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President Obama Meets With Silicon Valley Leaders

At a private dinner meeting with Silicon Valley technology leaders, Obama discussed job growth, innovation and education in science, technology, engineering and math.

President Obama’s arrival in Silicon Valley Thursday evening marked more than his fourth visit to the region since his 2008 election; it demonstrated his commitment to work with companies such as Cupertino’s  to develop new jobs and innovative technology and increase exports.

At the private Woodside residence of venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Obama met over dinner with Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO of Apple—who is on medical leave—and 11 other leaders of the region’s technology companies.

After Apple takes over Hewlett-Packard’s Cupertino campus and builds a new campus, the company is expected to bring upward of 3,000 new jobs to the city.

“In the president’s State of the Union address, he called on us to win the future by out-innovating and out-educating the rest of the world and increasing American competitiveness,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, in a statement. "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.”

Air Force One arrived at San Francisco Airport at 5:40 p.m. Thursday, where Obama was greeted by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. After a brief greeting with a couple-dozen invited guests, Obama left in Marine One, headed for Cañada College.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Obama was taken to the home of Doerr and his wife, Ann, for a private dinner meeting with Jobs and other tech leaders. The White House press corps waited in the Doerr’s garage, according to an e-mail message from Sam Youngman of The Hill, who was among the press pool.

The tech-star line-up included Jobs; Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook; John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems; Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle; Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix; Carol Bartz, CEO and president of Yahoo; Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter; Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google; former California State Controller Steve Westly; and Stanford University President John Hennessy.

At the meeting, Obama “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,” Carney added in his statement.           

Included were discussions around investments in education, specifically encouraging people to study and enter the science, technology, engineering and math fields, and the new White House initiative, Startup America, which is 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,” Carney said

Most of the guests belong to TechNet, an advocacy group founded by Doerr, Chambers and Jim Barksdale in 1997.

According to the TechNet website, the group is committed to "advancing public policies and private sector initiatives that make the U.S. the most innovative country in the world," a goal that was also noted by the president in his recent State of the Union address.

“I was honored to be part of the discussion with President Obama and Silicon Valley business leaders," Chambers said. "Government and private industry must work hand-in-hand to spur innovation, strengthen our economy and get Americans back to work.

"Our ongoing dialogue with the Administration gives us confidence that we can boost innovation and investment in America," he said.

Continuing his tech-visit route, Obama left San Francisco International Airport at 8:46 a.m. Friday, headed next to an Intel Corp. plant in Hillsboro, OR, to learn about the company's STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, education programs.

—Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Ann Krueger Spivack February 26, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Dear Mr. Windisch, Things aren't running smoothly in this country, we agree on that. We are all in the same (leaky) boat even if we are in different political parties. And I really would love to know who you would like to see run. Who would be the best president right now, all politics and fundraising ability aside? All best wishes to you. Ann
Norm February 27, 2011 at 01:10 AM
I am a Democrat and I like Obama, but things aren't that rosy.
Robert February 28, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Hi Ann - I would like to see Hillary primary with Obama on the Democratic side. It will not happen but it would be interesting. In my opinion, she has a lot to offer in experience with more time dealing with Congress and International affairs. It would be good to have a choice but it will not happen. Obama will win in 2012 unless there is massive national change in local voter registration reform. Continue
Robert February 28, 2011 at 04:58 AM
The Republican side is still run by the Washington elites and they will stay with the same old tired platform and candidates. McCain is out, but Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani will more than like be in the mix and be supported by the Republican establishment. Ron Paul will be in the mix and will have a stronger than normal following but not from the Republican establishment. Frankly I would not support any Republican for president because none that I know about are qualified or experience enough. Palin and other real conservative candidates will not run in 2012 for President and that is a good thing. Conservatives are in the process of taking over the Republican Party from the local level. Conservatives have just begun and last year was a very good year for them with over 600 conservative being elective to state office. As far as conservatives are concerned, Obama is a gift from God that will continue to give to the conservative racks as long as he is in office. Conservatives will use the Obama gifts to change State legislatures and governors. The states that do not change will be driven to their knees by bankruptcy (cont)
Robert February 28, 2011 at 04:59 AM
In 2012 the Republicans will control the Senate and the Conservatives will take control of the House and that will effectively shut down the Obama legislative agenda. Of course he will continue to rule by executive order until he leaves office but funds will be limited, investigations will keep his administration tied up and growing state governments’ resistance to his rule will grow until Federal authority will be ignored. Having said all the above – I support Obama but will not vote for him. He is the real Hope of the conservative movement that will bring real Change to the country – just not in the way he believes. Cheers - Robert

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