President Barack Obama flew to California yesterday to hobnob with Silicon Valley bigwigs about job creation and education. The president - who was hosted by prominent VC capitalist John Doerr - had dinner with a star-studded tech lineup, including Carol Bartz (Yahoo) and Steve Jobs (Apple).
Other guests included Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Eric Schmidt (Google) and Larry Ellison (Oracle).
As Carla Marinucci of the SF Chroniclenotes, many of the above-mentioned guests have worked with Obama on "key issues" in the past, and almost all are high-profile members of TechNet, a Silicon Valley advocacy group founded more than a decade ago.
Critics, however, suggest that Obama was doing little more than "paving the way" for his 2012 re-election campaign.
To be sure, many of the invitees are also political donors, primarily to Democratic causes.
For example, at least 10 guests donated a total of more than $900,000 to Obama and candidates for Congress over the past decade.
But White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama and his guests had discussed ways to improve American innovation and increase private sector jobs.
"In the president's State of the Union address, he called on us to win the future by out-innovating and out-educating the rest of the world and increasing American competitiveness.
"The president believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate."
(Via San Francisco Chronicle)