Report from Obama’s Los Altos Hills fundraiser

My story will be posted soon to mercurynews.com, but here’s the entire pool report I just filed from President Obama’s remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser at the Los Altos Hills home of real estate mogul George Marcus:

Press was shown into backyard of real estate mogul George Marcus’s sumptuous back yard at 11:53 a.m., where guests were gathered at tables under a tent next to the tennis court. Tickets for this event cost $10,000 per person, or $32,400 per couple with a VIP photo opportunity.

The president strode into the tent at 11:59 a.m. and was briefly introduced by Marcus. Remarks began at noon.

Obama said there are two reasons he’s here: the fine weather, and the connection he made with George and Judy Marcus’ infant granddaughter. “I may take her with me.” He lauded Marcus as someone who has lived the American dream, remembers it and wants to give back. He praised House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who was seated in the middle of the crowd, saying he needs her back as Speaker. He also recognized Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, as well as Democratic House candidates Michael Eggman (CA10) and Amanda Renteria (CA21).

Also spotted in the audience: Pelosi’s daughters Christina and Alexandra, and her son Paul Jr.

“One of my main functions here is to just say thank you” for all the support in years past, the president said.

“When we came into office, we were going through the worst economy since the Great Depression,” he said, but the record of the past five years is “some pretty remarkable progress” with the economy improved by almost every measure. Also, millions more Americans have health care, he noted, while high school dropouts have decreased and college enrollments have increased.

Silicon Valley represents the spirit of dynamism that typifies the American economy, he said, yet there’s still a lot of anxiety as profits have accrued almost only to those at the very top while the middle class “is stuck, they feel like they’re treading water.”

“It feels as if Washington doesn’t work” and ignores those in need, he said.

Investing in things like early childhood education will bring massive returns, Obama said, and 28 million would benefit from raising the federal minimum wage. Helping working families with child care would relieve a great burden, and ensuring equal pay for women who do equal work would help support families, he said.

“We have some big technical issues – what’s the next big energy breakthrough that’s going to help us fully contain the impacts of climate change,” he said, and economic issues, too.

“But if we just took some commonsense steps, this country would grow faster… and families would be better off,” he said.

The reason things aren’t working is that one party is interested only in proving that government doesn’t work, and saying no to these commonsense steps, Obama said.

“I hope that the reason you’re here today is that you want to get something done… We have to break this cycle of gridlock and cynicism,” he said – and both parties can and should work to advance the common good. “I’d love nothing more than a loyal and rational opposition, but that’s not what we have right now.”

Democrats must overcome their “congenital defect” of not voting in midterm elections, he said, and get as fired up about November as they did about his own campaigns in 2008 and 2012. “I need partners, I need help.”

POTUS concluded his remarks at 12:13 and the press was ushered out before he began taking questions. He did acknowledge his admiration of one reporter’s fedora as the press departed; sadly, the aforementioned headgear was not worn by your pooler.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Obama’s comments can be summarized as BS BS BS BS BS BS BS.

    Oh! Did I mention BS?

  • Guest

    I think Mike Honda may have erred making it a point to meet Obama’s helicopter at this rtizy Los Altos fundraiser. As I understand it hundreds of Hispanic American’s – angry at OBama for ramping up deportations of border crossers – were also there to meet Obama ‘s helicopter. Honda’s standing in the Hispanic community will likely take a hit, I would guess. On top of that this fundraiser was held at some plutocrats’s mansion, got to think many demonstrators were thinking of those kids sitting in detention centers waiting to get sent back to a place where they have no future and are unsafe. And also possibly thinking about all the unemployment and under-employment in the US today.Yet here was Honda – and Obama – partying it up with the plutocrats, who have so much money they can pay 35,000 to get a picture with the president. Had to have been a weird night, I would think. Honda’s insistence that he be there, just another example of Mike Honda world-class-bumbler.

  • Elwood

    You go, Ro’s staff!

    Do you think he’ll have enough money to pay you until November? Some of you may have to go.

  • Elwood
  • JohnW

    They should start going back up when the GOP gets in gear on impeachment after the midterms. They can’t help themselves.

    See the Gallup link below for the lowest approval ratings for all the presidents starting with Truman:

    Truman 22%
    Eisenhower 48%
    JFK 56%
    LBJ 35%
    Nixon 24%
    Ford 37%
    Carter 28%
    Reagan 35%
    Bush 41 29%
    Clinton 37%
    Bush 43 25%


  • Elwood

    Thank you for the history lesson, John, but I’m much more interested in current events.

  • JohnW

    No, I think you’re much more interested in whatever narrative is available to indulge in your favorite spot of Obama-bashing. I’m not suggesting that his current poll numbers are anything to write home about or that they are meaningless. However, I do think it is worth noting that even 39% approval is above the Gallup low points for every president except Eisenhower and JFK. It’s 50 percent above the low points for either Bush, and above Reagan and Clinton, both of whom have current approval ratings that are quite respectable.

  • Elwood

    Obama bashing? Oh, please! Everyone knows that even after 5 1/2 years it’s still Bush’s fault!

  • JohnW

    Pretty much!

  • Elwood

    Neither the Israelis or Hamas cares a rat’s tiddly about what Barack Obama or John Kerry have to say.

    They regard them both as insignificant dufuses.

    And they’re right. We have a pair of lightweights attempting to represent us in international diplomacy.

    And failing miserably.

  • JohnW

    And your example of an American president or Secretary of State who has done better on Middle East peace issues would be????

    But I do agree that John Kerry jumping into the middle is a waste of time and counterproductive. Israel will stop when it has achieved what it set out to do, or when it decides it is counterproductive to continue. I totally support Israel on this. However, Hamas was losing political support in Gaza before this started. Now they are popular again.