Tag Archives: barack obama

What I – Single Mom, SMB owner, American Entrepreneur – liked about Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech

Let’s start with the obvious – The First Lady looked amazing, as always. She was elegantly dressed (in Tracy Reese) without being dowdy. She’s in fantastic shape, with toned arms portraying an image of health and wellness (which this country could use more of), and she’s got prominent features that the camera loves. But beyond just an image, Mrs. Obama delivered a charming and likeable personality to match.

Photo via TresSugar

When I listened to Ann Romney speak at the RNC, I liked her – until she tried to relate her “struggles” during college (um, who doesn’t struggle and eat tuna and pasta in college?!) to America’s middle class. I wasn’t buying it. Her and Mitt used an ironing board as their dining room table. In college, I didn’t have a “dining room” table. I found it all a bit of a desperate stretch that was, quite frankly, insulting.

In contrast, Michelle Obama talked about the burden of school loans – not just for her and her brother, but for her parents. Now that’s something I can relate to. My family had to do the same thing – I took out loans and so did my folks, and we both spent years paying them off. I remember selling CDs and clothes just so I could buy text books. And Mrs. Obama delivered her tales without being condescending. It’s not an easy balance in politics. She made it believable that Obama built his own American Dream through more hard work than privilege.

I also found her approach to balancing her husband’s “promotion” with her daughter’s needs refreshing and honest. Again, not an easy accomplishment – it would be quite easy to seem faux about any hesitancy of your husband’s endeavor to become the leader of the free world. But she sold it. I believed that she had concerns regarding how it would affect her daughters – and so far, it seems, the Obama’s have done a good job keeping their children grounded during this time of their lives.

I appreciated that the First Lady wasn’t all about repeating one singular mantra such as “women, women, women,” but rather balanced her belief in family, her marriage, hard work and strong relationships built on love, not power. She resonated with me as a woman, a Mom, a (former) wife, and even an entrepreneur (work hard and you can get what you want in this country). She did a fantastic job just coming off... real. And in a world full of phonies, I for one appreciated that. No, I don’t think this fantastic speech means she should run for office (really, CNN?), but I do believe she hit a Grand Slam in connecting with the American audience and warming up the stage for her husband.

Some of my Tweets from last night further convey some of her best soundbites, below. What did you think of our First Lady?

Smart, well-spoken, lovely, healthy, believable, hard working. “Mom in Chief” gave me chills even if @CNN said not a “home run”#dnc2012 #fb

“There’s always something out there better IF YOU’RE WILLING TO WORK FOR IT.” – @michelleobama#dnc2012

Like @barackobama, keep “getting up and going with courage and grace.” Well said & good #inspiration from @michelleobama.

“Success not how much $$ you make but difference you make in people’s lives” A lesson #divorce #family courts should recognize.#dnc2012 #fb

“The right thing to do,” @michelleobama, doesn’t always pay off… Insurance shouldn’t have the power. #dnc2012 #healthcare #fb

“Something to be said for taking care of others, not just yourself.” FYI, #entrepreneurs & #smb owners know this one all too well.#dnc2012

Like @michelleobama, something to be said for relationships built before you “had it all” – focused on love, not possessions.#DNC2012 #fb

“Let’s Move” @michelleobama #dnc2012. Love the clip with her and@TheEllenShow#power #woman #health #inspiration #fb

CEOs give their take on @BarackObama’s #SOTU address – hearing more support for business, but execution Qs remain

“I heard a lot more about creating the right environment for business,” – yes, but when will we see the how – the execution – the reality?
I don’t think Americans suffer from a lack of competitiveness, but rather a support system of the best resources to execute on such a nature. We need real solutions, solid plans and workable timelines. Is there a follow up speech that can lay out all those for us? A follow up to the heart string-pulling struggle and success stories of the audience plants? A site that shows us the progress on plans for making each emotional, “go get ’em,” “let’s win the future” ideal idea that we can follow? (And not one that takes your name then promptly asks for a donation: http://bit.ly/geDboi)

Now *that* would be revolutionary and innovative.

What did you think? What would you have liked to hear more about from Obama?

Amplify’d from www.wallstreetjournal.com

CEOs React to State of the Union

President Barack Obama made some concessions to the business community in his State of the Union address Tuesday, saying he’d like to lower the corporate tax rate and foster U.S. job growth and innovation. Many CEOs reacted with skepticism as to the President’s ability to deliver on these areas, but noted positively the President’s changed tone in addressing the business community.

Obama Addresses the Nation

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

President Obama was applauded by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner prior to delivering his State of the Union address.

The Obama administration has been criticized by many U.S. chief executives for being anti-business. Business leaders have complained about the 35% corporate tax rate, the administration’s free trade stance and healthcare reform, all of which, they allege, make U.S. companies less globally competitive. Business leaders have also been unhappy with rhetoric coming from the White House following the financial crisis, when the president referred to “fat-cat bankers” and chided bankers for their “reckless practices.”

Since the November elections in which Democrats lost the House majority, Mr. Obama has made attempts to appeal to the political center. Last week, he appointed General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt to lead a new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. During his address, Mr. Obama said the corporate tax rate “makes no sense and it has to change,” calling on both parties to lower the rate. He also said he’d work to eliminate “unnecessary burden[s] on business.”

While CEOs welcomed the idea of lowering the corporate tax rate, many were unclear on how Mr. Obama would do so given the sparse details. “He said it would pretty much have to be budget neutral and I don’t know how they can reconcile that,” says Alan Miller, CEO of Universal Health Systems, a hospital management company. Mr. Miller says he’d be more encouraged had the president specified a new, lower rate. “A lot of things he says don’t ever come to pass,” he says.

“I thought it was a wonderful idea but there’s no free lunch,” says John Chen, CEO of Sybase Inc., a Dublin, Calif.-based software developer bought by SAP in July. Mr. Chen says the measure will depend on what Mr. Obama meant when referring to “corporate tax loopholes.” Anthony Guzzi, CEO of Emcor Group Inc., a construction and facilities service provider, also says he’d like to see Mr. Obama provide more details on lowering the corporate tax rate. “He gave a sound bite but should have been more specific,” he says. “For two and a half years now, capital has been afraid to invest in the U.S. in any substantial way,” he says.

CEOs did note a change in tone during Tuesday’s address, after years of Mr. Obama being criticized for being anti-business. “I heard a lot more about creating the right environment for business,” says Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA. “I think he got the message that business is where jobs will be created, not the government.” Mr. Guzzi said Mr. Obama was “more moderate” in his address.

“I think the tone of his speech was excellent,” says Brent Saunders, CEO of Bausch and Lomb Inc. But, he adds, “we’ve seen so much fighting in Washington I am skeptical of Washington’s ability to execute.”

Marc Benioff, chief executive of San Francisco business-software company Salesforce.com Inc., says he was encouraged by Mr. Obama’s call for increased government spending on basic research.

“The number one thing the government needs to do is increase its research funding …This is where the government adds tremendous value,” Mr. Benioff says, adding that his company is based on technology—the Internet—that was spurred by research commissioned by the U.S. government in the 1960s. Greater spending on research “is critical for us in every area, in cyber-security, in computational sciences, even in health information technologies,” he says.

Greg Babe, CEO of Bayer North America, was encouraged by President Obama’s mentions of innovation. Bayer’s North American operations spent $700 million on research and development in 2010, and Mr. Babe says the yearly uncertainty on whether R&D tax credits will be renewed is a stress to the company. Mr. Obama didn’t specifically mention these credits.

Mr. Babe says he would have liked President Obama to speak more on free trade. “A lot of other free trade agreements are in the queue waiting for [Korea] to move,” he says. Mr. Babe says the lack of agreements negatively affects the company’s business globally.

Bausch & Lomb’s Mr. Saunders said President Obama’s focus on innovation resonated with him, as well. The contact lens and solutions maker has been working to innovate products for customers in Brazil, India and China, but Mr. Saunders says the industry is highly regulated. Mr. Saunders says he’d like to see the government “support and nurture” innovation. “Now, we’re somewhere in between letting companies fed for themselves and creating barriers for free trade,” he says.

The president did not mention free trade or suggest he would give corporations a tax holiday on earnings outside the U.S., two major issues for business leaders over the last two years. Mr. Obama has been criticized for not enacting free trade agreements during his term, limiting the amount of business U.S. corporations can do with other countries.

Mr. Chen said he would have liked to see the U.S.’s export policy brought up during the address. He says because of “outdated” restrictions to exporting certain technology, Sybase’s ability to sell into China has been restricted. Mr. Obama mentioned improving business conditions in the U.S. and increasing competitiveness by eliminating unnecessary burdens. Mr. Spiegel says a burden Siemens faces is regulatory red tape that delays projects. For example, he says the company was just recently awarded a contract for an offshore wind project that has been in the works for years. “A lot of the regulations in the U.S. are very burdensome,” he says.

In a press release, Business Roundtable, a trade group of corporate CEOs, said it was “heartened by President Obama’s focus on American competitiveness.” But, it said the priorities laid out in the address “must now be analyzed closely to ensure they will promote, rather than stifle, an environment where the private sector can create jobs and expand the economy.”

—Cari Tuna contributed to this article

Read more at www.wallstreetjournal.com