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Obama collaborates with Facebook’s Zuckerberg

by Gina Christo, News Editor

Last week President Barack Obama visited the offices of the social networking website Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and Obama held a town hall-style meeting with the staff of Facebook. Starting with an anecdote, Obama launched into a brief retelling of a dinner party he attended in February with the 26-year-old Zuckerberg and about a dozen other tech-industry elites. There, Zuckerberg sat to the president’s immediate right. Obama said, “I’m the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie. Halfway through dinner, he’s starting to sweat a bit. It’s really uncomfortable for him. I helped him out of his jacket.”

After the pair of Harvard alumni chummed around, the town hall meeting took a more serious turn. The underlying theme of the conversation was information technology, however, Obama did slip in his platforms on federal deficit, education, healthcare and immigration into each of his answers. Obama tied in his 2008 campaign rhetoric with his commitment to supporting America’s progression through online sites like Facebook. “Historically, part of what makes for a healthy democracy, what is good politics, is when you have citizens who are informed, who are engaged. And what Facebook allows us to do is make sure this isn’t just a one-way conversation,” Obama told CNN.† Not only did Obama get to reestablish his campaign, but this town meeting gave Facebook the opportunity to validate itself in the eyes of Washington D.C. which has been the most recent motive of Facebook.

Zuckerberg is not the only technology guru Obama paid a visit to last week. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs, the Apple founder, were among a dozen business leaders who met with him in the Silicon Valley.

Also attending were leaders Twitter, Yahoo!, NetFlix and Oracle, and the president of Stanford University. Obama met with those leaders in an effort to reach out to the business community because unemployment remains at nine percent and Obama needs corporate America to hire.

The meeting with Zuckerberg† has given citizens insight into Obama’s goals and reelection campaign. He wants to spend billions on clean energy, education and high-speed Internet. The president argued that targeted spending, including education initiatives aimed at producing a more sophisticated workforce, will make America’s future work force more viable and competitive. The support of Silicon Valley’s leading innovators and job creators could make the implementation of this spending easier.

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