In topics that ranged from taxes, jobs and the deficit to American competitiveness and education, President Obama came across to CEOs as willing to listen and work with business.
“I though he summed it up very well,” said David Cote, president, CEO and chairman of Honeywell. “He said, ‘I’m a collaborative guy, help me do it.’ ”
Cote called Wednesday's meeting with the president "heartening."
Cote and other CEOs who spoke with CNBC Wednesday after they left the Blair House meeting said what set a positive tone from the get-go was the tax deal the President brokered last week with Republicans.
The Senate today approved the tax package, which now goes on to the House.
Listen to the entire interview with Honeywell's Cote by clicking here.
Obama hosted the meeting with 20 CEOs from across a swath of American companies to find solutions to hiring stagnation and to mend fences with business leaders who have viewed him and his administration as anti-business.
James McNerney, chairman, CEO and president of Boeing , said the discussion focused a good bit on hiring and spurring job growth in the US. The mood was of two “teammates”—the US and business—working together.
“We talked about specific places to invest, whether it’s India as it relates to jobs in the US, the aerospace industry as it relates to jobs in the US,” added McNerney.
Listen to the Boeing CEO interview.
“The more that this effort can become common and focused in the same direction, the more American corporations are going to feel comfortable invested against time horizons that have a little more certainly associated with them, a little more team work associated with them.”
Robert Wolf, chairman and CEO for UBS Group Americas, told CNBC that jobs and making sure Americans have the right skill sets made up a lot of the discussion.
In addition, exports and competition and collaboration with trading partners were a significant part of the discussion.
“The idea that we have to make sure that we have appropriate trade agreements with partners and that we have free markets so that we can take advantage of growing partners,” said Wolf, “and they can take advantage with our innovation.”