With 15.7 million Americans out of work, the jobless rate stands at 10.2%. A main goal of the gathering of business executives, finance experts, economists, small business owners and labor leaders is to help the cash-starved small businesses that create two-thirds of the nation's jobs.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "That problem can be solved with a few incentives and a few regulatory changes, I think fairly quickly. It's a strong thing the government can do right now, that will actually cause jobs to be created very, very quickly."
Skeptical republicans gathered for a rival "where are the jobs" roundtable.
Rep. John Boehner (R) House Minority Leader said, "You know as a former small businessman myself, I know what it takes to meet a payroll. And I can tell you that the policy is being proposed by this administration and the democrat allies here in Congress are causing employers to sit on their hands."
It's a criticism the president faced head on.
President Obama asked, "I assure you, there is extraordinary skepticism that any discussions like this can actually produce results. I'm well aware of that. I don't mind skepticism. If I listened to the skeptics, I wouldn't be here. But I am confident that we'll make progress."