Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Fruitcake diplomacy

If only he’d sent fruitcake…

USA/President Barack Obama is clearly trying to make nice with the business community and he promised the Chamber of Commerce a new friendly era after two years of coldness.

The White House and U.S. Chamber of Commerce can see each other across a park, but until recently acted like the other was on the wrong side of the tracks.

But it’s never too late to make-up in Washington, where yesterday’s enmities are often tomorrow’s alliances.

Obama handled it with humor. “It is good to be here today at the Chamber of Commerce. I’m here in the interest of being more neighborly.”

“I strolled over from across the street, and look, maybe if we had brought over a fruitcake when I first moved in, we would have gotten off to a better start. But I’m going to make up for it,” Obama said.

from Reuters Investigates:

How to make friends and influence people

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.