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.