Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered a "strong" and "determined" defense of his intent to allow Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans to expire while preserving cuts for middle-income earners, according to conversations with several people who attended a meeting between the president and labor and progressive leaders.
The meeting at the White House - along with a second unannounced meeting with representatives from roughly a dozen groups focused on women's issues - was the start of a lengthy process of negotiating a resolution to the nation's impending budget crisis.
Obama is scheduled to meet with business leaders on Wednesday and congressional leaders from both parties on Friday. They include:
* Mark Bertolini, President, Chairman and CEO, Aetna
* Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox
* Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express
* David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell
* Mike Duke, President and CEO, Walmart
* Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric
* Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO, Dow
* Robert McDonald, President and CEO, Proctor & Gamble
* Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Ford
* Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo.
* Ginni Rometty, President, Chairman and CEO, IBM
* John Watson, Chairman and CEO, Chevron
This morning on "Early Start," Ali Velshi explains how these business leaders could contribute to helping the U.S. economy.