Freshly re-elected president Obama is on a three-nation tour across Southeast Asia. Back home, America faces the double-whammy of higher taxes and lower government spending if we roll off the fiscal cliff in January. Obama's excursion abroad may seem ill-timed with such an explosive pot left boiling at home.
Then again, no man is an island. Obama certainly isn't trying to run the greatest show on earth all by himself.
Just before taking off across the Pacific, Obama sat down to discuss the economy with a brutally high-powered set of private-sector advisors. That meeting included:
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B 0.16%) CEO Warren Buffett, perhaps the finest financial manager of our time.
Apple (AAPL 1.55%) CEO Tim Cook, who leads the world's most valuable company with a management style based on operating efficiencies.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of megabank JPMorgan Chase (JPM 0.03%) and a down-to-earth banker with a sterling reputation on Wall Street.
Costco (COST 1.73%) CEO Craig Jelinek, who studied at the knee of overall business genius Jim Sinegal for decades. Like Apple's Cook, this longtime COO surely deserves partial credit for Costco's success.
Jim McNerney, Boeing's (BA 2.92%) CEO for the last seven years. Though perhaps not a widely touted genius like the other guys, he is nevertheless a longtime leader of a Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.50%) blue chip, whose shares have crushed its Dow peers over the last decade.
And the week before, Obama sat down with the leaders of American Express (AXP -0.24%), Honeywell (HON -0.12%), and General Electric (GE -0.01%), too. For those keeping score at home, the POTUS picked the brains of no fewer than four Dow companies and a long list of the finest businesses outside that august index.
Politico says Obama wanted to "build support" for his fiscal-cliff avoidance strategy, but I don't believe for a second that any of these brilliant business leaders would simply sit back and listen.
Transcripts and notes from these sessions are surely making the rounds among Oval Office advisors as we speak, fueling both heated discussions and new insights. When the rubber really hits the road in December, the talks will have made their impact on Obama, as well as all the president's men. If the final anti-cliff accord smells like Cherry Coke and comes in a round-cornered package of aluminum and glass, you'll know whom Obama really listened to.