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Do online petitions to the White House ever work?




US President Barack Obama speaks on the fiscal cliff during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama speaks on the fiscal cliff during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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A record-breaking petition is asking the Obama Administration to label the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. With over 280,000 signatures in two weeks, it's one of the fastest growing petitions ever on a site created just over a year ago by the White House.

Think of it as direct-democracy: The administration promises to respond to any petition that gets 25,000 signees in 30 days. However, the intentions and results of these petitions can be mixed.

Because while there are successful drives tackling serious issues like gun control, there are others more lighthearted ones that ask for the White House's beer recipe and one that asks the administration to build The Death Star. 

Is this petitioning process taken seriously enough — both by Americans and by the administration? Joining us is Tommy Christopher, White House reporter and political editor for Mediaite.com.