January 21st, 2011
12:50 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Trying to reverse the perception that his administration has not been friendly to business, President Obama is going out of his way to involve corporate America in the effort to turn the ailing economy around.
In the latest move, Mr. Obama has named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The panel, which will replace the President’s Economic Recovery Board, will be charged with finding new ways to grow private-sector jobs.
‘We still have a long way to go,” the president said in a written statement, “and my number one priority is to ensure we are doing everything we can to get the American people back to work.”
The business community has been warming up to this new strategy that has been coming together piece by piece in recent weeks:
-December 4th, the administration reached a free trade agreement with South Korea.
-December 17th, a tax cut deal that rewarded high income earners along with middle class Americans passed Congress.
-January 6th, Bill Daley a banking executive whom many believe will help foster a better relationship with the business community, was named White House chief of staff.
-January 18th, the president signed an executive order to put regulations under review to insure they’re not strangling businesses and economic growth.
-January 19th, during the historic state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, CEO’s from 14 big companies like Microsoft, Boeing and Motorola, met with the two world leaders to focus on boosting exports to China and increasing jobs in the U.S.
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs admitted that early in the administration they had to do “some extraordinary things and had to pursue financial reform which some in the business community did not support.” But he insisted that the president has “always had a good working relationship with business.”