Among the guests at the Atherton fundraiser: Jan Brandt, vice chair emeritus of AOL; Dennis Troper, Google product management director; Tim Westergren, Pandora Media founder; and Susan Wojcicki, Google senior vice president.
Press was escorted into large outdoor tent at 7:55 p.m. POTUS and Doug Goldman entered at 7:58 p.m. Goldman said the property has been in his family since 1906, and he and his wife tried to welcome POTUS with Hawaiian decoration theme: floral arrangements, tablecloths, potted palms, hurricane lanterns, leis.
Goldman said the Recovery Act was a “brilliant” move, “saving more than 1 million jobs.” “It worked so well, some of your opponents are trying to take credit for it,” he said. Goldman also credited POTUS for ending Iraq war, killing OBL and voicing support for same-sex marriage, the latter of which drew the loudest cheers and applause from the audience.
POTUS began talking at 8:03 p.m., thanking the Goldmans for their hospitality: “They have had my back from the get-go, at a time when not many people knew who I was.”
He thanked David Crosby and Graham Nash (Stephen Stills is NOT in attendance): “It’s not every day you get Rock and Roll Hall of Famers strumming the guitar for you.” And he thanked actor Don Cheadle for his presence and support, but promised not to talk about their recent basketball game. Cheadle responded: “Thank you.”
“We’ve gone through three and a half of the toughest years in our lifetime,” the president said, with so many millions of jobs lost. “And we’ve still got a long way to go. In California and across the country there are still a lot of people who are hurting” from joblessness, risk of losing their homes, unaffordable education. “Our work is not done. The good news is, we’re beginning to steer that ship in the right direction.”
President Obama said he’s proud of his administration’s educational reforms, and said the nation must continue to make scientific advancements in order to remain globally competitive. “America continues to have the best workers and the best businesses in the world – we just have to get organized, and we’re starting to do that.”
The Affordable Care act has begun making health care more affordable and accessible; fuel economy standards for cars have been doubled; clean energy production has been doubled; and foreign oil imports are at a 15-year low, he said. The Iraq war is over and Afghanistan is ending, while the U.S. is regaining international respect.
“We continue to be the agenda setters,” he said, shaping international rules and norms on issues from terrorism to climate change to poverty. “People are paying attention, people are listening, and people are hungry for our leadership.”
But he needs another term to seal the deal, he said.
“This is a country full of decent people who believe in America and are generous and kind and tolerant,” the president said.
He talked about being at a high school graduation earlier this week in Joplin, Mo., which was ravaged by a tornado last year, and meeting a senior who lost both his parents, spent five weeks in physical rehab and had to care for his sister yet still is graduating and going on to college. “That captures who we are and what we’re about” as a nation, he said, leaving him “more determined than I was in 2008” to carry on.
Press was ushered out at 8:14 p.m., as he started a question and answer session with the audience. Press is now (8:35 p.m.) in vans, waiting for departure to Redwood City.