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President Obama Visits Silicon Valley To Discuss Job Plans

September 26, 2011

Picture of a Jobs BillPresident Obama was in Silicon Valley on Monday touting his new jobs bill at a town hall meeting hosted by LinkedIn, according to The New York Times.

Obama appeared at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., for a forum called "Putting America Back to Work," according to the San Jose Mercury News. Employees and users of LinkedIn, the professional networking website, were among those present to ask questions regarding unemployment in the U.S.

"This is an opportunity for the President to continue what has been a focused effort to explain and discuss with the American people the American Jobs Act he has put forward," Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council, was quoted as saying in the San Jose Mercury News.

According to a live blog of the event covered by Scott Budman on the NBC Bay Area News, Obama used the town hall meeting to convince Internet users and job seekers that he can create jobs.

"It will be interesting to see how this goes over here in Silicon Valley, the one place actually hiring these days," Budman wrote in his blog.

Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, is home to many of the world's large technology companies such as eBay, Google and LinkedIn. The president has visited the area before--the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he was there in February 2011 and dined with the president and CEO of Yahoo as well as the CEOs of Netflix, Oracle and Twitter, among others.

"We've written before about how crucial Silicon Valley is to President Obama," Budman wrote on the NBC Bay Area News blog. "As Bill Clinton courted Hollywood and as George W. Bush courted the military, so does Barack Obama come back to his main base -- wealthy technology executives in Silicon Valley."

"This time around, the focus will again be on jobs--and, again look for Washington to ask the question, 'How does the Valley do it?' " he said.

The decision to host the town-hall meeting with LinkedIn, an online professional networking company was a "no-brainer," according to White House Director of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips, who is quoted in the San Jose Mercury News.

Silicon Valley is not without its problems, however. While it is one place that is hiring new employees, it is also experiencing layoffs at companies such as Cisco Systems and HP, the New York Times reported. Still, other companies in the area have added jobs within the last year, according to the paper. Google, for example, is reported to have added more than 2,400 in the three months before June and the company plans to keep hiring, as does Twitter.

Some say that Silicon Valley operates in its own world, where the problem is not so much being able to hire employees as being able to find the qualified staff, the New York Times reported. High wages and perks are often used in Silicon Valley to attract the best in the battle for talent.

The LinkedIn appearance was not the president's only stop in the area. He also attended a fundraising dinner Sunday, Sept. 25, at the home of Sheryl Sandberg, the CFO of Facebook, and her husband David Goldberg, according to The Wall Street Journal. Plates were reportedly $35,800 for the 70 people in attendance, one of which was said to be singer Lady Gaga.


Compiled by Maggie O'Neill

Sources:

"Lady Gaga Stands Tall at Obama Fund-Raiser in Silicon Valley," wsj.com, September 26, 2011, Carol Lee

"Obama Brings Job Plans to Silicon Valley," mercurynews.com, September 26, 2011, Patrick May

"Obama Dines with Tech Stars of Silicon Valley," sfgate.com, February 18, 2011, Carla Marinucci

"Obama Talks About Jobs Admidst Silicon Valley Talent Wars," bits.blogs.nytimes.com, September 26, 2011, Claire Cain Miller

"Obama Speaks to LinkedIn," nbcbayarea.com, September 26, 2011, Scott Budman

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