TODAY   |  December 11, 2012

‘We the People’ petition presses White House

NBC’s Peter Alexander reports on the White House’s ambitious online petition program, “We the People,” which gives Americans a voice in government. The program recently made headlines with demands ranging from  building a “Death Star” to removing Psy from performing at a  charity Christmas concert.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as children put finishing touches on their wish lists, some grown-ups have wishes of their own. nbc's white house correspondent peter alexander has more on this story. peter, good morning to you.

>> savannah, good morning to you. ambitious online petition program, we the people, they call it. it gives americans a voice in government and just take a look. boy, do americans have plenty of demands. if the u.s. can put a man on the moon, why not begin building a death star , just like darth vader 's base in " star wars "? more than 14 million americans are demanding the president do just that. while he's at it, some other demands. remove injujerry jones as owner of the dallas cowboys and allow military members to put their hands in their pockets. that's for real. more than 4,200 people have signed on. kansas city deejay danny boy launched a white house petition to save the twinkie or more specifically to prevent our nation from losing her sweet creamy center.

>> boy, did it take off.

>> reporter: many, the white house says, have affected policy debates in washington. take animal welfare , addressed with a petition earlier this year that's partly credited for a recent white house proposal cracking down on puppy mills . the white house insists we the people offers an opportunity for the administration to address issues people care about, which is an important part of the democracy americans deserve. more than 96,000 petitions have been created, gathering 6 million signatures. the program made headlines of its own when petitioners demanded president obama , scheduled to attend a christmas charity concert this sunday, block the appearance of rap singer psy, under fire for anti-american performances. but that petition was removed because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions. and, of course, the president had no say over who the private charity chose to invite. still, after one petition last summer, white house revealed a recipe for its homemade honey brown ale .

>> that is one incredible beer, if i do say so myself. america, i wish everybody could taste this but we don't quite brew enough.

>> now you can make it yourself. not every petition gets the administration's response. that does take 25,000 for it to happen. the white house says more and more people are getting involved with this, as you just witnessed. there's even a petition to shut down white house petitions.

>> there's an idea whose time has come. peter alexander , thank you. really, people want the death star to be built? that's interesting.

>> like we don't have enough to worry about, fiscal cliff and all.

>> it's got to get behind the flux capacitor.

>> i want to try that beer, that ale.

>> start a petition.

>> the recipe's out.