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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

BP Releases Internal Investigation Report; President Obama Outlines Economic Strategy

Aired September 8, 2010 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MAX FOSTER, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: BP spreads the blame for the Gulf oil spill saying Transocean and Halliburton share in the disaster.

The hard sell: In around 15 minutes President Obama will try to convince voters he can get the economy back on track.

I'm Max Foster in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Hello to you.

BP says in its own investigation, granted, that it is not solely responsible for the Gulf of Mexico spill. BP says it didn't identify a single action or inaction that caused the incident. Instead it blames a series of errors by itself and contractors Halliburton and Transocean.

Jim, you've been looking through the report?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. Well, the bottom line is BP says there is no one single incident that caused this disaster. Now there are three different parts of this disaster that we're looking at. So we're going to break it up into three different segments here.

The first one is capping the well. Why wasn't the well capped successfully? Well, they said in the report the well integrity failed. They say that Halliburton, who was capping this well with cement, did not use the right mix of cement. So, BP says that is the reason that it failed. And BP outgoing CEO said, basically, it was a failure on the part of Halliburton.

Now, secondly, we look at the explosion. Well, when this was all happening, gas leaked out of the well, through the well, up into the main platform and exploded. Probably it connected with an engine that was there. And that caused two massive explosions. As we know, 11 people were killed and many more were injured at the time of the explosion.

But still, with all of this, number three, was the blowout preventer. Despite this disaster there is supposed to be this blowout preventer that is supposed to stop the oil from coming out of the ground. It failed and they want to look at that very carefully, why that failed.

We should point out, in this report, because the blowout preventer only came up from the water a week ago. They weren't able to look at it but that could change some of this. But again, this is an internal BP investigation and they have put some of the blame on Transocean, which owns the rig, and Halliburton, who was supposed to cap the well, Max.

FOSTER: I assume, yes, you talk there about the blame being spread to these other contractors. They must surely have a response to this?

BOULDEN: Yes, very strong responses, we should say. Transocean has come out and said this is very much "a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor, that this Macondo incident is because of a fatally flawed well design."

They are blaming the original well design that was of course BP's. Now Halliburton says they've "noticed a number of substantial omissions and inaccuracies in the document." They "remains confident that all the work was performed well within the accordance that was set out by BP's specifications for its well construction and its instructions". That is important. Because both Transocean and Halliburton say, yes, they might do a lot of the work. They might have had a lot of their employees on there, but they ultimately do what BP's executives, or BP's -

FOSTER: BP is overseeing the whole process.

BOULDEN: Exactly. And that is what they say.

FOSTER: And this isn't the final word. Can't be, really, an internal report. So, other reports will be compiled. When do we find out about what actually went wrong, who is to blame.

BOULDEN: We should say this is a very detailed and complicated report. It is over 200-nearly 200 pages. So there is a lot there to go through. And it is quite technical. But it is internal from BP. The Department of Justice, in the U.S., has a criminal investigation going on. You have the lawsuits, of course, going on. You have Transocean and Halliburton looking at this as well. And ultimately you have the regulators deciding, was BP grossly negligent? Does this report help keep BP from being grossly negligent? As you have said before on the air here, if they are found grossly negligent they could be fined up to $20 billion. So we still have all of that to come.

FOSTER: It makes you think that BP and the contractors are trying to get rid of blame for legal reasons, as well as moral reasons?

BOULDEN: Well, of course, this could give a lot of the fodder to those who are suing BP. Which there will be many, because now they have some of the substance to go with. It is important to point out, this is a very substantive report. It is a very thorough report, in many ways. Looking at very detailed-interviewing people-looking at much of the material that was available. But it is incomplete. Because, as I said earlier, they don't have all the details about the blowout preventer, which is supposed to stop the oil, then, of course, the millions of gallons that went into the Gulf of Mexico.

FOSTER: There will be may more reports for you to pour through. Jim, thank you very much indeed for that.

Well, two more angles to the BP story for you. Tonight on "CONNECT THE WORLD", in fact. First, what are the lessons learned from the oil disaster? We'll get answers from the experts in petroleum geo-science. Plus ambitious drilling plans for one U.S. neighbor in the Gulf of Mexico. Could it be too close for comfort? "CONNECT THE WORLD", two hours from now.

Now Barack Obama is getting ready for a big speech.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.

FOSTER: He's actually started, so let's go to it.

OBAMA: Thank you.

Before I get started I want to just acknowledge some outstanding public servants who are here. First of all, somebody who I believe is one of the finest governors in this country. Ted Strickland is here.

(APPLAUSE)

The lieutenant governor and soon-to-be junior senator from the great state of Illinois-or Ohio. I was thinking about my own-Lee Fischer is here.

(APPLAUSE)

FOSTER: Barack Obama starting a speech, a key speech on efforts to kick start the economy. We are going to get into that when we get to the meat of his speech. For now, we're going to have a quick break.

OBAMA: Outstanding mayor of Cleveland, Frank Jackson is here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: We're back with President Obama as he continues that speech. We're going to go to him now, in fact, I'm told. So let's go back to that.

OBAMA: Just two days before the election. And we knew that if we pulled it off we'd finally have the chance to tackle some big and difficult challenges that had been facing this country for a very long time. We also hoped for a chance to get beyond some of the old political divides, between Democrats and Republicans, red states and blue states, that had prevented us from making progress. Because although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And we believed then and we believe now that no single party has a monopoly on wisdom. That is not to say that the election didn't expose deep differences between the parties. I ran for president because for much of the last decade a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work. Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didn't benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and in our future, in education, and clean energy and research and technology.

The idea was that if we just had blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, then America would grow and America would prosper. And for a time this idea gave us the illusion of prosperity. We saw financial firms and CEOs take in record profits and record bonuses. We saw a housing boom that led to new homeowners and new jobs in construction. Consumers bought more condos and bigger cars, and better TVs.

But while all this was happening the broader economy was becoming weaker. Nobody understands that more than the people of Ohio.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Job growth-job growth between 2000 and 2008 was slower than it had been in any economic expansion since World War II; slower than it has been over the last year. The wages and incomes of middle class families kept falling. While the cost of everything from tuition to health care kept on going up. Folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards. And borrow against homes that many couldn't afford to buy in the first place. And meanwhile a failure to pay for two wars, and two tax cuts for the wealthy, helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit.

I ran for president because I believed that this kind of economy was unsustainable, for the middle class, and for the future of our nation. I ran because I had a different idea about how America was built.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It was an idea-

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It was an idea rooted in my own family's story. You see Michelle and I are where we are today because even though our families didn't have much, they worked tirelessly without complaint, so that we might have a better life.

My grandfather marched off to Europe in World War II, while my grandmother worked in factories on the home front. I had a single mom who put herself through school and would wake before dawn to make sure that I got a decent education. Michelle can still remember her father heading out to his job as a city worker, long after multiple sclerosis had made it impossible for him to walk without crutches. He always got to work, he just had to get up a little early.

Yes, our families believed in the American values of self-reliance and individual responsibility and they instilled those values in their children. But they also believed in a country that rewards responsibility, a country that rewards hard work, a country built on the promise of opportunity and upward mobility. They believed in an America that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the GI Bill. An America that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the Federal Housing Authority, an America that gave their children and grandchildren the chance to fulfill our dreams thanks to college loans and college scholarships.

It was an America where you didn't buy things you couldn't afford. Where we didn't just think about today, we thought about tomorrow. An America that took pride in the goods that we made, not just the things we consumed. An America where a rising tide really did lift all boats from the company CEO to the guy on the assembly line, that is the America I believe in. That is the America I believe in.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That is what led me to work in the shadow of the shuttered steel plant on the South Side of Chicago when I was a community organizer. It was what led me to fight for factory workers at manufacturing plants that were closing across Illinois when I was senator. It was what led me to run for president. Because I don't believe we can have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle class.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Now much has happened since that election. The flawed policies and economic weaknesses of the previous decade culminated in a financial crisis and the worst recession of our lifetimes. And my hope was that the crisis would cause everybody, Democrats and Republicans, to pull together and tackle our problems in a practical way. But as we all know, things didn't work out that way.

Some Republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let Democrats solve the mess. Others believed on principle that government shouldn't meddle in the markets, even when the markets are broken. But with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs the month that I was sworn into office, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: In Ohio we have done that. The economy is growing again. The financial markets are stabilized. The private sector has created jobs for the last eight months in a row.

FOSTER: President Obama in his second major economic speech this week. He is expected to announce more stimulus measures in that speech. We are going to keep across it for you.

It was expected today, but we're going to have a look at the Dow, anyway, to see if there has been any response to the confirmation of that speech, as it were. Let's see what the Dow is doing. It is up, but only slightly, 0.4 percent.

Let's see what the European markets did a little earlier on, helped out by the news on BP, and other oil stocks. As you can see all the main markets are up today. Up less than 1 percent, though.

Now, we're going to have a look at Ireland now. This is an interesting banking story going on there. Dublin-based Anglo-Irish Bank is actually splitting up. And it is a very big bank in that country. The state-owned lender will be broken in two. One part will turn into a funding bank. The other will become an asset recovery bank. This is how they are dealing with this financial crisis there. The news comes a week after Anglo announced the largest corporate loss in the history of the Republic of Ireland. A massive $6.7 billion in the first half of the year, but the real trouble started in 2008, following a sharp downturn in the Irish housing market, leaving the bank with substantial bad debts. We have heard that story in other countries, of course.

The government says it will announce the final cost of the restructuring and resolution by October. By then the Irish Central Bank will determine the levels of capital needed in both institutions. So, an interesting example there of how the world is dealing with this financial crisis still.

Now, HP's former CEO will be in line for a $10-million bonus, in his new job. That is if a lawsuit doesn't stop him from taking that position. I will tell you why HP is trying to block the move next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Skill is the inconvenient truth of retail. Those are the words of Charlie Mayfield the chairman of one of Britain's largest department store group. John Lewis, which is doing incredibly well despite the down turn. I caught up with him at a conference in London on how U.K. retailers can get the best out of their workforces.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLIE MAYFIELD, CHAIRMAN, JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP: Skill is the absolutely vital part of the competitive challenge that a developed economy faces over the next 10, 20, 30 years. The U.K. is currently ranked at about 11th in the world in terms of its-the effectiveness of its skills, currently achieving. We simply need to be higher than that in order to succeed and to be prosperous in the future.

And, you know, that is something that I'm here because I believe that very strongly and I want to encourage others to also believe that and then to go do something about it.

FOSTER: Can you break this down for us? For people that don't fully understand the whole skills debate? For example, a shop like John Lewis, which you are in charge of, what sort of skills do those staff need? Give me a type of skill which they really need to improve on.

MAYFIELD: Well, we cover the food and the non-food sector. So we have Waitrose and we have John Lewis. In Waitrose we have more specialists per head, per number of employees, than any other grocery retailer.

FOSTER: So fruit specialist-

(CROSS TALK)

MAYFIELD: Well, it could be a fish specialist or a meat specialists, or a cheese specialist, or a wine specialist.

FOSTER: And they really need to know their stuff?

MAYFIELD: Absolutely. Because our customers will come into our shops and they will want to talk to someone who genuinely knows all about cheeses and different kinds. Who is able to engage that customer in a conversation about what-to understand what they really like. So they don't need to sell the customer what they like, but they actually understand what the customer likes and because they know their stuff, they are able to guide them to make a really excellent choice. And that level of service is of huge importance.

FOSTER: You are about to come out with your half yearly results and from all the signs things have been very positive for you over the first half of this year. But now economists are talking about a double-dip recession. Is it your sense that consumers are caught between recession, no recession. And they are not going to be spending money over the next six months. What's the challenge for you?

MAYFIELD: I think one of the problems is it gets over simplified, the situation. You know the fact is that actually the consumers have held up, actually, better than people thought they would do, through the end of last year and actually through this year so far. And I think the signs are that some of that will continue. I don't think we're in double-dip territory. It might happen, but it is not my view that that will-

FOSTER: But the customers are worried about it, aren't they?

MAYFIELD: What customers are worried about is whether they are going to loose their jobs. Or whether suddenly they are going to get hit with different taxes or extra costs, which will reduce their quality of life or their security of employment; that is what they are worried about. And actually that is what tends to affect people's shopping behavior.

It may be a little bit boring but I'm afraid my feeling is that the most likely prospect is for a long and slow recovery. I don't think we're going to bounce back into, sort of, really strong growth. I think it is going to be, you know, slow and perhaps unexciting growth for quite a long period of time. In that kind of market, the way we approach that is we say, well, that is what the market is going to do. What we must focus on is what we can control. What we can actually change for the better. And if we can do that and gain market share and get good sales, you know, good profits. That is clearly our focus. And that is exactly where we have been.

FOSTER: European leaders aren't making it very easy for European businesses though, are they? They are making massive cuts in spending. They are cutting back in the public sector. All these people are your customers. Is this massive austerity drive in Europe a real problem for you?

MAYFIELD: Well, so-I think, we would all wish that, you know, the world economy hadn't got into the position that it got itself into. But equally, as a responsible business, you know, and as an observer of this you can't ignore the fact that there are huge challenges facing politicians and leaders across Europe, and indeed, the world.

And I think what they have to do is take action on those. And what they have got to try and do is do it clearly, try iron out uncertainty. And try and to it in a way that is appropriately balanced. But I don't think it would be responsible to suggest that they should take no action. Even though, actually, if I was being very self interested, you know, we might, for a short period of time prefer that. I mean, in the long run it would be worse for all of us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Head of John Lewis speaking to me a little earlier on.

Now, we're going to get an update for you on the ongoing Oracle-HP saga. We started on it yesterday. Continue it today. Oracle has revealed how much it will be paying its new CEO-well, it's co-president, who is the former HP CEO Mark Hurd. And according to SEC filings $950,000 is his basic salary. A bonus of up to $10 million, though, so that is where the real money is going to come through. HP filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block Hurd from joining Oracle though, and taking that pay packet. HP said the most valuable trade secrets and confidential information is in peril. And Oracle and HP are competitors in key areas, that is why they are saying that. Data storage and computer service, for example.

Now, Hurd, actually resigned as the HP CEO last month. HP said he failed to disclose personal relationships. Jodie Fisher was working as a marketing contractor and he had a personal relationship with her. The lawsuit to block Hurd's new position soured years of good relations, really, between these two tech companies. And Oracle CEO Larry Ellison says Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner.

Now, following what he calls a vindictive lawsuit, he says the HP board is making it nearly impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace. We'll bring you more of this as it unfolds in the courts.

Now we are going to bring in John Coffey now, because he is a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. And he joins us from there now.

It is interesting this, isn't it? We are not going to talk about the specific case. It is going through the courts. But when we talk about CEOs moving between companies, it is sensitive, isn't it, when the companies are doing virtually the same thing?

JOHN COFFEY, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: I think it is sensitive. But you have to remember this isn't Silicon Valley. And this case has been brought in a California state court. And Silicon Valley has long tolerated a free and easy mobility of both employees and executives between firms, including among potential competitors. And add two more facts to this.

One, Mr. Hurd was really fired by Hewlett-Packard. He needs a job. No court wants to say you have to remain unemployed. And that tips the equities. If Hewlett-Packard fires you, it is harder for them to enjoin you from working for another firm, in the only industry you have ever worked in.

Second factor, Mr. Hurd used to be the CEO of NCR, another computer company. He left that to move to Hewlett-Packard. No one sought an injunction there. There has been a history here of him moving between firms and it is only Hewlett-Packard that has objected.

I don't say they can't win. But I think they have a very uphill battle. And the courts in California don't want to interfere with this culture, basically, free mobility for employees among firms.

FOSTER: So if there isn't a court case, really, likely to be successful around the movement of jobs, as it were, is there a case -- how can they prevent H.P. trade secrets, as it were, moving to another company via an employee?

Surely there's a case there. They've worked very hard to develop those technologies, for example?

COFFEY: You can certainly get damages and an injunction against disclosure of trade secrets. And if it were shown that he disclosed specific information, he might be held liable. But this is a case in which they're saying there is an inevitable disclosure -- he will disclose something about our business plans, something about our future prospects. And that kind of inevitable disclosure case is one the California courts have not bought into. They aren't willing to restrain employees and keep them frozen in one job with one firm because there might be some eventual, inevitable disclosure.

FOSTER: OK. Jim Coffey at Columbia Business School in New York.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us with your insight there.

We'll be back after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Welcome back.

I'm Max Foster in London.

More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment.

But first, here are the main news headlines.

Clergy members in Gainesville, Florida make a plea for tolerance three days before a church in their town carries out a public burning of Korans. The burning is scheduled for the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Organizer Terry Jones says he'll go through with it despite international condemnation.

The man behind an Islamic center planned for a site near Ground Zero in New York is making his own plea for religious tolerance. In an opinion piece, Feisal Abdul Rauf writes that he hopes Americans will tone down the rhetoric that, quote, "serves only to strengthen the radicals and weaken our friends' belief in our values."

Mexican authorities say they may have found the bodies of two investigators looking into the mass killing in a state there. Their bodies were found along with badges and identification a week after 72 migrants were found dead at a remote ranch. Three migrants survived the attack believed to be the work of Las Vetas (ph) drug cartel.

BP said there -- says there was no single cause in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April. The company released its findings from an internal investigation today. The long anticipated report notes a series of human errors, faulty construction and equipment failures, sharing the blame with contractors Transocean and Halliburton.

A full printed copy of the legendary "Oxford English Dictionary" may be a thing of the past.

CNN's Ayesha Durgahee went to Oxford to investigate what's happening to the newest edition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AYESHA DURGAHEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forget the dreaming spires and the bicycles. The reason I've come to Oxford is leather bound with meaning. The "Oxford English Dictionary" has turned over a new leaf, having undergone a digital makeover. The second edition of the full version -- all 20 volumes -- has been online for 10 years and now gets more than six million hits a month from subscribers.

MARTIN MAW, ARCHIVIST, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS: We've always had a commitment to keep up to date with the best delivery method for passing on our research and our knowledge about the English language to the widest possible audience. A digital medium seems to be one which conveys that knowledge in a very, very effective way on a very, very large scale.

DURGAHEE: The Oxford University Press made $150 million last year selling 115 million of the books. The "Oxford English Dictionary" has never made a profit in its 120-year history. With the success of the online version, where subscribers can pay up to $315 a year, the full version of the third edition may not make it onto paper.

(on camera): Superfluous -- that is not needed or required, unnecessary, needless, uncalled for.

(voice-over): But its digital destiny won't be decided just yet. Only 28 percent complete, the 18 lexicographers working on the third edition will need at least another decade before its finished. By that time, it's uncertain if there will be any demands for the $1,200 printed version.

JOHN SIMPSON, EDITOR, OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY: And we need to decide whether to put -- whether to publish it in print or not. And whether we do or not is just a question of whether there's a market for it or not.

DURGAHEE: The online version is updated every three months with roughly 215 new words, reflecting change not only in languages, but also in technology.

(on camera): App -- an application program.

SIMPSON: We don't put words into the dictionary as soon as they're coined. We probably wait five or 10 years before putting a word into the dictionary. Like the word vuvuzela, a sort of horn trumpet that one heard about in the -- in the World Cup. So somebody will be working on that. And their -- their job will be to amass as much information as they can about the history of the word and to bring it all together to write a definition on the basis of all the evidence that they've got.

DURGAHEE: The definition of dictionary has changed, with online versions, iPhone apps and even word of the day e-mail alerts. It's another sign of our technological times, where having the ability to upload 20 volumes of the English language is something to blow your vuvuzela about.

Ayesha Durgahee, CNN, Oxford, England.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Technological times reflected in large part by Google. It's promising to save you valuable mini seconds off your search time now. It's just unveiled a new feature which aims to second-guess your search before you've even finished typing. It's getting beyond my comprehension.

But Michael Copeland from "Fortune" was there for the announcement and joins us from San Francisco to explain.

Michael?

MICHAEL COPELAND, SENIOR WRITER, "FORTUNE": Well, it -- it -- it reads your mind, I mean, sort of. You start typing in a search query -- and it can be just a few letters. And based on what you've searched, what billions of others have searched in the past, Google will predict what you're looking for. And so instantly search results kind of flow down the page. You don't have to hit the search button, you don't have to hit return. You just get it automatically.

FOSTER: OK. And I just want to mention something else, Google TV. Nothing was mentioned about that at the conference, was it, because this is something people are getting very excited about?

COPELAND: No, Google TV, I -- I'm expecting we'll get sort of the -- the hype going closer to the holiday season. But nothing -- nothing today. There was a little bit in Berlin, I guess, the last couple of days. But nothing today in San Francisco.

FOSTER: OK. Wait to hear on that.

Michael, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from there.

Now, New York Fashion Week gets a makeover on the other coast of the U.S. It means millions of dollars for Big Apple businesses. We're there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: New York Fashion Week starts tomorrow. It's the big one. And designers aren't the only ones hoping for success in hard times. The event generates an eye-catching $770 million for New York City businesses.

CNN's very dapper Richard Roth joins us live from the event's new home at Lincoln Center.

Did you have to concentrate on what you were wearing today -- Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Anybody who knows me knows that I didn't concentrate very well before getting dressed. But we'll talk about that later.

What's important to know is that here, at Lincoln Center, a cultural institution in the so-called Big Apple, is now where the Fashion Week extravaganza will be held twice a year. Since 1993, it's been conduct at Bryant Park, which is in the Midtown of Manhattan, much smaller quarters. Now, they're going to have more room here. This is a big deal in New York City and even for those around the world, the Fashion Week.

And the fashion industry, in particular, is the second largest economic engine in New York City.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Fashion is critical to New York City's future. The industry itself, you should know, supports than -- more than 175,000 jobs in apparel design, garment manufacturing, retailing and other areas. And all told, it generates some $10 billion a year in wages. And Fashion Week's two annual events alone have a $750 million impact on our economy. And that includes millions of dollars spent in our city's hotels, restaurants and small businesses.

Let me point out that New York City has more fashion houses -- double the number of any other city in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Ninety fashion designers from around the world will be represented here. These are scenes from last year's fashion show, the BCBG Collection. It's going to be the spring collection for everyone, even though we're headed to winter, which somehow I have to deal with here in New York. According to the New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the Fashion Council of Designers president, Diane Von Furstenberg, the fashion industry is recovering from that economic and -- recession a couple of years ago, which many are still feeling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA: We just want to be -- want people to shop. So we are making progress, yes.

BLOOMBERG: I mean I think if you talk to some of the great designers, Dion, Hilfiger and Karan and our friend, Oscar de la Renta and Caroline Herrera and, you know, all of these people, they'll tell you that the market is functions. And in tough times, they -- it's -- it's a little bit harder to do business. But remember, people still need clothes. And they've made change...

FURSTENBERG: And we have a lot of tourists.

BLOOMBERG: Right. We have a lot of tourists coming in. We're going to set a record this year for the number of tourists in New York City in the middle of a national and international recession.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Now, one of the main points Bloomberg made, a negative one, is he says and it -- the biggest impediment to the fashion industry is the United States immigration policy. And it is keeping out potential future designers and keeping out people who could help manufacture products that could be sold back overseas to help the U.S. economy -- Max.

FOSTER: OK. Richard, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

President Obama doing his bit for the U.S. economy, as well, today. We're going to return to the U.S. state of Ohio. In his second economic speech of the week, President Obama has laid out new measures to boost the economy there.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last 19 months, not just roads and bridges, but high speed railroads and expanded broadband access. All together, these projects have led to thousands of good, private sector jobs, especially for those in the trades.

Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects, fought them tooth and nail. But I should say it didn't stop a lot of them from showing up at the ribbon cuttings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: President Obama speaking in the last hour.

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

"MARKETPLACE AFRICA" starts right now.

END