President Obama to meet with tech supporters amid healthcare IT crisis

Today, President Barack Obama is in town for several fundraisers including a $32,400-a-head roundtable at the San Francisco home of Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com.

This is not a redux of the intimate February 2011 meeting of Obama and a dozen tech leaders at the home of John Doerr, the venture capitalist. That gathering included Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, who gave $3 million to the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future.

The roundtable today will be a love fest among supporters and top donors. Benioff helped to raise more than $500,000 for Obama 2012, according to Open Secrets.

While discussion is expected to be wide-ranging, according to sources, the technical troubles of the Obama administration’s HealthCare.gov will likely be top of the list.

Last week, Benioff said on CNBC that his firm would fix the site and run it for five years, according to an eWeek article. And Salesforce.com would run it free of charge, he said. It’s not known what the White House’s  response was to that offer. Oracle and RedHat are apparently helping with the effort too, according to reports.

But I expect that today at Benioff’s home there will be more talk about what Silicon Valley can do to help government. After all, the healthcare debacle runs counter to the legacy of the Obama administration to use technology to make government more accessible, transparent and efficient.

As Politico wrote recently, the federal IT process is hampered by a culture unwilling to take risks. There are some things technology and can-do industry leaders can’t fix.

Above: President Barack Obama meets with King Mohammed VI of Morocco.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (78 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.