Channel Marker

Dec 9 2008   10:10AM GMT

Strange bedfellows: John Chambers and Barack Obama

rivkalittle Rivka Little Profile: rivkalittle

It’s a funny thing Cisco CEO John Chambers was such a strong John McCain supporter since it’s actually president elect Barack Obama’s administration that is likely to boost the company’s shares and stabilize business during rough times.

Tuesday Cisco was named by Bloomberg news as one of the top companies likely to benefit from Obama’s new stimulus package. General Electric and Emcor Group (maker of voice and data systems) were also mentioned in the article.

Obama’s stimulus package will create jobs by building infrastructure, but unlike Dwight Eisenhower’s plan in the 1950s, Obama’s not just talking roads and bridges — he’s talking technology. Specifically, he’d like to see hospitals and classrooms wired for efficiency and government agencies have better, more secure networks and automated business processes. The government could spend as much as $900 billion on this plan.

Cisco’s shares rose 8.2% Monday, according to Bloomberg — twice the increase of the Nasdaq 100 as a whole that day.

Chambers, who was the national co-chair of McCain’s campaign and the technology and economic advisor, hasn’t sounded off about the Obama connection, but Cisco’s public relations department said the federal government can lead the way toward an “information-based economy” in the same way that the highway program moved the U.S. into a new era in the 1950s.

Shares of construction companies and steelmakers rose by close to one quarter Monday after Obama said Dec. 6 that his package would include the “single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.”

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