How to make friends and influence people

November 3, 2010

White House correspondent Caren Bohan’s special report out today examines President Barack Obama’s testy relationship with the business community.

OBAMA/After Tuesday’s election, Obama was faced with the prospect of legislative gridlock. Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate as voters vented frustration over the economy.

Now that the election is over, one idea that could gain traction is a payroll tax holiday to give consumers and businesses some extra cash. Obama had considered proposing it before the election but rejected it because of its cost. There is some openness at the White House to it now but much would depend on whether it seemed likely to gain bipartisan support.

Obama aides say they were frustrated that the economic package the administration offered in September — including tax breaks for companies and beefed-up infrastructure spending — received little to no backing from Republicans in Congress. They hope to enlist business support in reviving these ideas.

The question is whether the divided congress can achieve anything. Tell us what you think. Could they at least agree on a payroll tax holiday?

For a multimedia PDF version of the special report, “White House to business: why can’t we be friends?” click here.

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