Top CEOs launch fiscal cliff ad blitz

  @CNNMoney November 13, 2012: 2:57 PM ET
ursula burns

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns is among CEOs calling on Washington leaders to avert the fiscal cliff in a new ad campaign.


CEOs of the nation's largest companies launched an advertising campaign on Tuesday, wagging a finger at Washington with a warning: Don't take our country over the fiscal cliff.

It may not be the first time that CEOs have come out publicly pushing for policy, but it's certainly the loudest. The ads were launched by the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group representing CEOs of top companies such as Honeywell International (HON, Fortune 500),Dow Chemical (DOW, Fortune 500), Xerox (XRX, Fortune 500) and General Electric (GE, Fortune 500).

CEOs fear that protracted negotiations in Washington beyond the fiscal cliff deadline would deliver a blow to the economy much worse than last summer's tense debate over raising the federal debt ceiling on the amount the U.S. can legally borrow.

"If the last debt ceiling discussion was playing with fire, this time they're playing with nitroglycerin," said David Cote, CEO of Honeywell International.

The stakes are high for the president and Congress to find a consensus to avoid the fiscal cliff, which economists and CEOs agree would devastate the economy, taking down thousands of jobs and increasing taxes for millions of Americans.

At the end of this year, the George W. Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire, and on Jan. 2, automatic spending cuts will commence that amount to $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.

"Economic recovery will remain stalled until Washington resolves the fiscal crisis," says Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox (XRX, Fortune 500), in one of the ads.

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The Business Roundtable ads will run on radio stations and in newspapers in the Washington D.C. area, said Amanda DeBard, a spokeswoman for the group. The campaign features 13 CEOs.

Burns and Cote will also be among those at the White House on Wednesday to talk with President Obama about ways to avert the fiscal cliff.

Other CEOs invited include: GE's Jeffrey Immelt, American Express (AXP, Fortune 500)'s Kenneth Chenault, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500)'s Mike Duke, Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris, Ford (F, Fortune 500)'s Alan Mulally, Pepsico (PEP, Fortune 500)'s Indra Nooyi, IBM (IBM, Fortune 500)'s Ginni Rometty and Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500)'s John Watson.

Another group, backed by GE and Honeywell called "Campaign to Fix the Debt," has launched a separate million-dollar advertising this week to push Washington leaders to avert the fiscal cliff. Those mimick well-known ads such as the "Got Milk" campaign from milk processors, and the "Just do it" ad from Nike (NKE, Fortune 500). To top of page

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