Earlier this summer, President Obama took a break from campaigning to have an intimate dinner with about 20 people to discuss the “influence of technology on public debate,” according to an excerpt of Obama’s Last Stand, a new e-book from Politico.
The guest list included some big names including Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, Apple’s iOS chief Scott Forstall and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes. Forstall, in particular, is described in the e-book as “a rock star in Obama’s Apple-obsessed world.”
The event was reportedly set up by Obama’s friend and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as a way to give Obama “some much-needed breathing space.” The dinner ended up lasting two hours, a long time given the president’s busy schedule.
We tracked down the full description of the dinner in the e-book:
A substantial part of the chat was devoted to the role social media might play in fostering greater civility in politics – an irony that wasn’t lost on at least one attendee, who noted the jarring contrast between Obama’s private circumspection and his campaign’s public negativity.
On hand were Jarrett’s friend the Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, who had once been briefly considered for a top administration post; the Facebook billionaire and new New Republic publisher, Chris Hughes; and the Apple executive Scott Forstall, who led the team that developed the iPhone – a rock star in Obama’s Apple-obsessed world.
The president seemed as lighthearted as anyone had seen him in months, according to a person familiar with the dinner. Before sitting down, Obama slackened his tie, threw his suit jacket on the back of a chair, and told everyone to “relax and enjoy yourselves.”
Obama set the ground rules as the fancy little lamb chops were dished out.