White House Hits Back Against Business Critics

By Evan Harris

Jul 11, 2010 9:52am

Senior White House advisor David Axelrod fired back at critics who say President Obama has been hostile to business.  Axelrod insisted on ABC News’ This Week that White House policies have turned around the economy and allowed businesses to increase profitability.

“There’s no doubt that there was a kind of ‘Katie, bar the doors’ philosophy in Washington during the eight years previous to us. And what it led to was a financial disaster and all these companies were in very difficult straits. In fact, their profits are up 65% since that time, over the last two years,” Axelrod said.

Host Jake Tapper asked Axelrod about a recent sentiment expressed by two important figures in the business community: the White House and American business don’t get along very well.

In remarks last month, Verizon CEO and Chairman of the Business Roundtable Ivan Seidenberg said that “[b]y reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.”

And this month, the Financial Times reported that GE CEO Jeff Immelt said the government’s over-regulation was hurting economic recovery and that “business did not like the US president, and the president did not like business.”

Tapper asked if it was a failure of the Obama administration that such a sentiment existed in the business community.

“Let’s just review history here,” Axelrod replied. “When we took office…”

Tapper tried to interrupt.

“No, no, no. This is important!” Axelrod insisted.

“Don’t go back, don’t go back that far,” Tapper said.

“This is important Jake,” Axelrod said. “Our financial system is now stable instead of collapsing.”

“And we’re working closely with business…but working closely doesn’t mean that we simply turn away from the kinds of corrective measures that are necessary to prevent that kind of disaster from happening again,” he told Tapper.


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