Bill Clinton and now big business — all in a week’s work for President Obama in his ambitious push to improve relations with parties with whom he’d at least appeared to be at odds since he took office.

On Wednesday, the president met for a lengthy huddle with a big group of executives from various market sectors to hold out a gilded olive branch and discuss the still-dismal state of the economy and how to improve the job market. –KA

The Washington Post:

In a session with 20 chief executives, including the heads of Google, General Electric and American Express, Obama — whose sharp rhetoric about pay on Wall Street has annoyed some executives — declared, “I want to dispel any notion we want to inhibit your success,” according to a source in the room.

Obama’s tone in the closed-door session, which covered trade, jobs and education, was similar to that of a meeting two weeks ago with congressional Republicans, during which the president promised to work closely with his political adversaries after Democrats were badly defeated in the November elections. Like the GOP, much of corporate America strongly opposed the financial-regulatory and health-care bills that dominated Obama’s first two years, and businesses groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars supporting Republican congressional candidates.

“I feel very confident we made some good progress,” Obama said in brief remarks after the meeting, which was held at Blair House, across the street from the White House.

Jim McNerney, president and chief executive of Boeing, said after the meeting, “We have a chance for a new beginning.”

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