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Obama dines with Jobs, Zuckerberg, other tech honchos

At an evening affair in Silicon Valley, the president discusses jobs, education, and R&D with bigwigs including the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Cisco.

President Obama talks jobs and the economy with some of the nation's top tech leaders.
President Obama talks jobs and the economy with some of the nation's top tech leaders. Seated at the president's left is Apple CEO Steve Jobs; at his right, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The White House

In a dinner meeting last night, the president and 12 of the country's leading technology executives discussed such hot-button issues as jobs, education, and how to get the U.S. economy back on track.

Joining the meeting with Obama were CEOs including notably Apple's Steve Jobs, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle's Larry Ellison, Google' Eric Schmidt, Yahoo's Carol Bartz, Cisco Systems' John Chambers, Twitter's Dick Costolo, and NetFlix's Reed Hastings.

Other participants were well-known venture capitalist John Doerr, Stanford University president John Hennessy, former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, and Steve Westly, founder of the Westly Group.

President Obama chats with Mark Zuckerberg.
President Obama chats with Mark Zuckerberg. At left is Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, and the blurry figure in the foreground at right is Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The White House

Hosted in their Woodside, Calif., home by Doerr and his wife Ann, the dinner was private and not open to the press, but the White House has released some details of the conversation.

Focusing on the administration's objectives, the president discussed his ideas for investing in research and development, creating more incentives for companies to expand and hire workers, and the goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years as one way to support jobs.

The topic of education was also high on the list as the group chatted about the need for new investments in schools. With an emphasis on tech, the president and his dinner companions discussed ways to encourage people to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM. Obama also talked up his new Startup America initiative, designed to build partnerships between universities and the private sector to help kick-start new businesses.

The meeting was part of an ongoing series of conversations with the business sector on how to strengthen the economy, support entrepreneurship, increase U.S. exports, and get people back to work, according to the White House. Obama also expressed interest in ongoing discussions with the group as a way of sharing new ideas to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The president continues his focus on technology today as he takes a tour of an Intel plant in Oregon and meets with CEO Paul Otellini to discuss the company's efforts to invest in STEM to create more high-tech jobs. Obama also plans to appoint Otellini to a panel of experts set up to offer the administration advice on creating jobs.