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Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Obama to Chamber of Commerce on shared goals: Making U.S. 'the best place on Earth to do business'

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Obama tours Orion Energy Systems, a power technology company in Manitowoc, Wis., in January. (Photo credit: Larry Downing/Reuters)

President Obama is extending another olive branch to the business community this morning with a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The relationship between Obama and the chamber, which represents 3 million companies and is considered to be the most powerful business lobby in Washington, was somewhat chilly during his first two years in office. The chamber and Obama butted heads on foreign money in elections, and the organization was a vocal opponent of financial services regulations and health-care reform -- arguably the two most important legislative projects on Obama's agenda. As of mid-2010, the chamber had been spending nearly $3 million a week in opposition to things such as student-loan legislation, credit-card reforms and a landmark measure that expands workers' rights to sue for equal pay.

The chamber lost on most of these battles, but the president was also hurt by the rift. Obama was slapped with an "anti-business" label that damaged his image with an American public that is still desperately concerned about the economy. At a town hall in September, Obama was on the defensive, pushing back against the idea that his record on health-care reform, financial regulation and intervention in the automobile business has hurt the markets and the business community.

But in recent months, the White House has made numerous efforts to tout causes that both sides can agree on, such as job creation. The Washington Post's Perry Bacon Jr. recently wrote that Obama had become a "cheerleader" for business and that his visits to factories were so numerous that he seems to be "the host of what feels like a looping infomercial on American innovation."

In his speech at 11:30 a.m., Obama will focus on the "mutual responsibilities" of government and business. In his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, Obama said he will talk about the government's "obligation to make sure that America is the best place on Earth to do business" and chief executives' duty to keep business on U.S. soil, hire Americans and pay them fairly. Obama also said he will encourage company heads to invest in clean energy.

On Friday, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said that the relationship with the business community "feels stronger going forward."

"I think it's part of an overall feeling of increased confidence that people see the president willing and able to work together to help get some things done that matter on the economy and jobs," Sperling said at a press briefing.

YOUR TAKE: Is Obama anti-business or is he too concerned about corporations?

President Obama will soon speak at the Chamber of Commerce. The nation's biggest business lobby has characterized Obama as anti-business, while others say he's too supportive. What do you think? Tell us what you think by using #ObamaBiz on Twitter and we'll post some responses right here.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | February 7, 2011; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Next: Obama's speech to U.S. Chamber of Commerce disappoints progressive groups


Successful buninesses didn't get that way by being stupid. They have been a favorite target of obama's and they won't forget. You can bet they're wearing their knife proof vests to prevent his eventual stabbing in their backs.

Posted by: cathyjs | February 7, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank you WaPo for admitting that being friendly to business represents a change in the behavior of the misguided 0bama administration.

How if he can only reign in the anti-business fervor of his own party and stop the unconstitutional expansion of regulation that is going on outside of Congress' purview.

Posted by: JustJoe3 | February 7, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Look out for that olive branch it is going to have thorns on it.He still dose not care about business in the U.S if he really did he would have appointed some one other than the head of GE to run things.Just try to by a green light bulb made by GE that is made in the U.S.A.enough said

Posted by: freedon | February 7, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Why should they trust Obama after what he has said and done?
The genie is out of the bottle and I do not think Obama's change will be believed.

Posted by: nychap44 | February 7, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The man had good reason to be anti-business, if you recall. You know, the whole "running the world economy into the ground" thing? When Clinton made compromises on business, he did a lot to set the stage for what we saw in 2008.

It is appalling how much power private industry has over our governance. They're setting the rules, not the President -- it appears that the rules state "Every man is responsible for his own actions, assuming he ain't rich." The Supreme Court seems to agree with this rule.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

'the best place on Earth to do business'

I've been telling Democrats to do this for years but there's ONE big problem. You can't trust them, especially around election time.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This is a guy who referred to working for time in the private sector as " ... being in the enemy camp ..." in one of his "acclaimed" books. And he wonders why he's viewed with a wary eye by the private sector?????

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"It is appalling how much power private industry has over our governance."

Well they do foot the bills and the government does want it's money so they should have a say. The regulations Obama and Co. are trying to ram through any way they can are going to destroy American Business at all levels. But he is completely ignorant of how the world realy works as is evident about his wanting to destroy coal, stop oil and replace them with his solar/wind fantasy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

You say he is extending (another) olive branch but his hands are empty. He is campaigning and trying to repair his image.

Please tell us what he is offering?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 7, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What exactly does it mean to be "anti-business"? In the Chamber of Commerce parlance, it seems to mean any laws and rules to contain the excesses of runaway greed amount to "anti-business". Either businesses get to do whatever they want with impunity or we're all anti-business.

Did you know the Dems have made several tries at repealing US tax deductions for companies that move operations overseas, and the Chamber of Commerce and their Republic Party allies defeated repeal every time?

Did you know that the Chamber of Commerce supports government tax subsidies for corporations?

The Chamber of Commerce is anti-American.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

How about making the U.S. one of the greatest places to work?

We are making the U.S. the greatest place to exploit.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The Chamber of Commerce is NOT what it's cracked up to be....when we owned a business in a same county of 21,000 we really couldn't afford to join but when someone came to town and asked for us the Chamber people called and told us that IF we were a member they'd tell these people how to find us but because we weren't they had no choice but to send them down the road without advising them where to find us. The poor people had to go to another business to find us...AND we owned a funeral home and the visitors were trying to get to a funeral. NOW that tells you what kind of people run these Chambers. NOT Good!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

where was Oblahblah, 2 years ago, when he felt the need to increase our debt by 3+ trillion???? make the market go up up up, and tax revenues go up up up.. remember reagonomics works

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

man are the posters here stupid!! they obviously never had the balls to start and build a company, instead they whine and take from the economy, and thats what is so anti american.. handouts is not the american way

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

He looks hung over. Have a smoke Barry.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Is that the same branch he has been beating them over the head with to go Green? And then GE exports the jobs created by going Green?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

As if subsidizing agribusiness giants (who pull small farmers' land out from under them), the oil industry, and Wall Street isn't enough for the John Birch Society Lunatics who are now the Republican Party, along with US Chamber of Commerce - the same US Chamber of Commerce that has advanced the interest of American businesses overseas.

I swear, you teanuts are so maleable and accommodating to their way of doing "business", you are like a herd of cattle.

Posted by: jKO2010 | February 7, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

ROFLMAO This is the same business community that collapsed the economy, outsourced all our jobs, and pulled Obama's nose during health care reform.

What does Obama love more his country or his title? Bush loved the title and Obama is a close second to that.

Posted by: Maddogg | February 7, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Sure, put your trust into business. Please no regulation because our business will self-regulated, and they only do what is best for American tax payers. Like asking tax payers bail them out when they fail. I like run that kind of business model. It represents a win-win situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

..and guess what happens to a herd of cattle once their owners are done.

Posted by: jKO2010 | February 7, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The Chamber of Commerce is Anti-American.

Posted by: Maddogg | February 7, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love how Republicans refer to programs that assist the middle-class as "entitlements" while they spend tens of billions more on corporate welfare - especially for the US Chamber of Commerce, a private club that gave itself a name to fool people into thinking they are a government entity; if they wanted to behonest about themselves, they would have named their club "US Commerce out of America" since the US Chamber of Commerce has not only paid their Republican representatives to legislate for more corporate welfare, but to provide monetary incentives for taking their manufacturing businesses overseas.

Like the Republicans, the "US" Chamber of Commerce, will do anything for a buck.

Don't you just love it?

Posted by: jKO2010 | February 7, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Chamber of Commerce that supports:

- open borders to illegal aliens
- outsourcing production and jobs to foreign countries (under the rubric of "free trade")
- Big government "investment" projects
- TARP and other bailouts of large corporations

Gee, sounds like the Chamber of Commerce is pretty much in Obama's (and Bush's) camp on economic policy.

Posted by: dminnich312 | February 7, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"As of mid-2010, the chamber had been spending nearly $3 million a week in opposition to things such as student-loan legislation, credit-card reforms and a landmark measure that expands workers' rights to sue for equal pay."

Right? Haven't these poor businesses been through enough? They've had to rape the American public for the last 2 decades, yet what do they have to show for it besides a bunch of worthless record-breaking profits? Shame on Obama for not simply selling CoC the Federal government! Does he not appreciate how expensive lobbyists are today? And that cost gets passed down to the consumer.

Obama: This is America. Start financially raping us so that corporations won't have to. Can you believe I actually got 30% MORE on my tax return this year?? The shame!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, after 2 years of anti-business rhetoric and destructive policies, Obama realizes that he needs businesses to thrive in order to pay for his socialist utopia...interesting.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 7, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Some community organizers with experience in nothing are slow to learn.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I really don't think that obama's olive branch offer will be accepted. If it is they are totally stupid not to realize it is just another political charade. Election year is approaching and he will lie, and do whatever he feels it takes ( dishonest or otherwise)to get the vote then he will turn back to his old practices.
Don't be fooled a second time by the shyster.

Posted by: vageorge | February 7, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama is neither pro or anti big business, unless you want to call his elitist,statist views anti big business. He is just working on the 2014 election.

Posted by: g30rg3544 | February 7, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"President Obama extended another olive branch to the business community Monday morning"

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! That is the funniest thing I have heard in a while!! This president has tried to mandate businesses to buy health insurance for their workers, refused to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, increased regulation and on and on and on. I am sorry but I must have missed something, where are the olive branches? A speach? Stop insulting our intelligence!!

Posted by: CTLangis | February 7, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Oboob also said that "..employers have a moral obligation to hire people.." I am still ROFLMAO. MORAL obligation? What is he smoking? It's very obvious he's never run so much as a lemonade stand, much less anything else. The only moral obligation I have is to stay in business and even then, it extends only to the people I currently agree to support. Does he accept a MORAL OBLIGATION to keep me in business? Hardly, or he would have fired half his employees years ago. What a joke the guy is..

Posted by: flintston | February 7, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What Obama knows about business you could put in a thimball and hold a barn dance around it. He is not anti-business...he stuck on stupid ABOUT business.

Posted by: jbeeler | February 7, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, very decidedly anti-business. He supports the very regulation, restrictions, protections on current established firms, and rent-seeking behaviors that are the main source of the current malaise.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Improve the economy: repeal obamacare, end Congressional retirement plans , 6 year term limits, Impeach Obama and open all the corrupt hidden intel on all of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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