Obama Touts Improved Climate For U.S. Businesses

In an interview with The Economist, President Obama said no matter how you look at it, the U.S. economy is better off than when he took office, and that most U.S. businesses have done well.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's hear about one area where President Obama's been trying to defend his record. Many corporate leaders complain that the president's been anti-business during his time in office. Not so, Obama said in an interview with The Economist Magazine. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Since coming to office, President Obama has faced complaints from corporate leaders that his policies have been bad for the economy and that he has imposed too many regulations. In an interview on Air Force One, the president responded by saying business people always complain about regulation. That's their job. But he said look at the facts. The stock market is at a record high and so are corporate profits.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Since I have come in to office, there is almost no economic metric by which you couldn't say that the U.S. economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better - none.

ZARROLI: In the interview, the president said he meets often with corporate CEOs - probably more than they care to admit, he said. And he said there's a huge gap between their professed values and visions and how they operate in Washington. Many CEOs claim to be socially responsible. But he said if your lobbyist is working harder on preserving tax breaks than on education and the environment, then you don't care as much as you say. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, took issue with the president's remarks. She told CNBC it's true that stocks are doing well under Obama. But she said that's mainly because interest rates are low and there aren't a lot of alternative places to invest. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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