Steve Jobs and Barack Obama: The Angry Years

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 25 2011 1:06 PM

Steve Jobs and Barack Obama: The Angry Years

130199153
CORAL GABLES, FL - OCTOBER 24: A copy of the newly released biography of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs is displayed at the Books & Books store on October 24, 2011 in Coral Gables, Florida. The book written by Walter Isaacson was slated to be released next year by publisher Simon & Schuster but was pushed up after Jobs died on October 5. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs had a few details leaked early, including the basics about a meeting in 2010 with President Obama. Everybody now knows the hook: Jobs told Obama he was "headed for a one-term presidency" unless he changed course.

I've finally got a copy of the book, and the Obama part -- colored by the fact that Jobs was ill, and not up for big travel and meetings -- really doesn't reflect well on the White House.

Jobs offered to put together a group of six or seven CEOs who could really explain the innovation challenges facing America, and the president accepted. So Jobs made a list of people for a Washington meeting to be held in December. Unfortunately, after Valerie Jarrett and other presidential aides had added names, the list had expanded to more than twenty, with GE's Jeffrey Immelt in the lead. Jobs sent Jarrett an email saying it was a bloated list and he had no intention of coming.
Advertisement

In the meeting, everyone got annoyed with Cisco's John Chambers for doing, well, basically what Republicans want businesses to do, and saying what would be good for the bottom line. In his case, tax repatriation. "Why is he just talking about what's good for him?" grouses Mark Zuckerberg. Jobs tried to focus on a positive policy idea, and let "any foreign student who earned an engineering degree" stay in the USA on a visa. Obama pointed out that Republicans had blocked the DREAM Act. "The president is very smart," Jobs tells Isaacson, "but he kept explaining to us reasons why things can't get done. It infuriates me."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.