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Obama Makes Stimulus Pitch with CEOs


President Obama shakes hands as Antonio Perez, chief executive officer of Eastman Kodak Co., left, David Barger,
chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways Corp., third from left, and Wendell Weeks, chief executive officer of Corning Inc., fourth from right, look on in the East Room of the White House. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg News)

By Michael D. Shear
Hours before the House of Representatives is expected to vote on an $825 billion stimulus package, President Obama gathered titans of American industry for an East Room ceremony aimed at pressuring lawmakers for its passage.

He also announced the creation of a new Web site, recovery.gov, which will document how the money from the stimulus bill is spent.

After meeting privately for about an hour with the CEOs of a dozen of the nation's largest companies, the president told a group of about 100 business leaders that Congress must not delay its efforts to restart the economy and put people back to work.

"The businesses that are shedding jobs to stay afloat, they cannot afford inaction or delay," Obama said. "The workers who are returning home to tell their husbands and wives and children that they no longer have a job, and all those who live in fear that theirs will be the next job cut -- they need help now. They are looking to Washington for action, bold and swift."

The event, held under the chandeliers in one of the White House's glitziest rooms, was meant to rally support behind the bill, which has been under fire for days by Republicans in the Congress, who say the bill has too few tax cuts, is too large and is filled with unnecessary spending.

David M. Cote, the chairman and CEO of Honeywell, countered by saying that companies are looking for swift action, and he urged lawmakers to not be timid in their efforts to rescue the economy.

Calling the situation "dire," Cote said that "we're very supportive of the reinvestment act. Our message would be: We have to do this fast."

Obama called the meeting with the CEOs "sobering" and said he discussed with the executives the extent of the job losses that have accumulated just in recent days, as large companies announced tens of thousands in layoffs.

The president directly challenged GOP critics who say the proposed legislation would not inject money into the economy for many years.

"Most of the money we're investing as part of this plan will get out the door immediately and go directly to job-creation, generating or saving three to four million new jobs," he said.

The website Obama announced has the following statement: "Check back after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to see how and where your dollars are spent. An oversight board will routinely update this site as part of an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency and unnecessary spending in our government."

"I firmly believe with Justice Brandeis that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and I know that restoring transparency is not only the surest way to achieve results, but also to earn back that trust in government without which we cannot deliver the changes the American
people sent us here to make," Obama said.

According to the White House, the CEOs at the meeting included:

Steve Appleton, Chairman, President and CEO, Micron Technology
David Barger, CEO, Jet Blue
Greg Brown, President and Co-CEO, Motorola, Inc.
John Bryson, President and CEO, Edison International
David M. Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell
Debra Lee, President and CEO, BET Holdings, Inc.
Anne Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO, Xerox
Sam Palmisano, Chairman, CEO and President, IBM
Antonio Perez, Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company
Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google
Michael Splinter, Applied Materials
Wendell Weeks, Chairman and CEO, Corning
Ron Williams, CEO, Aetna

Posted at 12:32 PM ET on Jan 28, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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The Economic Downturn:

My fellow Humanbeings it's only temporary. Don't be scared. Scared is what the evil doers want you to be. This severe economic downturn was not unforeseen. Many of us tried to warn everyone that we could years ago. And we did our humble best to head it off, and limit it's destruction. But their were some very powerful, and Evil forces at play that limited our ability to completely stop this economic downturn before it happened.

Fear not my fellow humanbeings. Your future, and the future of the World is very BRIGHT! now. :-)

The World has continued to be blest with excellent leaders who have brilliantly handled the dangers, and complexity's of our geopolitical challenges. And with the help of the world, America has now elected a new President (President Barack Obama), and a government who stands ready to lock arms with the rest of the World's leadership in solidarity towards a better World for all.

President Obama's choice of Cabinet, and advisers has been nothing short of brilliant. And his performance has been excellent. I believe President Obama stands ready to do whatever he has to do to see the American people, and the World through this crisis.

So spend, but spend wisely. Trade with each other, but trade wisely. Live, work and enjoy the majesty, and miracle of your existence in the community of humankind. This is a great time to be alive. :-)

It is not an accident that humanity exist on a small blue planet tucked in the safest corner of the universe. A planet with a constant source of warmth and energy from the sun. A planet surrounded buy a forcefield we call an atmosphere. And an atmosphere that keeps in the things we need to survive, and keeps out most of the things that could harm us. :-)

It is not an accident that the mass and orbits of the planets, moons, asteroids, and other heavenly body's are perfectly aligned to harmlessly deflect the larger objects that could hurt us away by gravity. Deflecting danger into outer space. Or into the sun.

The sun still shines on us. And our future is GOOD! This economic downturn is just a little darkness before the dawn.

Things are going to be GREAT! That is what you have chosen. The new Renaissance has begun.

God bless all of us

Jacksmith --- Working Class :-)

Posted by: JackSmith1 | January 29, 2009 12:38 AM

The concept of his plan is one we can all support. Our economy must recover.

Will every dollar be effectively spent? Will even half of the proposed $825B be? Perhaps this website concept will help... perhaps not. It's certainly worth a shot.

Seems the CEOs were there in part to consult, but maily to ensure their companies would get a piece of the bill after it becomes law. Not a bad idea.

To other posters: unfortunately, outsourcing is a business necessity. If you oppose the concept completely you are either misinformed or have been affected by outsourcing. Either way I pity you.

A recession is healthy long term. Perhaps lost jobs and homes will help us Americans realize we don't know how to manage our money. Not a clue.

This $825B crutch certianly won't help people understand basic life skills that their parents should have taught them - such as the lower class buying houses they couldn't afford. Or the middle class selling the mortgages or houses to them. Or the wealthy for turning the maligned credit system into a casino. At least some of those guys hit the jackpot.

Why do the greatest Nations/companies/civilizations fail? Success breeds laziness. I hope we don't become any lazier than we already are.

Apologizes for the digression.

Posted by: jlj123 | January 28, 2009 6:56 PM

i think it was great that President Obama took a little walk over to the GOP side yesterday.

you know what they say:
"always know who you enemies are so you know where the bullets are coming from"

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 28, 2009 5:32 PM

saint:
your wish is granted.
HR1 (the stimulus package) has mandatory participation in the E-verify program.

YES !!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 28, 2009 5:30 PM

As an ex-Honeywell employee just having Mr Cote's opinion listened to angers me.

As a previous poster mentioned Honeywell is presently outsoursing not only their back room type operations but as much of "high paying" Engineering and design as possible. There are probably now more Honeywell employees in India than in the US.

Let BO push through any ideas regarding tax incentives for US jobs, or something similar and what this group turn on him in a heartbeat.

Posted by: TRL1 | January 28, 2009 4:56 PM

What an doof. Obama thinks a window is a door...wow, how stupid can he be.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/01/28/2009-01-28_hey_bam_thats_not_the_door.html

Posted by: ChangeWhat | January 28, 2009 3:30 PM

I bet David Cote didn't explain why he is part of the problem. Why is Honeywell sending thousands of jobs to India, Mexico and the Chez Republic? Manufacturing, Finance and other support services are mostly outsourced at Honeywell. Honeywell's profit line apparently means taking jobs from Americans. I don't think the US government should listen to any of the CEO's until they make a promise to bring jobs back to America and not outsource. Also, they should not receive any defense contrracts as long as they are outsourcing jobs. Not just Honeywell, any company that has government contracts. All federal vendors should be reviewed and contracts terminated if the firm outsources

Posted by: 1April | January 28, 2009 3:15 PM

Lobbyist and Chief?

Posted by: kolbkl | January 28, 2009 3:05 PM

What the Messiah in the empty Suit fails to realize, perhaps;

is that there are two main factors affecting peoples spending abilities.

A low wage.

And an inability to get approval for any loans, based on bad credit due to Inflationary Costs of essentials like GAS, making it impossible to then keep up with Bills!-Due to low wages/reduced or lost, work!

Work opportunities and better wages all begin;

With MAJORLY increased ENFORCEMENT of Federal Labor Laws!

Get the Illegals and their wrongly Naturalized Offspring-OUT!

That one act, would increase Jobs for LEGAL Workers, lower health care costs, reduce Schooling Costs, and so much more!

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 28, 2009 2:52 PM

LarryG62-
These are the people who took all the wealth from those whose hard work created it.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 28, 2009 2:46 PM

wowzers, talk about a Power Brunch.

like the idea of RECOVERY.GOV, so the people can access and track. it is our duty and responsibility.

however, there's alot of money in HR1 for programs that might not need it or will foolishly spend it (shades of $87,000 area rugs).
we need to do it fast. i would agree on this, for the mere fact
that I do not wish to hear about a husband taking out his entire family because he lost a job.
The message is clear.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 28, 2009 2:31 PM

Interesting. Wonder what he promised these folks to appear with him?
These are the usual enemies of democrats, yet the empty suit said, and rightly so, that these are the people who create jobs. This, just twenty days after he arrogantly pronounced that only government could restart the economy.
Looks like this show became necessary because he knows he's in trouble and the Rpublicans aren't buying into his pork bill, so he doesn't have anyone to blame when it doesn't work...as he knows it won't.
He also said along the way(Dec7th) that the era of pork from Congress is over. I think he forgot to tell Pelosi, Reid and whoever wrote his $850 billion pork bill.
He really doensn't have a clue.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 28, 2009 2:05 PM

I agree with rooster, if Obama is talking with the America-hating RNC then he's negotiating with terrorists.

No tax cuts for the ultra-rich or CEO million dollar bathrooms!

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 28, 2009 2:03 PM

Executive greed and irresponsibilty has damaged this country's economy to a far greater degree than have those we typycally call terrorists.

Republicans frequently point out that high taxes can bleed the life out of businesses. It must also be emphasized, by the same logic, that excessive pay for executives bleeds businesses dry as well. Deregulation has allowed executive greed to run unchecked for over a decade, and the results have been catastrophic.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 28, 2009 1:34 PM

Dear President Obama:
Give a man a fish, he eats for a day
Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime,
unless,
there aren't any fish in the waters.

Please use every last cent for JOB CREATION, both in public and private sector..

Tax cuts for everyday taxpayers won't create jobs, what next after the tax cut has been spent?

Posted by: JRM2 | January 28, 2009 1:24 PM

So he really is negotiating with terrorists.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 28, 2009 1:11 PM

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