August 12th, 2011
02:59 PM ET

Obama sits down with leading CEOs

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.

.


Topics: Economy • jobs • President Obama

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Dale

    Fortune 500 companies CEO's are traitors of the American people need to treat them as traitors

    August 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Howard

      Oh, well I guess CNN, and the democrats can start demonizing Romney for being financially successful. And, while you're at it, how about demonizing Ted Turner, who created CNN, John Kennedy, who was also a multi-millionaire, and John Kerry, who got his millions by marrying into it. What ever happened to valuing and admiring self made successful men and women, who fulfilled the American Dream ??? The captains of industry, who built this great country. Rags to riches hero's, like the characters from the Horatio Alger stories. Instead, today, the mainstream media, and the democrats have made it fashionable to demonize entrepreneurs, and people who achieve success. Maybe that's why America's economy is circling the toilet bowl.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
      • bruce

        Again howard you stretch. All can fulfill the American dream but with great ideas and hard work, not on the back of others and without paying their share. You forgot to mention that your president is also wealthy and not from public money. Money he made on his own and he is the first to say he should be paying more in taxes.
        Warren Buffet (you might have heard of him, loves America and capitalism) also agrees with him so not sure why you don't. As for the economy circling the toilet, well that I am afraid is on past policies favoring only the 'job creators' (what amusing rhetoric). Simple capitalist principles dictate that we can not all be rich or none of us will be. If you destroy the consumer you destroy the economy and the consumer is the middle class.

        August 16, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  2. jean2009

    Since the Teapublicans' campaign bus trips are being paid for by Fortune 500 companies...(aka people...according to SCOTUS & Mitt Romney) isn't that the same as being paid for by taxpayers?

    I would suggest reading: George W. Bush And The Permanent Campaign Trail.
    the Public Purpose Vol III pg 17 by Emily Jane Charnock -American Education.edu

    at: http://www.american.edu/spa/publicpurpose/upload/George-W-Bush-and-the-Permanent-Campaign-Trail.pdf

    August 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Howard

      Oh, well I guess CNN, and the democrats can start demonizing Romney for being financially successful. And, while you're at it, how about demonizing Ted Turner, who created CNN, John Kennedy, who was also a multi-millionaire, and John Kerry, who got his millions by marrying into it. What ever happened to valuing and admiring self made successful men and women. Hard working Americans, who fulfilled the American Dream ??? The captains of industry, who built this great country, and provided jobs for millions. Rags to riches hero's, like the characters from the Horatio Alger stories. Instead, today, the mainstream media, and the democrats have made it fashionable to demonize entrepreneurs, and people who achieve success. Maybe that's why today, America's economy is circling the toilet bowl.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
      • jean2009

        My it is getting deep in here...let me get my wading boots out.

        The Bush tax cuts have made the deficit larger, and that is the hypocrisy of the Rethugliklans in their wanting to cut the deficit. If they were really interested in anything other than lining their own pockets they would be first up for ending their tax cut which would cut the deficit.

        August 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        So Jean, what you are saying is that Barry, by extended the Bush tax cuts, made the deficit larger.

        August 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
      • bruce

        Jay that is what she is saying, but he did not want to extend them if you remember. (he being president Obama just in case you didn't think we noticed how clever you where in calling him Barry).
        The President wanted to have them expire on all people making in excess of $250,000.00 (just in case you noticed or not he would have been paying more)

        August 16, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  3. Scott

    Corporate executives that view labor as a necessary evil to be exploited so they may add to their obscene compensation – the likes of which have never been seen. These types of meetings are to give me confidence? I think they are measuring how to exploit the situation in order to drive wages and benefits lower for 98% of their employees.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  4. InObamaWeTrust

    We can thank the MSM for dissing Obama the way they have all this week. Unbelievable.

    If the election were today, the Democrats would win by far given the way the Repubs have taken to a new low.

    Obama in 2012!

    August 13, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    When is he going to admit that going begging to corporate America, is going to gain him nothing?

    The only real solution, is severe tax penalties for importing products from off shore. That will level the playing field with China, and will require zero spending. It is the only workable solution, but he refuses to even see the obvious answer to the jobs problem.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Gavin

      absolutely, totally correct. A VAT tax will bring jobs back to the US faster than any other action. Corporations will no longer be able to play the arbitrage game using cheap forieign labor.They would then realize it is cheaper to produce here than somewhere else. All of a suden you will see investments in production plants in the US. Reforming the tax code is also required as part of this package. The current code allows those same corporations to avoid payment on income taxes on goods produced overseas. That is why there are billions of dollars that need to be repatriated back to the US and tax paid on those earnings.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  6. Jean

    Rick, we don't know what was discussed during the meeting.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Don

    The state of the U.S is all about priorities....not the citizens priorities but the elite politicians and big business. They tell us that war is good against certain countries because they will be a democracy when we leave....cost..... trillions. We have entitlements that give the impression that there is a free ride available....just ask and you will receive. We watch people lose jobs, homes and their way of life. The presidents priority appears to be re-elected and to hell with Americans....if that appears harsh, please tell me why he isn't doing the business of the country? Yes he says it's because of the mess he inherited well many CEO's inherit billion dollar problems and they solve them....time for the president to take on all the bad people that are against America.....his impression.

    Listen, he is a smart guy but appears to not rto have read the book.....how to lead versus being re-elected. If he doesn't know how to lead ....why would we want another 4 years of great speeches were nothing changes for the people.

    A good start would be to get the hell out of that financial sink hole Afghanistan and bring home our troops. Get out of many of the countries were we maintain troops....for what?

    Shrink the army and we will still have more power and capability than anyone. Tough choices but for once let's make the American people the #1 priority.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  8. Ray E. Georgia

    He doesn't need to talk to CEO'S. All he needs to do is extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least 10 more years. Then business will began hiring again. And of course get rid of Obama Care.

    I have no idea why so many of you here want someone else to pay your way. You have all the tools to suceed. Apply it.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Howard

      Abraham Lincoln was right ... Obama can't fool all of the people all of the time ... and, even with the mainstream media constantly promoting him, and making excuses for him, the people are finally beginning to see what an abject failure Obama really is.
      SAVE AMERICA ... IMPEACH OBAMA NOW !!!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • jean2009

      Didn't work for the last ten years....that is a failed idea...as G.H.W. Bush said Voodoo Economics.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  9. jwb

    Who is John Galt?

    Answer that above question (GOOGLE it if you must) and you'll know why our economy is in the tank and why Obama and his cronies have no clue what they are doing in Washington DC. Oh, and neither do the Republicans who are just as incompetent.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  10. Jessie

    @Ray E. Georgia:
    "He doesn't need to talk to CEO'S. All he needs to do is extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least 10 more years. Then business will began hiring again. And of course get rid of Obama Care.

    I have no idea why so many of you here want someone else to pay your way. You have all the tools to suceed. Apply it."

    It's strange, because I am a liberal, and my liberal friends and I work just as hard as you do to survive. But I do enjoy having a road to drive to work on, firemen to put out my house if it's on fire, etc. All paid for by our taxes. Taxes actually aren't about me taking your money so that I don't have to work as hard as you. Its about all of us agreeing that there are certain things we all need, so we agree to contribute to it as a community.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • bruce

      Well said Sir. There are far too many idiots that believe that the money they pay in taxes goes to support 'some one else'.
      It is this entitlement attitude that they believe is in others but is in themselves. They want to keep every dime they earn and have someone else pay for all the services they use that you mentioned.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  11. Ruby M. Fletcher

    The Pepublicans kills me saying people want someone else to pay their way. Someone is paying their way, they get the big tax cut that the middle class doen't get. Most of them are rich because they cheated to get it, who do they think they are fooling. The Republicans don't think people like the President deserve anything that they have, thats why they are about to have heart attacks that Pres. Obama will do a second term. Its shocking that it was no problem for Bush to put us in all this debt, but they want the Pres. to be the one to get us out. Sad!! Republicans are selfish, they aren't family value, they cheat on their spouses just as much as anyone, or more. Take a poll and see how many have second or third wives,Please, Please, As a whole white men/women marry two to three times. Its common for them. So stop the family value talk. The are upset becuase never in a million years did they think, some of them, that they would have a black President, they need to admit it, then they can deal with it. We have had white one for centuries, it didn't kill us and this want kill you, get over it. He will win again, all the negagive talk, holding onto jobs, saying NO, its going to back fire, trust me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 14, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • jean2009

      They forget that the tax cuts for billionaires is costing us $60 Billion a year, and $700 Billion for 10 years. Not to mention what they have cost us for the last 10 years and the interest we are paying on top of that cost.

      I would suggest reading:"Preserving Bush Tax Cuts For Rich Costs $60 Billion Per Year. Here's What Eliminating Them Would Pay For."

      Maintaining them makes no sense they have not created jobs. G. H. W. Bush summed that theory up in Voodoo Economics; Trickle-down doesn't work.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  12. Peg - AZ

    Good – but really he should huddle with their tax and cost accountants (and perhaps their lawyers) – that is who advises the CEO's and they are the ones who know best about what tax policies would be necessary an sufficient to effect a move towards growth in this economy – they know what will tip the advise towards a purchase or a hire – (lawyers may have a tip on regulations) – even better find a bunch of recently retired accountants – no loyalty bias

    August 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  13. Liz Carter in Georgia

    That's right Ruby! That's their biggest problem. OH NO! No way will they allow a black man to step up in AMERICAS' OVAL OFFICE and have the balls, wisdom, intelligence, and the audacity to straighten out almost a century of failed presidents, failed policies and failed political/beareaucratic decisions at home nor abroad! NOPE! Not without a fight! They will continue to sit back undermining, verbally saboatoging and watching this nation fall on off the cliff first! That way they can say 'SEE! WE TOLD YOU'!

    August 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  14. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You clowns really need to stop with the BIGGEST LIE ever that the BUSH taxcuts need to be left in tact because of their potential to stimulate jobs! Folks aren't crazy you know! JOBS, JOBS, JOBS?!? Where are they? What happened to them for the last 8-10 years? That's about how long you've enjoyed the taxcuts! What's happening to jobs even now? No! They still aren't manifesting fast enough. You greedy, selfish folks are still hoarding the money and probably will continue to do so! You SO love America, huh?

    August 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      If the tax cuts are so bad, why did Barry extend them by two more years. Looks like he would have, with his Democrat congress eliminated them.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  15. joe

    When idiot Obama walked out of that meeting the CCEO's started laughing at what a moron Obama is

    August 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  16. Liz Carter in Georgia

    The reason Jay, that the President chose to leave the Bush tax-cuts in place for at least these next two years, is that it would REALLY hurt the middle-class; the 250K'ers and up, what with many of THEM already struggling to stay afloat; with reposesions, foreclosures, no jobs, medical insurances, etc., They're the ones who'd be hurt the most right now! They aren't the WARREN BUFFETS of wealthness, who BTW has even asked that he and his friends go back to being taxed by the same rates as everyone else; 33%!

    August 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm |