As part of his sales campaign for the economic stimulus plan, President Obama will meet Wednesday morning with corporate chief executive officers.
Take notes, no questions needed
After their chat, Obama will deliver remarks on the bill in the East Room but will not take reporters’ questions, according to press secretary Robert Gibbs.
While the president has not sat down with American reporters since moving into the White House, he gave his first TV interview to Al-Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite news channel. Mr. Obama spoke as his envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, arrived in Egypt on the first stop of a trip that also will take him to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Gibbs said Obama's interview, which aired Tuesday, was an “opportunity to show the world he would be personally involved and engaged in seeking peace in the Middle East.”
The CEOs who visit Wednesday are likely to tell the president about hard times – and resulting layoffs – at their companies amid the economic downturn. The meeting with the titans of industry follows Obama’s trip Tuesday to Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans in the House and Senate to seek their support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Team Obama will take what it can get
At his afternoon briefing, Gibbs predicted, “we will have Republican support,” when the measure comes to a vote in the House on Wednesday. As to how broad that Republican support will be, Gibbs said, “we will take what we can get tomorrow.”
Although House Republican leaders held a meeting before Obama arrived on the Hill to tell members to vote against the stimulus plan as written, the president “is happy the tone that has been set is the right one,” Gibbs said. During the president's meetings with Republican House and Senate members, he quipped, “nobody yelled food fight.”