August 12th, 2011
02:59 PM ET
As part of his effort to spur job creation and encourage economic growth, President Obama sat down Friday with some of the nation’s leading corporate CEOs Friday. The President met with Ursula Burns of Xerox; Ken Chenault of American Express; Richard Davis of U.S. Bank; Larry Fink of BlackRock; Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lake Partners; John Stumpf of Wells Fargo; John Surma of U.S. Steel and Bill Weldon of Johnson and Johnson.
This comes in a week where the President touted some of the administration’s economic programs but also said more needs to be done to help create jobs. On Thursday in Holland Michigan the President also chided Congress for its partisanship in the fight over the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling. He also promised to unveil more jobs initiatives in the coming weeks.
“The President appreciated the thoughtful exchange of ideas and the private sector’s shared commitment to improving our economy. The President firmly believes that every American who wants a job should have one, and businesses large and small must all be at the table as part of the collective solution,” the White House said in a statement after the meeting, which lasted over an hour.
Most of the companies refused to discuss the meeting. Some, including BlackRock and Silver Like, refused to even confirm their CEO was participating before a White House official disclosed the list.
“At the president’s request, Bill Weldon is meeting today with a number of business leaders and the President to informally discuss economic issues. We respectfully decline to provide or discuss any additional information,” a spokeswoman for Johnson and Johnson told CNN.
Beginning Monday the President is embarking on a 3 day Midwest bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to talk about the rural economy and White House officials say will give another opportunity for the President to travel outside Washington to talk to average Americans about the dragging economic recovery and how that has impacted them.
Some Republicans have criticized the bus tour because it is considered an official event and therefore being paid for by the taxpayers.
The White House defended the decision not to consider the trip a campaign event.
“The President views it as one of the chief responsibilities in office to spend some time outside Washington,D.C., talking to people all across the country about the economy and about how they’re impacted by the policy decisions that he’s making here in Washington,D.C. That isn’t just an appropriate thing for a President to do, it’s something that a President should do. So he’s going to spend time in Minnesota, in Iowa, in Illinois doing exactly that,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “There’s obviously a very robust debate about the economic policies in this country that’s ongoing in Iowa. That’s something that the Iowa people are paying very close attention to. But it’s also a debate that’s happening in Minnesota. It’s also a debate that’s happening in Illinois. And he’s going to go to all three states to talk about it.”
CNN Producers Becky Brittain and Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this story.
You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.