Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Turns Down Position In Obama’s Cabinet

Reports indicate that Eric Schmidt was offered a position in the President’s cabinet and turned it down: 

Mr Schmidt, 57, was offered the job of Treasury or Commerce Secretary or a new “Secretary of Business” slot, according to the Washington Examiner.

An anonymous strategist for the Democrats told the newspaper: “Nobody’s better positioned for a Cabinet job, if he wants one.”

Mr Schmidt’s rebuttal was swift, however, as he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview yesterday: “I said last time and I’ve said again that Google is my home. I have no interest in working for the federal government”.

Mr Schmidt played in a key role in the re-election of President Barack Obama last month, helping to oversee Google’s $700,000 donation to his campaign.

Since Mr Obama took up the US presidency in 2008, he and Mr Schmidt have maintained a close relationship, appearing together at the company’s Montain View, California headquarters in 2007.

The one interesting thing about this news is that the Obama White House is apparently going forward with the rater silly “Secretary of Business” idea that was floated during the campaign.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t think we can afford the salary we’d have to pay Mr. Schmidt. Not to mention that the working conditions in Washington are not really up to the standards of Mountain View. I think they give out free massages. Try that at Commerce.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Schmidt’s no dummy.

    Insider share selling on Wall St. has reached literal panic levels across all major industries. And if you focus on actual leading indicators, rather than lagging and coincident indicators, it’s entirely possible we’re already in a recession. Normally reported GDP figures take 2-4 quarters to catch up to realities on the ground.

    Schmidt would know all this. And he would not want to be caught sailing on the US Economy’s Andrea Doria when she goes under the waves.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    So then why did he give so much money to Obama?

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    the Obama White House is apparently going forward with the rater silly “Secretary of Business” idea that was floated during the campaign.

    Why is it silly? A lot of state governments have officials specifically charged with bringing new businesses into their state. You could argue this is partly the role of the commerce department but it has myriad other responsibilities which make calls on the Secretary’s time. Admittedly there’s an element of symbolism about it but a lot of government and politics is about symbolism.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    it’s entirely possible we’re already in a recession.

    I’m not sure whether its you or Doug who has the record for forecasting the most recessions during the last three years but if you believe this why not sell all thou hast and then leverage that by trading on margin and start shorting all the major cyclical stocks. However I should tell you that only this morning did I receive a very bullish forecast from a leading financial institution which recommended overweighting on stocks. However, I’m sure they’re wrong and you are right. So go for it Nicko.

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If he was offered a job it was likely commerce not Treasury.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I suspect just about any sane person would look at the snake pit in Washington and think, “I’ll pass.” I honestly wouldn’t take the job if they offered it to me. (Incidentally, if they do offer it to me? It’s definitely time to move to Canada.)

  8. Franklin says:

    You or us?

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I can see what you say applying to Schmidt who is basically an engineer and therefore probably intensely logical. My comment was really more based on his lack of background in financial markets and public finance. Really you need heavyweight financial market experience in that job. The mind boggles if Snow had still been at Treasury when the typhoon hit. If I was Obama I’d offer the Treasury job to Mikey Bloomberg.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    All Americans. Because, really, things will be very, very bad by that point. And I would make them worse.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Could Bloomberg’s ego fit inside the Treasury building? Not a bad suggestion. He has the knowledge and he has the respect.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mikey Bloomberg would love it and his resume is a perfect fit. He’s at a dead end in NYC and basically he agrees with Obama on most things. The left of the Democratic party would whine a bit but then they want Paul Krugman or some such nonsense. Not that I’ve anything against Krugman in his right spot. The WH could do worse than giving him sort of economic advisory job since he’s largely been right about the economics of the last six or seven years and the left of the Democratic party would be ecstatic while Krugman would have to deal with some political reality.

  13. rudderpedals says:

    The Washington Examiner? “Secretary of Business”?

    WTF am I reading?

  14. Brummagem Joe says:


    Doug’s favorite free sheet?

  15. Ben Wolf says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Agreeing wih the President should not be a primary concern in regards to a highly technical job requiring knowledge Mr. Bloomberg almost certainly does not have.

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Agreeing wih the President should not be a primary concern in

    Actually broad philosophical agreement is quite an important concern if you want some degree of collegiality, trust and unanimity in the govt. This would be true at any time but particularly so in the light of Republican intransigence. The notion of putting someone in one of the three or four primary cabinet positions who doesn’t share the same broad worldview as the president is totally preposterous. Bob Gates and Roy LaHood are Republicans but their outlook as it relates/related to their offices is/was broadly similar to that of the president and the same would need to be true of anyone he appointed to the treasury or indeed in any job in his administration.

  17. scott says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: From the Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI increased slightly in October, the second consecutive increase. The LEI still points to modestly expanding economic activity in the near term.”

  18. al-Ameda says:

    My take? Eric probably took a look at the Republican House, and then sized up the 38 Republican senators who recently voted with Rick Santorum to not ratify the U.N. Treaty on Disabilities, and figured he’d rather hang out with the smart people in Silicon Valley.

  19. Ben Wolf says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I don’t agree. One doesn’t have to agree with the President’s policies to execute them effectively. Bloomberg’s approval of a tax increase or the ACA will not help him effectively coordinate with the Fed, or to understand the banking system in which he has little experience. Schmidt was an equally poor choice for that very reason.