Obama talks jobs with Jobs, other tech leaders
WOODSIDE, California (AP) _ President Barack Obama assembled some
of the biggest names in Silicon Valley to confer on jobs and innovation, trying to get leaders from companies like Google and Apple behind his push to keep spending on high-tech initiatives even as Republicans push to slash the budget.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Google chief executive Eric
Schmidt, and Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and CEO now on his third
medical leave, were among a dozen business leaders who met with
Obama in California on Thursday. Also present for dinner at the
Woodside home of venture capitalist John Doerr were the heads of
Twitter, Yahoo!, NetFlix and Oracle, and the president of Stanford
White House press secretary Jay Carney said afterward that Obama
wants to keep exchanging ideas with the group ``so we can work as
partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States.'' The meeting was closed to the media.
Obama wants to spend billions on clean energy, education, high-speed rail, faster Internet service and other programs even as he calls for a five-year freeze on domestic spending in other areas.
The approach is getting a frosty reception from newly empowered
Republicans in Congress, who are pushing steep cuts to a range of
programs and balking at new spending.
The president argues that targeted spending, including education
initiatives aimed at producing a more sophisticated workforce, is
crucial for job creation and future U.S. competitiveness with other
nations. A stamp of approval from the Silicon Valley's leading
innovators and job creators could help.
At the same time, the president's meeting extends outreach to the
business community that he's embarked upon since Democrats suffered
steep losses in the November elections. With unemployment stuck at 9
percent, Obama has been pleading with corporate America to hire.
Carney said earlier Thursday that the high-tech sector has been
``a model, really, for that kind of economic activity that we want
to see in other cutting-edge industries in the U.S. where jobs can
be created in America and kept in America, and that's what he wants
to talk about.''
After the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, Carney said
Obama discussed his proposals to spend on research and development
and to expand incentives for companies to grow and hire.
The president also talked about his goal of doubling exports within five
years to help create jobs, his plans for spending on education and a
new initiative to support small business and start-up companies,
The group also discussed ways to encourage people to study
science, technology, engineering and math and to pursue careers in
those fields, he said.
After California, Obama planned to tour Intel Corp.'s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Oregon, on Friday with CEO Paul Otellini. Otellini, who was among a group of CEOs who met privately with Obama in December, has criticized Obama's policies as creating uncertainty for businesses.
Obama has left Washington weekly since his Jan. 25 State of the Union address to highlight his plans to boost education, innovation and infrastructure. Education is this week's theme.