A War in Name Only: Chamber CEO Met 10 Times With White House

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Remember the war between the White House and the US Chamber of Commerce? Well, nevermind. Despite the Chamber’s protests that the President was trying to “neuter and marginalize us,” White House records released today show that Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue met with administration officials 10 times during Obama’s first nine months in office, including twice with the President himself.

Stories in the Washington Post and Politico have painted a much different picture: “Instead of working through the Chamber,” the Post reported last month, “President Obama has reached out to business executives, meeting repeatedly with small groups of CEOs in his private White House dining room.” A few weeks later, an address by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to the Chamber’s board of directors was described by Politico as “fence mending” and extending an “olive branch.”

But was it? The White House visitor logs suggest that a true war between the White House and the Chamber never really happened. They’re less enemies than frienemies–reluctant and mutually-suspicious collaborators.


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