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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 02/18/2011

At Obama's private meeting with high-tech execs, even Twitter couldn't tweet

By Cecilia Kang


Want to know what President Obama and Silicon Valley leaders dished about during a dinner Thursday night? Well you won't find much on Twitter, Facebook or the blogs of the CEOs' companies.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was uncharacteristically taciturn about the dinner. The reason was, er, technological. Around midnight, Costolo responded to a question by Twitter employee Jessica Verrilli, who asked about details of the meeting with a mere:

@jess sadly no. i was in a part of the bay area where the tweets cant get in or out!

Yes, the home of John Doerr, a partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Beyers, is in the Woodside section of the Bay Area. Though neighboring Menlo Park is the center of Silicon Valley's corporate life, the wooded area is notoriously lousy for cell phone service.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had nothing on his Facebook page. Steve Jobs of Apple hasn't said anything, either. And the companies have been quiet.

But that's to be expected. The White House said the meeting was private, closed to reporters.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a readout to pool reporters:

This evening, the President joined twelve leaders from technology companies to discuss ways to work together to invest in American innovation and promote private sector job growth...The President believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate. The President specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs. The group also discussed the importance of new investments in education and the new White House initiative Startup America, a partnership with the private sector aimed at supporting new startups and small businesses. The President expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States.

photo: Obama talks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, credit: White House

And here's the report from The Post's Perry Bacon:

Obama holds Silicon Valley summit with tech tycoons
By Perry Bacon Jr.

Updated 10:26 p.m.
WOODSIDE, Calif. -- President Obama traveled Thursday night to northern California for an evening meeting with a group of Silicon Valley chief executives, among them Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and Steve Jobs, the ailing head of Apple.

The closed-door session with 12 technology leaders was held at the home of John Doerr, a partner at the major Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Others in the room include Oracle founder and chief executive Larry Ellison, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.

Although some in the business world have had an often tense relationship with Obama, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president has been popular in Silicon Valley.

Obama attended a major fundraiser last October at the home of Google executive Marissa Mayer, and he met with Jobs on that same swing. Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, campaigned for Obama in 2008 and has served as an informal adviser on economic issues since then. And Doerr, a longtime Democratic donor, has served on the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board for the last two years.

White House officials said Thursday night's meeting was mainly to discuss Obama's innovation initiatives. He has promised to fund tax credits for research and development; to reform the bogged-down patent system; and to blanket the country with high-speed wireless-Internet connections.

Others attending the session were John Hennessy, the president of Stanford University; Carol Bartz, president and CEO, Yahoo!; John Chambers, CEO and chairman, Cisco Systems; Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO, Genentech; and Steve Westly, managing partner and founder, The Westly Group.

By Cecilia Kang  | February 18, 2011; 9:04 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Facebook, Google, Tech for Development, Twitter  
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Posted by: fxfemail | February 18, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"White House officials said Thursday night's meeting was mainly to discuss Obama's innovation initiatives. He has promised to fund tax credits for research and development; to reform the bogged-down patent system; and to blanket the country with high-speed wireless-Internet connections."

In other words, this was a fundraising campaign stop. He'd push for tax credits for these 12 and they help him get re-elected.

Is it me, or is this just plain wrong? Not to mention that this is what he and the other Demoncraps complain that the Republicans are doing.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | February 18, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

How nice that Obama has time to fly around the country meeting with people who make electronic toys while the Middle East explodes in violence which he has scarcely addressed in public. Isn't he supposed to be the Commander in Chief or something?

Posted by: swmuva | February 18, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Nothing came out of the meet???? No hoopla and fire works.Obama at the end of the road to create creative jobs.
The word is no more room to absorb any tech jobs.Manufacturing already shifted to China

Posted by: jayrkay | February 18, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

“Give us your fired, your under-funded start-ups, your huddled masses of innovative entrepreneurs yearning for access to capital. The wretched refuse of your economically broken shores. Send us the Twitters, the LinkedIn and Facebook tempest-tossed pioneers fighting to claim their piece of the American dream and let them stake a claim on the Startups Across America map, so we can all walk through the golden door.” -Ruth E. Hedges (with help from Emma Lazarus)

It's not about throwing more money into another program that matters, its understanding the selection process. It's about understanding and changing how most VC's, and Angel investors screen deals and why this process is killing innovation and preventing startup companies from accessing the capital they so desperately

need. We must streamline the process and create a more level playing field for entrepreneurs to get access to that capital and we must encourage more private capital to come from friends and family, and create a national campaign to encourage wealthy Americans to invest in their entrepreneurial neighbors and in their communities where these startups reside.

Posted by: Fundingroadmap | February 18, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or is Obama aligning up himself to be on one of the companies board member after his terms is up. Cus, there was no talk about job creation from the reports... just chatting it up! Hmmm.

Posted by: drewfaces | February 18, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Obama took a dump on their heads, and as soon as they can wipe the Obama thick chit out of their eyes, they will type.

Unless they are now free speech on quash, after meeting MOfo -Barack...the US clone of MU-barack.

Posted by: dottydo | February 18, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Obama took a dump on their heads, and as soon as they can wipe the Obama thick chit out of their eyes, they will type.

Unless they are now free speech on quash, after meeting MOfo -Barack...the US clone of MU-barack.

Posted by: dottydo | February 18, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Is Obama going to ask APPLE why they're not making their OVERPRICED products in THIS COUNTRY?
These are elitist, Liberal CEO's sending our jobs overseas., they must be making
a fortune for what they're charging.

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It's not surprising to see the fraud and non Hawai`ian born Mr. Obama with the unethical Schmidt and immature sleaze Zuckerberg. As a side note, where is Steve Ballmer of Microsoft?

Mr. Obama, an incompetent leader and person is the product of Affirmative Action, not merit. A person you would never let teach a child middle school level math or science, elementary school level US history, literature and writing skills. What essay has Mr. Obama ever released for public review? To date, Mr. Obama's writings severely limited in content to just children books.

The publishing of the feeble book taking priority as Mr. Obama failed to exercise leadership with the Gulf oil spill and the largest economic recession (depression) since the Great Depression. Literally exploiting the White House, turning it into a startup business for when he departs. Using the weight of the Presidency to push his own image, the only subject matter that is pertinent to the fraud Mr. Obama, denigrating the dignity of the White House to the never before seen level of street gutter, full of excrement.

Now Mr. Obama, as his ship sinks, cavorts with those that have the power to manipulate opinions, search engine results and power to control social content. For our country, a dangerous act of sucking up to people short on ethics with the keys to major internet applications, producing conflict of interest.

Ever person at that dinner, should they be willfully in support of the fraud and traitor Mr. Obama, aware of the overt public controversy surrounding Mr. Obama's birth claim, refusing to be enlightened, taking the ignorance is bliss path, are no less traitors to this country themselves.

Last, there is no statute of limitation for the act of treason against the USA. When Mr. Obama leaves office and the desires to hide Mr. Obama's lies regarding the false claim of having been born in Honolulu fades, and less vigorously protected, the truth will surface with charges of treason being filed keeping Guantanamo Bay in business. If that means charging 1000 people, so be it?

Posted by: parkmcgraw | February 18, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

betcha the exec's wanted more h1b visas for them to bring over more workers...
how is that helping Americans...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 18, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I worked for Cisco for five years and Chambers was always a class guy. When it comes to politics, through, he apparently reverts to being a typical RepuBPlican.

Posted by: areyousaying | February 18, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, H1B visas. Hiring Indians for less money while putting their American workers on Logan's Run for those over 40 to save money.

Posted by: areyousaying | February 18, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

If anyone thinks that Mr. Obama is enamored with the "captains of the tech industry" think again. He is enamored and beholden to the Labor Union Bosses and the likes of Bill Gates makes him puke. But, he has to "triangulate" to make him electable - nothing more and nothing less. I wonder if he will claim that he invented mobile computing and green technology?

Posted by: usnret742w4 | February 18, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of hi-tech executives getting together with Obama in a secretive meeting leaves open only two questions -- how many more H1-B and L-1 visas will be issued and how many more America's will loose their jobs because of it. Oh, and Wikileaks is now releasing notes hat Geithner helped China buy into a bunch of Wall Street firms AND he and Clinton helped India get more H1-B visas even though they full well knew it would cost more than 5 million US hi-tech workers their jobs. How's that "change" thing working out for you?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 18, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@ swmuva: So, because Middle Easterners decide that they want to totally obliterate one another AND their region, the POTUS should not tend to the business that concerns us here? That's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard. would you suggest that he say to hell w/ domestic interests, and go help overthrow foreign gov'ts as did '43'?! :-/

Posted by: delfranklin4 | February 18, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@parkmcgraw: You seem very bitter that there's not a Caucasian of British descent holding the office right now. If you want to talk about the dignity of the 'White House', how about starting where the chapter begins about using slave labor to build the very 'White House' of which you speak? Or, the fact that the so-called Forefathers and authors of the Constitution only thought enough of the very hands that built this country to only acknowledge them as being 3/5 of a human being? And, why is Mr. Zuckenberg an 'immature sleaze'?! Because he was young enough, intelligent enough, and innovative enough to capitalize on something as powerful as a meaningless social networking website? Yep. You smack of bitterness. Poor fella.....

Posted by: delfranklin4 | February 18, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what they talked because Intel announced today a $5 BILLION dollar factory to be built in Chandler AZ. So Obama can go chat it up with the boys but Intel's newest facility will be build in Arizona.

"CEO Paul Otellini made the announcement Friday at the company's plant in Hillsboro, Ore., after he gave a tour of the facility to President Barack Obama.

Otellini says the Chandler facility will create thousands of new jobs and will be the most advanced high-volume semi-conductor factory in the world."

California's woes are Arizona's success. When you have lower taxes and less regulations see how effectively you can woo businesses to locate new jobs in your state. Maybe the progressives in CA and WI can learn something new today.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 18, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes “ATrueChristian”,

It’s wrong. And cheap.

He can’t buy a vote from a homeless man.

Even a homeless man knows when someone is lying to him.

Posted by: heffleyjr | February 18, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: pbathavale1 | February 19, 2011 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Not much of any use comes from the Middle East . But they have one saying of which I'm particularly fond . That is : " The enemy of my Enemy is my Friend "

Posted by: puck-101 | February 19, 2011 6:14 AM | Report abuse

This guy is phenomenal. Take a trip to northern california nice diversion. Hit up on 12 billionaires for some campagin cash. Promise them that the People will pay for the wireless infratructure. go back home. Question Did those billionaires need the government to provide the incentive to go into business?
Was the motivation for these twelve stem from a desire just to hire people? Politcal power derives from delieveing favors, hiring cronies and spending the largess. A little different form the business world.

Posted by: Herbert1 | February 19, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope this was a productive meeting of the minds. These people created many products and jobs, and can teach the President what resources were valuable and how the government could have helped as they were starting and as they continue to grow.

Posted by: mc244 | February 19, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

My take on the timing and the grouping?

1. Obama is preparing for his next election run and he wanted to be certain he had the heads of the electronic media on his side. Google can help him with story placement on their search engine making Obama positive stories float to the top and making negative stories disappear. Zuckerberg can help him with Facebook integration on his campaign, and Steve Jobs can help him with the Apple crowd.

2. Obama is wanting to turn the electronic media into the propoganda arm of his government. I guess having MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN isn't enough. After all, it's not what he says it's how many times he tells us the same thing that matters.

3. Obama got an iPhone for Christmas and still doesn't know how to use it so he had all the players come in to explain the various functions. Steve Jobs, the opterating system. Zuckerberg, how to setup his Facebook page (without Queen Michelle knowing) and Google folks to help him with his browser and email account.

Seeing how Obama is handling the economy, it's probably number 3.

Posted by: SillyAmerican | February 19, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

How can we dupe more people than Madoff?

Posted by: jobandon | February 20, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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