Barack Obama convened his first official summit before he was even elected president. In October 2008, then-candidate Obama gathered a gaggle of business and political heavyweights--Paul Volcker, Eric Schmidt, Jennifer Granholm, Bill Richardson, etc.--in a Florida community college gymnasium for what his campaign billed as the "Growing American Jobs Summit." "No cheerleading," Obama admonished the 1,700 people who packed into the sweltering gym expecting a campaign rally. "We've got serious work to be done." And then, for the next 90 minutes, Obama and the assembled worthies engaged in a wonky discussion that ranged from ideas for fixing the country's electrical grid to calls for reforming its banking system...

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