MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) confronted his experience gap while meeting with employees at Google headquarters, a shrine to creativity down to heated toilet seats.
Obama also headlined a series of high dollar fund-raisers in Northern California the day before Democrats meet for another debate in Las Vegas.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt tested the geek in Obama, asking him “the most efficient way to sort a million 32–bit intergers.” Obama, coming prepared said, “I think the bubble sort would be the wrong way to go,’’ which is, of course, as you all know, a computer science reference to a sorting algorithm.
Google, one the fasted growing and most highly valued companies in the U.S.—it’s stock closed at about $642 a share on Wednesday—is the embodiment of the American success story. Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page launched what became Google from a Stanford University dorm room.
Obama, taking questions was asked by a Googler—that’s what employees are called—about what he was going to do to get past his experience gap. Polls show that one of the biggest problems Obama, 46, has with voters is his resume.
“Sergy and Larry did not have a lot of experience starting a Fortune 100 company,” Obama said.
Obama framed being president in terms of being able to inspire more than manage. “I know how to choose talent and get smart people around me....We are not looking for a chief operating officer when we select a president. What we are looking for is is somebody who will chart a course and say this is where America needs to go.”
Obama is the latest 2008 contender to appear at Google and he used his visit to unveil his technology innovation agenda. If president he would name a Chief Technology Officer, guarantee every American broadband access, and make sure whatever is the next Google—is a U.S. company
A Googler asked Obama what he learned about how the two-term President Clinton got elected, and Obama said “a lot”-- but his moment was gone and his was still to come.
When Clinton ran in 1992 the then Arkansas govenor said “you know what, I am a different kind of Democrat and I am willing to do things in some new ways” and that was a powerful message for that moment,” said Obama.
“ The reason I am running and the reason I believe I am going to win is because we are in a different moment.
So you can’t just copy what Bill Clinton did, but you have to take the same approach.”