Obama to Business: Time to Give Back
President makes nice in Chamber address, but urges them to hire
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2011 12:02 PM CST
President Barack Obama is introduced by U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue before speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama extended the olive branch to the US Chamber of Commerce today, pledging to work to expand trade opportunities and cut away burdensome regulations. But he also took a page out of JFK’s book, telling executives to “ask yourselves what you can do for America,” according to NPR. “Now is the time to invest in America. Today American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets. … I want to encourage you to get in the game” and start hiring American workers.

“For all the disagreements we may have sometimes on issues, I know you love this country,” he said, acknowledging his often fractious relationship with the Chamber. Indeed, Obama took heat for the speech from progressives even before he delivered it, USA Today reports. “The president is well aware that the Chamber is in actuality just a high priced lobbyist for a small number of corporations,” said one advocacy group.