Do CEO endorsements mean anything?

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.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.


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