image: Obama at the Facebook headquarters.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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He also said that it was possible to reduce America's gargantuan debt. "If we don't have a serious (plan) to attack the deficit, we will have an even bigger problem" of investors pulling back when the economy starts to perk up.

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Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the start of a town hall meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"The housing market is the biggest drag on the economy."

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Image: Obama greets attendees as he arrives for a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"Immigration in this country has always been complicated. We are a nation of immigrants and laws. And sometimes the laws are unfair. "If we bring high-skilled immigrants to come here, why wouldn't we want them to stay? They are job generators. We don't want them starting an Intel in China or France. We want them starting them here," Obama said.

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Image: Obama is presented with a hooded sweatshirt from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after a town-hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"Our education system has to do a better job of math and science education for women, Hispanics and blacks. We have to lift our game up for the Internet, math and science," he added.

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Image: Obama at Facebook headquarters with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Photographs: Reuters
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Obama 'pokes' fun at Facebook founder

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"I want people to think of the next big Internet breakthrough as the next moon launch," the US President said.


Image: Obama at Facebook headquarters.
Photographs: Reuters
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