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East Room

11:04 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Very nice to have you here.  It’s a great honor.  So many of you I recognize, and others I do from reading business magazines and other magazines.  You’ve done very well.  You’re very representative of your group.

And, Jeff, congratulations on a great career.

MR. IMMELT:  Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT:  A great career.  I was sad to hear it in one way, and in another way I said, boy, what a good job.

MR. IMMELT:  Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT:  So I know whatever you’re going to be doing — that’s a long time over there.  I’ve known you a long time in that company.  I’ve done deals with that company, and you were there, right?  A lot of good friends like Dale Frey and John Myers.  We had a good time at GE.

Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for being here and for giving us a chance to see some of the really exciting new technology that you’ve pioneered that will help improve so many millions of lives.

I want to thank my Office of Science and Technology — and this has been a great office; they have done such incredible work — for organizing today’s event and for bringing these wonderful business leaders — and they are at the top — together to talk about the importance of emerging technologies.

I want to thank Secretary Ross for joining us today.  Wilbur, thank you very much.  And we just got back from Iowa last night.  A big speech in Iowa.  That was an amazing group of people.  Those people were excited.  I guess most people saw it, but they were excited.  Wilbur has done a fantastic job, and I want to thank you very much for it, Wilbur.  Everybody understands it.  Wilbur, as Jeff — as you know — Wilbur is known as just “Wilbur” on Wall Street.  They don’t even call him Wilbur Ross.  They just say, oh, Wilbur is involved — right?  He’s done a great job.  Thank you.

And, Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for being here.  We’ve had some busy schedules, and we have a thing called healthcare that you may hear is percolating in the outside, as we’ve discussed.  And I think it’s going to come out.  Obamacare is a disaster; it’s dead.  Totally dead.  And we’re putting in a plan today that’s going to be negotiated.  We’d love to have some Democrat support, but they’re obstructionists.  They’ll never support.  We won’t get one, no matter how good it is.  But we will hopefully get something done, and it will be something with heart and very meaningful.

And, Steve, it’s great to have you here, by the way.  Really good.  You’ve done a great job.  I always say you got a hell of a lot of money for that sale.  I don’t think you’ve been given enough — I mean, I don’t think you were ever given enough credit for the deal you did for your shareholders.  What a deal that was.

Too many years of excessive government regulation.  We have had regulation that’s been so bad, so out of line that it’s really hurt our country.  And as you see, on a daily basis we’re getting rid of regulation.  In fact, Dodd-Frank is now being cut and cut very substantially.  We’ll have tremendous safeguards, but we’re going to have banks that are going to be able to loan money to people so they can open businesses and do what they used to be able to do in this country.

My administration has been laser-focused on removing the government barriers to job growth and prosperity.  We formed a deregulation taskforce inside every agency to find and eliminate wasteful, intrusive, and job-killing regulations, of which we’ve had many.

We want our innovators to dream big, like the folks around me and surrounding me in this room.  And we want them to create new companies and to create lots of jobs.  Your industry has been incredible.  Your representation of your companies — is the reason you’re here — has been something that has created so many millions of new American jobs, and probably jobs in many other countries, also.  But we’re interested right now in America first.

We’re on the verge of new technological revolutions that could improve, virtually, every aspect of our lives, create vast new wealth for American workers and families, and open up bold, new frontiers in science, medicine, and communication.

Today’s conversation will move America one step closer to that bright future that we’re all talking about and all longing for in your world.  I would love to hear about the discussions you’ve had this morning with our team, the White House, and get your thoughts on ways government can help unleash the next generation of technological breakthroughs that will transform our lives and transform our country, and make us number one in this field.  This is a very, very competitive field.  You see what’s going on in China and so many other countries.  And we want to remain number one.  We want to go to number one in certain areas where we’re not number one.  And we’re going to give you the competitive advantage that you need.

So thank you all very much for being here.  On behalf of myself and my great Vice President, it’s been a meeting that we actually both looked very much forward to attending.

11:10 A.M. EDT