December 14th, 2010
01:21 PM ET

Obama meets with wealthy philanthropists

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama spent part of his Tuesday morning meeting with some pretty heavy hitters in the worlds of business and philanthropy – Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet.

A White House official told CNN that Obama invited the three to the Oval Office to discuss "The Giving Pledge," the initiative they launched that invites wealthy individuals and families to commit a majority of their fortune to philanthropic efforts.

During the visit they also discussed ideas for how to grow the economy, and how to make America "more competitive including investment in education to better prepare the next generation and investing in innovative areas with opportunity for growth," according to the official.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were rated the two richest Americans respectively on the latest list by Forbes earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg, the 26 year old founder of Facebook, along with investor Carl Ichan, and AOL co-founder Steve Case, announced they would join the initiative and donate most of their fortunes to charity.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    Wow – wealthy people (including Obama) who want to help our country and other people less fortunate – no doubt that they clearly are not Repubs.
    Repubs the party of "I got mine, screw you". And "where are my free roads?"

    December 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  2. V in Chicago

    I hope their giving is to the folks who really need the help, like in the urban and rural areas where the need is the greatest. If these guys are giving money to places like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and other places where the already well off are, then it is a waste of time. They should be helping to feed the kids who go to be hungry at night. They need to put their money in schools were the poorest of the poor live so those people can have a chance to break out and have a better life. It's great that they are giving, but I hope that they are giving where the need is the greatest.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    The Giving Pledge.
    Instead of passing your money off to philanthropic organizations, which is nothing more than a way to make other rich people richer. How about you guys give 80 – 90% of your wealth to create Health Insurance pools for those without.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • mfhpr

      Bob in PA – "which is nothing more than a way to make other rich people richer"...HUH? You're kidding, right? Do you have any idea how many billions the Gates' have donated to the needy, starving, dying of AIDS, etc? Yes, there will be smart investment involved with this money, but not in the way you believe. Read some about the Gates' and Buffet and you'll learn what they're really about when it comes to giving...

      December 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • morpunkt


      December 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  4. alaskan1st

    Let those that reap the most benefits from the system, pay the most taxes. The richest in the nation agree. So why did we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest?

    December 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • CTinDC

      Ask the republicans

      December 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  5. MAC

    Why don't they donate their money to pay down the national debt!

    December 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Shawn

      Probably because they, being philanthropists, don't agree with the reasons we have so much debt. Like Wasteful spending... War... ect. Also, it's their money, and I think these two brilliant minds are wise enough to spend their money in a non foolish manner.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  6. Henry Miller

    Microsoft, under Gates, was the most vicious corporate predator in century, lying, cheating, extorting compliance from others in the computer industry, and ruining those who wouldn't comply.

    In other words, Gates achieved what Obama can only dream of.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  7. james Miller

    He was on his knees kissing their behinds--

    December 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  8. geecee

    Jealous that these guys are Obama supporters, aren't you? If they hated him, slammed him, bashed him, lied about him, slandered him, libeled him, cursed him and everything else that the rich wealthy Republican millionaires and billionaires do to Obama, then these two guys would be right up there with the best of 'em. We see how "fair and balanced" you fiscal conservatives are. Just so full of...generosity, charity and philanthropy, right??

    December 14, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  9. Chas in Iowa

    I believe Bill and Warren are both a bit out of touch with the realities of life down here in the middle class.

    I can see a lot of us living on the Whitehouse lawn by 2012. That may be what it takes to get Washington to acknowledge that without the middle class this country will spiral downward.

    Big business keeps pointing to the global economy as an excuse to ship our manufacturing jobs out of the country.
    As far as true patriotic Americans are concerned if you are an American Company manufacturing products outside the country those products are banned from being imported back into the United States. You want to take advantage of world markets and cheap foreign labor, fine, sell your products in that world market.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • Sgt. Joe

      Where was your computer manufactured. Oops! Better get rid of it!

      December 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • YBM

      The reason companies moved out of the country to manufacture products, is because the american people won't work for the wages they can pay in other countries. That being said, the american people won't pay the amount the company would have to charge for the product if it was made in america. American people won't buy "made in the USA" products when they can get imports cheaper. The whole problem was caused by the american people themsleves, but won't admit it, they just complain about it. They want their cake and to eat it too. Very hypocritical.

      December 15, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  10. NVa Native

    Compared to Dubbers tip-toeing through the garden while holding hands with a wealthy Saudi Prince – while the Saudis sodomize our country – this is refreshing.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      That's because the Bush family cares more about oil and kissing up to the Saudi's than taking care of Americans. I also think the Bushes and the religious rightwing of the GOP would love to turn the U.S. into a "christian theocracy" modeled after Saudi Arabia where a few families control all the wealth and the poor, uneducated masses are kept in line by religious police.

      December 15, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  11. t22

    I wonder if he asked them which government programs made them so rich?

    December 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      Do a little research on Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and you'll get your answer: Both men have cited access to free public education and the U.S. university system, as well as living in a country with a robust Middle Class and reliable infrastructure as key reasons as to why they have been so successful.

      And unlike most Republicans, tea baggers and everyone else who lives in Faux-land, Buffet and Gates recognize that the wealthy need to pay their fair share to ensure future generations of Americans have the same opportunities that they had.

      December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  12. w l jones

    Mr. Buffet and Mr,Bill and Mrs Gate have a mind like steel when it come to business so why not sit back and let them advice we the people of America how inconjuncion with our president what we need to do in ought to get us out this debacle.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  13. Kenny

    I am seriously considering becoming a charitable organization so they can give to me. I'm needy.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  14. geecee

    You people who think we have it rough now, should read a book about the Great Depression. You'll feel a WHOLE lot better. This Ain't Nuthin'" (as the song goes). And all of you so upset that the Country hasn't fallen flat on its face yet (stock market doing pretty good) must be s-o-o-o-o disappointed because that means Obama hasn't failed and he will win re-election in 2012. Too bad for you!!

    December 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Reality Bites

      Typical of the quality of the analysis done on these blogs. I've noticed that when commenters attempt to render real analysis, in reality it is just their opinion, rather than a serious realistic analysis.

      December 15, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  15. Leslie

    Most of you people are pathetic. I applaude the Gates' and Mr Buffet for giving so much and trying to get the others to follow suit. And all you blind politcal sheep can do is to politicize the whole thing. They are not doing this because of who is in office, they are doing it because they have the means to help. No wonder the country is in such a mess, you are all more concerned about your stupid parties than the country itself. ANd even when the President makes an effort to meet in the middle, he gets slammed for turning on his party rather than helping the country. You all (the party sheep) deserve to lose your jobs and homes.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  16. FedUp

    Are they going to bail out the US? That would be interesting. I wonder if they would still have to pay higher taxes, or if there would be a deal in the making.

    December 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm |

    @geecee; all I want to say is HELLO! Keep up the good work, and YOU GO!

    December 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  18. Brad

    Awesome that the two richest people in America will be donating the majority of their fortunes back to America. I've got an idea though, how about they use their vast wealth to create even more businesses to give more people jobs. I'm not going to complain or talk about how bias one party is over the other because in the end no one is voting for a party they are voting for what they personally believe in. Forgot about more unemployment money or giving money away, just create more jobs that pay better and that's all we'll need. Creating the jobs would create more products, more products means more money, they could turn all that money into even more money.. Invest in America the right way, forget about spending millions on roads that were just paved last year, invest in something that we need more of. The economy has stabilized but it's not because Obama is in office spending all kinds of money on useless things. When the government sets aside a few million dollars for a project they hire 500 people tops when you let that money go to the private sector that few million dollars creates 5000. One last thing No More Big Government give the American People their freedom to make a mistake again.

    December 15, 2010 at 3:43 am |
  19. Reality Chews

    Typical of the quality of the analysis done on these blogs. I've noticed that when commenters attempt to render real analysis, in reality it is just their opinion, rather than a serious realistic analysis.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:40 am |