20071211 buffett warren 18
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett listens during a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Nov. 14, 2007. - 


STacey Vanek-Smith: On sunny summer weekend like these, many of New York's business elite head to the Hamptons. Lots of east coast blue-bloods and LOTS of CEOs, all with lots of money. This week, Barack Obama's campaign is sending an emissary. Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.

Steve Henn: We asked Barack Obama's economic advisor, Austen Goolsbee, if celebrity CEO endorsements actually mean anything in this economy.

Austen Goolsbee: Oh geeze, uh, I don't know.

Goolsbee says Obama's crew isn't really after endorsements as much as advice.

Goolsbee: Warren Buffet is an extremely intelligent and perceptive analyst of the financial markets and the wider economy. He has a lot of credibility.

And if he has insights to share, so much the better. And some business people, like ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, have become surrogates on the campaign trail.

Carly Fiorina: Most executives may believe that their name carries weight.

But they're wrong -- at least according to Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. But that doesn't mean CEOs are useless.

Larry Sabato: They can give money themselves and probably influence a lot of other executives to give.

Big banks have given Barack Obama and John McCain more than $15 million in contributions.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.