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Prominent CEO & Member of Obama's So-Called 'Jobs Council' Backs Romney


Hey, remember that "jobs council" that hasn’t met in, oh, a long time? The one that was supposed to help the president keep a “laser like” focus on job creation?

Yeah, not only has the council not met in several months, but it also turns out that at least one of the business leaders chosen to act as an jobs advisor to President Obama has decided to back Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

A formidable list of Romney-supporting CEOs recently produced by the Romney campaign shows that jobs council member and Intel CEO Paul Otellini has joined ranks with Charles Schwab, Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers, and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, in supporting the GOP candidate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The WSJ reports:

Mr. Otellini’s relationship with the president has been hot-and-cold since Mr. Obama took office. In 2010, he criticized the administration for failing to generate more robust job growth. He was particularly critical of the stimulus. But the Intel CEO joined the president’s so-called jobs council to much fanfare the following year as Mr. Obama embarked on a very public – if short-lived – courtship of big business.

The president lauded Intel for investing in the U.S. during a trip last year to one of the chipmaker’s advanced manufacturing facilities in Oregon. During the visit, Mr. Otellini announced plans to build a $5 billion production facility in Arizona that would employ thousands of workers in the U.S. The Intel chief also made two high-profile trips to the White House, including a state dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao. But the jobs council has not held an official meeting since January – a fact Republicans like to highlight.

It’s no secret the Intel CEO believes job growth can be spurred by eliminating certain tax loopholes and lowering the corporate tax rate. And although the president has publicly praised the former, he has said very little about the latter. Perhaps this is why in 2010 Otellini complained to Charlie Rose that the Obama administration wasn’t taking advice from its own so-called jobs council.

What’s also notable about Otellini’s support for Romney is the fact that it’s a bit of a departure for a Silicon Valley CEO, a bastion of Democrat support. Of course, Otellini himself is notable in that he has had right-leaning tendencies for a while now.

“In 2008, he cut checks to Mr. Obama’s opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain. And last month, he gave $50,000 to the Romney Victory Fund and another $5,000 to the candidate, according to Federal Election Commission records,” the Journal reports.

Support from business leaders like Otellini helps the Romney campaign further the narrative that the GOP candidate understands the economy and can create jobs. Of course, as the WSJ notes, the list of pro-Romney CEOs also helps the campaign push back against the harsh criticism is has received from the CEOs of Chrysler and General Motors.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Front page photo source courtesy the AP.

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