When asked about the business community’s relations with President Obama, US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said he appreciates “some of the things that the president has done to change his song.”
Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters, Mr. Donohue described efforts by the president to reach out to the business community as “accommodating himself to the most challenging job in the world.” The business community leader added, “I don’t think he has a made a philosophical shift in what he believes and who he is.”
Instead, “what we are having is a maturing of the president. It happens to all presidents,” Donohue said. “He is figuring out what he can do and he has got to get things in order because of the global demands on him and the global challenges.”
The Chamber is the best-funded business lobbying group in Washington and the world's largest not-for-profit business federation.
Donohue said he appreciated a personal visit Mr. Obama made to Chamber headquarters to give a speech in February. He also cited trade issues. Earlier this week, the Chamber hailed the Obama administration for reaching an agreement with Colombia on labor and judicial reforms that will aid in Congressional passage of a trade agreement with the Latin American nation.
Earlier, the Chamber spoke approvingly of two of Obama’s appointments: former business executive William Daley as White House Chief of Staff, and Washington veteran Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council.
Relations between the business community and the White House were strained in the early days of Obama’s presidency, given disputes over health care reform, financial regulatory reform, and speeches where the president referred to “fat cat bankers.”