Just two weeks before Election Day on Tuesday, November 4, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc. (GOOG) Mr. Eric Schmidt has decided to publicly back Presidential candidate Barack Obama and hit the campaign trail this week on behalf of the Illinois Senator. Schmidt, according to WSJ – is scheduled to join Mr. Obama at an event in Florida to moderate a panel on the economy.
The Google chief tells the Journal his backing of Obama does not represent Google’s views on presidential election of 2008, just his own. He also added that the endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate was for him a “natural evolution” from his role as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign. Schmidt has been unofficially advising for sometime now the democratic campaign on technology and energy matters.
In August Mr. Schmidt made an appearance outside the Democratic National Convention Center in Denver where he took questions from bloggers in the ‘Big Tent’ emphasizing the fact that Obama received a major increase in his campaign efforts from the Net.
Eric Schmidt however, doesn’t seems to be the only one supporting or planning to endorse the Illinois Senator. The Journal reports, other executives from other technology companies as well are expected to announce their support for Mr. Obama giving his campaign a boost from a highly desirable constituency.
Mr. Schmidt has led the search engine giant successfully since 2001. However, his co. is currently in the midst of an ongoing fight with antitrust regulators in Washington for a proposed ad-sharing partnership deal with Web portal Yahoo (YHOO). As Justice Departments gets ready for its recommendations on formal actions, certainly Schmidt’s endorsement will be further scrutinized.
“My sense is, the Justice Department makes judgments on these issues independent of politics,” Mr. Schmidt said. “It would be unfair to Justice to imply [that supporting Sen. Obama] would make a difference.”
Asked recently of whether he would consider entering the political arena, the 53-year-old Schmidt categorically denied the assertion. Regardless of his rejection, many are speculating that he might desire a role in an Obama administration, possibly the chief technology officer post Sen. Obama has said he would create.
Google employees have contributed more than $487,000 to Sen. Obama’s campaign and about $21,000 to Sen. McCain’s as of Aug. 31. Mr. Schmidt hasn’t donated to either.