It's the patented Obama leadership style: if you've got a problem that needs solving, hold a forum.
Obama today announced that he'll hold a summit on job creation at the White House, as the economy has begun to grow again but unemployment, which typically lags behind economic indicators like GDP, is still on the rise.
"[I]n in December, we'll be holding a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth. We'll gather CEOs and small business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again," Obama announced today during brief remarks before departing for Alaska en route to his week-long Asian trip.
Sound familiar? It is.
A couple weeks after taking office, the Obama formed his President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which includes economic experts, former administration officials, plus business and labor leaders. In May, it held its first quarterly meeting--something that could, presumably, look like what will happen at the jobs summit in December, but probably with more administration officials, breakout sessions, and fanfare.
Also in February, Obama held a Fiscal Responsibility Summit, pulling in lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to hold working groups. He invited lawmakers to the White House to discuss the stimulus, too, and he did the same for health care reform in March for a summit that included major industry players, then had those industry and labor leaders back to the White House in May to announce a deal in which everyone backed his broader goals for reform and pledged to cut costs.
Bringing multiple sides, both within government and without, "to the table" has been a buzzword of the Obama presidency, but we haven't seen much of it since those early talks with the major health care players, and December's meeting will mark a return to something we saw a lot of in Obama's early days.