Obama Meets With Buffett to Discuss Economy, Jobs

By Kate Andersen Brower
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Wednesday, July 14, 2010; 3:35 PM

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama met today with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Warren Buffett to discuss the economy, and he will confer separately with business leaders including Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan and Honeywell International Inc. Chairman David Cote, a White House official said.

Obama and Buffett discussed how to work with the private sector to stimulate growth and create jobs, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. Buffett, 79, was an adviser to Obama's presidential campaign.

The two men "spoke about the economy in a fairly lengthy meeting," Gibbs said. "He wanted to come in and see the president and we don't turn down the opportunity to talk to Warren Buffett." Obama also gave Buffett one of his ties because Buffett's was frayed, another White House aide said.

In the later meeting, Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton, will discuss how to create jobs in the private sector and invest in clean energy, Gibbs said.

Obama has been trying to bolster relations with corporate leaders, recruiting executives for presidential committees and inviting business leaders to lunch at the White House as some business organizations have battled the administration on issues such as financial regulation and the overhaul of the health-care system.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest lobbying group for U.S. business, is holding a summit on job creation today and urging the president to curb regulations and continue the Bush administration's tax cuts to avert a double-dip recession.

Chamber President Tom Donohue said the uncertainty of pending regulations on health care, the environment and financial services is weighing on businesses, dampening the economic outlook.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said today they were "surprised and disappointed" at rhetoric from some in the business community.

"It is clear that we are in a very different place than we were 18 months ago," Emanuel and Jarrett said in a letter to the Chamber. The two officials said the administration is working with Congress on efforts to cut taxes and increase credit for small businesses.

"We are all working toward the same goal of putting Americans back to work and getting our economy back on track," the letter said. "The stakes are far too high for us to be working against one another."

The afternoon White House meeting will also include Mark Gallogly, founder and managing partner of Centerbridge Partner LP; David Myers, a vice president and president of building efficiency, Johnson Controls Inc.; Jeffrey Eckel, chief executive of Hannon Armstrong, and David Anderson, executive vice president of business development, Ameresco Inc., a renewable energy company in Melville, New York.

© 2010 bloomberg.com