Moving to repair a deep rift with leading CEOs, President Barack Obama plans to speak at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event next month and the two sides are trying to work out details, White House and Chamber officials said Saturday.
The talks mark a dramatic rapprochement between the Chamber, which spent tens of millions of dollars in the midterm election to defeat Democrats, and the president, who openly criticized the “world’s largest business federation” for accepting contributions from undisclosed donors.
White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said: “Economic recovery is the most important goal for the president and working with all of the stakeholders — including the Chamber of Commerce — on export promotion, free and fair trade to grow the economy and create jobs is an important part of achieving that goal.”
The overture is the White House’s clearest move to the center since the Nov. 2 elections, when independents sides decisively with Republicans. Democratic officials said the White House is looking for a variety of ways to lower the temperature with CEOs, some of whom have complained about Obama’s agenda and the White House’s treatment of business.