President Obama is sitting down to dinner tonight with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and other top technology executives to discuss what the rest of the American economy can learn from the tech industry.
The meeting comes at a time when the president is battling with Republicans over making investments in areas key to the technology industry, such as clean energy, broadband development and education.
Mr. Obama flew to San Francisco today and is attending dinner at an undisclosed private residence. The New York Times reports the president will dine with the business leaders at the Silicon Valley home of the venture capitalist John Doerr.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today that the president expects the sector to be a significant contributor to economic growth in the future and that it should serve as a model for the rest of the economy.
"It is a remarkable demonstration of the American capacity for creativity and innovation and leadership, and a model, really, for that kind of economic activity that we want to see in other cutting-edge industries in the United States where jobs can be created in America and kept in America," he said.
While he did not offer any specifics about the topics of discussion for the dinner, Carney suggested the president could talk to the tech leaders about research and development funding, as well as education.
"There's a lot of support among leaders of this industry for our education agenda," he said. "There's a great need in the technology industry for well-educated, appropriately educated Americans in science and technology, engineering and math."
On Friday, Mr. Obama will travel to Hillsboro, Oregon, where he will visit an Intel semiconductor manufacturing facility. The president will learn more about Intel's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs and Intel's efforts to better prepare people to compete for high-tech jobs, according to the White House.
The list of guests at tonight's dinner includes: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google; Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook; Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo; John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems; Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter; Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle; Reed Hastings, CEO of NetFlix; Art Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech; Steve Westly, managing partner and founder of The Westly Group; and John Hennessy, president of Stanford University.