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Chamber of Commerce president: Appreciation for Obama 'changing his song'

US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue sat down at an April 8 Monitor breakfast to discuss President Obama, the chamber's role in the 2012 election, and how he sees the US surviving as a major economic power.

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Business advocates Thomas Donohue and Bruce Josten are president and ex-ecutive vice president respectively of the US Chamber of Com-merce. Mr. Donohue (right) and Mr. Jos-ten (left) were guest speakers at the April 8 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

The Christian Science Monitor/Michael Bonfigli

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Business advocates Thomas Donohue and Bruce Josten are president and executive vice president, respectively, of the US Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Donohue and Mr. Josten were guest speakers at the April 8 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

The business community's improving relations with the Obama administration:

Donohue: "We appreciate some of the things that the president has done to change his song.... What we are having is a maturing of the president.... He is figuring out what he can do.... I don't think he has made a philosophical shift in what he believes and who he is.... He is accommodating himself to the most challenging job in the world."

The economic outlook:

Donohue: Japan's post-tsunami challenges "are going to have some effect on the economy because of what it is going to do to the automobile industry.... Still ... we have the potential of being in the first half of the year with 3.0 to 3.5 [percent] economic growth and the second half up a little bit, and hopefully we will create 2.5 million jobs this year...."

The possibility of the end of the era of cheap money, as European interest rates rise:

Donohue: "The real challenge for us as we see these massive increases in deficits in the United States ... is what happens when the interest rates go up a couple of points or more. Now you've got a multiplication of deficits beyond what we would even be thinking about on a bad day."

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