Cisco CEO: Next U.S. president must take page from Clinton's book

Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:37pm EDT
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By Nicola Leske and Jim Finkle

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cisco Systems Inc CEO John Chambers, a supporter of Mitt Romney, says the country's next head of state should take his cues from former President Bill Clinton who was able to work effectively with businesses to generate jobs and create budget surpluses.

"There's a lot to learn from President Clinton. It kills me as a strong Republican saying it, but he was the most effective president during my lifetime," Chambers told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

"And when business got out of line, he smacked them," Chambers said.

Although President Barack Obama was the darling of the technology world during his campaign in 2008, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a former private equity executive, has made inroads in Silicon Valley.

Some technology industry leaders view Obama as anti-business because of uncertainty blamed on the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform and healthcare overhaul.

"The business community is very comfortable with Romney," Chambers said, but added that no matter who wins the election in November, serious challenges lie ahead.

He added that Cisco customers in the U.S. were reluctant to invest because of the fiscal cliff despite corporate America being in "remarkably good shape".

Fiscal cliff refers to the impact of around $500 billion in expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions set for 2013 as a result of successive failures by Congress to agree on an orderly alternative method of reducing budget deficits.   Continued...

John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, participates in a group discussion on "Business by Design: Business with Integrity" during the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York on in this September 24, 2012, file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files