Obama's Big-Business Blues

  • Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg / Getty Images

    Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, speaks at a summit on jobs in Washington, D.C.

    When Barack Obama took office, he tried to make nice with big business, naming his Chicago confidante, Valerie Jarrett, as a liaison to corporations and holding regular meetings with CEOs. His early agenda was also business – centric as he sought to rescue the economy.

    But other Obama priorities, like health care and Wall Street regulation, have roiled corporate leaders. The head of the Business Roundtable recently blasted Obama for "creat[ing] an increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation."

    Democrats are bracing for the wrath of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In early August, it launched new pro-GOP ad campaigns in Colorado and Pennsylvania and ran an Illinois spot ripping Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias and the Democrats' "record of failure." The chamber, under President Thomas J. Donohue, may spend $75 million this fall — more than double his group's 2008 outlay.

    Now Democrats grouse at such treatment after passing top priorities for the chamber, like the bank bailouts, the automakers' rescue and the economic stimulus — ones many Republicans opposed. But as they say, If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.