Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the '2012 presidential election' Category

Some clips from Obama’s speech at the SF rally

President Obama strode onto the stage at 9:32 p.m. to a cheering ovation and a blinding wall of camera flashes.

He gave shout-outs to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, representatives Barbara Lee and Pete Stark, and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and tight end Vernon Davis.

Of the athletes, he said, “I can’t help but wish them the best of luck until they play my Bears in week 11.” Good natured booing ensued.

“We’re here because everything we fought for in 2008 is on the line in 2012, and I’m going to need your help to finish what we started.”

Citing the new 7.8 percent unemployment figure, “Manufacturers are coming back to America, home values are on the rise, but we are not there yet, we are not where we need to be yet.”

“We have come too far to turn back now. The last thing we can afford now, California, is four years of the very same policies that led us into the mess in the first place.”

The centerpiece of Romney’s plan is a $5 trillion tax cut geared toward the wealthy, Obama said. “No, no – don’t boo. Vote!”

Suddenly “a guy pretending to be mitt Romney stood on a stage next to me” a few days ago in Denver and pretended that such a tax cut isn’t his plan – “Pay no attention to that tax cut behind the curtain.”

“You didn’t know this but for all you moms and kids out there you should have confidence that finally, someone is cracking down on Big Bird. Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban, he’s headed for the border. Oscar is hiding out in his trash can… Gov. Romney’s plan is to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s going to bring the hammer down on Sesame Street.”

At the debate, “what was being presented (by Romney) was not leadership, it was salesmanship.”

Romney today said ending the war in Iraq as we did was a mistake. “I disagree – bringing our troops home was the right thing to do,” he said, and we have to serve our returning veterans as well as they served us.

Gov. Romney says it’s fair that he pays less than a teacher making $50,000 a year, Obama said. “Don’t boo – vote!”

“That’s what change was about – you, all of us, coming together.”

“We cannot afford to be complacent and we cannot afford to be cynical. We’ve got to look back at the progress we’ve made and that should give us confidence.”

“Change takes time. We always said it would take more than one term or even one president. We said it would take more than one party. And by the way, no, it doesn’t just take me. That is not the deal. The deal is, it takes all of us.”

It won’t happen with “somebody who writes off half the nation before he even takes office, but it also doesn’t happen if half the nation writes itself off by not participating.”

“I’m not fighting for Democratic jobs or Republican jobs, I’m fighting for American jobs.”

The president left the stage at 9:57 p.m. to a thunderous ovation and Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama | 1 Comment »

Pool report from Obama’s SF dinner fundraiser

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, serving as the local pool reporter for President Obama’s fundraising dinner tonight at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco’s Civic Center, filed this report a short while ago:

The first VIP fundraiser of the evening for 100 donors, held in a hall in the Civic Auditorium, was hosted by chef Alice Waters. She was wearing a plum scarf and was present in the hall – where she presided over long wooden banquet tables decorated in a fall theme with baskets of fresh fruit and apples and tall candelabras.

Fish tartare a la japonaise
Boudin blanc
Warm chanterelles on grilled toast
Fall tomato salad with homemade mozzarella
Fresh cheese with baked fig
Eggplant tagine with couscous
Duck confit with herb and frisee salad
Corncakes with mint and chive
Prosciutto and almonds

Guests sat on low long wooden benches in front of a tan velvet curtain, graced by an American flag and a California state flag.

Obama, in suit and tie, entered at 7:03 p.m. to cheers and a standing ovation.

He was introduced by Pam Hamamoto, a childhood friend of the president’s from public school in Hawaii.

She said both were new in the school; she had moved from another part of the state, and “he moved from Indonesia….but I like to think our experiences that first year were similar,” both learning to navigate new classes, new friendships and new teachers.

“I still remember the first time I saw him on the playground … a classmate asked me, ‘Do you know Barry? He’s a new kid too.’”

“It didn’t cross my mind at the time that this young boy with bare feet and chubby cheeks would grow up to be President of the United States,” she said.

She said that the two “grew up in the melting pot of Hawaii” where “respect and compassion for working people was just a way of life.”

She said back then, Obama was “an extremely hard worker” and “a fierce competitor,” as well as a leader, “just as he is today.”

“It’s been a privilege for me to be a part of this amazing ‘Obama for America’ team,” she said.

Obama began speaking at 7:07 p.m.

“Pam, that was the sweetest introduction I’ve had since I’ve been president,” he said. “I know that many of you are wondering, why does she look so much younger than him? All I can say is, genes,” he said to laughs.

“It’s true that the environment that we grew up in” provides us with “a certain ballast,” he said. Those who wonder about his “even keel” he said, can look to Hawaii. “You body surf, and you feel fine afterwards. It washes away all worries,” he said.

Obama said that “most of you have been great friends,” supporting him back to his U.S. Senate runs. He noted the campaign has 29 days left, and also noted that he and his wife celebrated their 29th anniversary. “It was on debate night,” he said, so they scheduled a date night on Saturday.

“We snuck out…there was a little private room,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was giving my wife undivided attention.”

“The waiter … at the end, as I was signing the check – and yes, I still do have a credit card,” he said, “he said, ‘Mr. President…I just want you to know that you saved my mom’s life.’”

The waiter said his mother had a stroke, didn’t get qualified for Medicare, and because of the health care law “she was able to get insurance and pay for her medications.”

Obama said as the waiter left, “I told Michelle that probably once a day I get something like that.”

“It reminds me that what we do is not sport, it’s not simply about who’s up and who’s down in the polls,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s about that young man and his mom … and the belief that in this great country of ours, we’re going to make sure that every single person is treated with dignity and with respect.”

“That’s why we do this. That’s what these events are about.”

He said his friend, Pam, was right. “I am very competitive. And I very much intend to win this election,” he said to cheers.

He urged supporters to have to be “almost obsessive” over the next 29 days, urging them to talk to “cousins and uncles and friends in battleground states.”

Speech lasted just a few minutes, and pool was ushered out as questions began.

It was a much more serene scene than outside, where crowds lined up hours in advance to get into the concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to hear John Legend and Oakland-born Michael Franti perform. Crowd is estimated at 6,000, tickets started at $100, but those lower end tickets were sold out early on.

UPDATE @ 8:19 P.M.: Carla followed up with this tidbit: Pam Hamamoto, the former schoolmate who introduced the president at the dinner, is a major Obama bundler from Tiburon; records show she has raised $200,000 to $500,000 for the president.

Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama | No Comments »

Updated info on Obama’s SF fundraisers

President Barack Obama will be holding a fundraising concert and rally this Monday evening, Oct. 8, in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, featuring musical performances by John Legend and Michael Franti.

Guests are being told to arrive at 5:30 p.m., although the president isn’t expected to arrive and speak until later in the evening.

Tickets had started at $100, but the cheap seats are long gone; all that remained Friday were preferred-seating tickets for $1,000 each and premium-seating tickets for $2,500 each. The photo reception, for which a ticket cost $7,500, has sold out too.

The president is holding a much more exclusive fundraising dinner, also at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium; contributors are paying $20,000 each to sample food prepared by celebrity chefs Alice Waters and Tyler Florence. Among those expected to attend is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith; guests will have their pictures taken with the president and John Legend.

Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, campaign finance | No Comments »

Open thread: What did you think of the debate?

Go ahead, sound off in the comments; keep it clean and don’t get personal with each other.

Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election | 27 Comments »

East Bay political calendar: Fire tax, congress and state measures

Check out these upcoming political events in the East Bay.


CONFIRE CHIEF TO TALK ABOUT TAX: Contra Costa Fire Chief Daryl Louder will address the county’s mayors Thursday about his agency’s fiscal woes and the fire safety parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Measure Q asks voters to approve a $75 annual parcel tax on a single-family home and create a tiered commercial rate, The funds would help the county’s largest fire district keep up to a third of its 28 fire stations open. The tax would expire in seven years.

The fire chief’s presentation is free and open to the public. The dinner following the business meeting is $50 a person and tickets may or may not be available at the door for the meal.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., in Concord.

The Mayors Conference is an association of the county’s 19 mayors. It meets monthly and has a variety of statutory responsibilities including the appointment of city representatives.

San Ramon

SCHOOL BOARD FORUM SET: Candidates vying for two seats on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District board have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 8.

The San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and the Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek chapter of the American Association of University Women will sponsor the event. Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen will moderate.

The candidates are incumbent Greg Marvel and challengers Mark Jewett and Dwight Winn.

Candidates will answer questions posed by the moderator and submitted from the audience.

The public event will be held from 7-8:45 p.m. at Iron Horse Middle School multipurpose room, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon.


FORUM SET: Candidates for two seats on the Pinole City Council have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 9.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause and Concerned Citizens of Pinole, the event will be moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

Three candidates are incumbents Roy Swearingen and Peter Murray, and challenger Ivette Ricco.

The open public event will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Pinole City Council chambers, 2131 Pear St., Pinole.

Pinole Community TV will air the forum on Comcast Channel 26 and AT&T Channel 99.


UOP TO HOST CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and his GOP challenger Ricky Gill will debate on Oct. 15 at the University of the Pacific’s Stockton campus.

McNerney is seeking re-election in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which encompasses the bulk of San Joaquin County and slice of far eastern Contra Costa County.

The event is co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the college’s political science department.

A team of panelists from the community will ask questions of the candidates, who will also make opening and closing statements.

The public event will be held at 6 p.m. at university’s Long Theatre, 3601 Pacific Avenue in Stockton,

Pleasant Hill

COMMISSION HOSTS FORUM: Candidates vying for the Mt. Diablo School District board will participate in a candidates’ forum Oct. 18 in Pleasant Hill.

The forum is sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission and moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

It will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.

The five candidates are incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh, and challengers Ernie DeTrinidad, Brian Lawrence, Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks. Incumbent Gary Eberhart is not seeking re-election.

Questions will be a mixed of those prepared in advance and those submitted that evening from the audience. Residents may also submit a question via email to Martin Nelis at

The forum will be broadcast on public access television Comcast Channel 28, ATT U-Verse Channel 99 and Astound Channel 29.


COLUMNISTS TACKLE 2012: Contra Costa Times’ editorial columnist Daniel Borenstein and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters will team up on Oct. 24 at the Commonwealth Club.

In “Ballot Box 2012: A Key to the CA Election,” the journalists will take a look at the issues facing Californians in the upcoming election.

In November, Californians will consider solutions to the state’s budgetary woes, campaign finance reform and a proposed repeal of the three-strikes law, among many other initiatives.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $22 for the general public, $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $7 for students with valid identification.

For more information, visit




Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Political calendar, Political events | No Comments »

Local Obama allies help fund fight against voter ID

Even as a Pennsylvania judge ruled today to block that state’s new voter ID law from taking effect before next month’s election, some major Bay Area supporters of President Obama’s announced they’ll fund efforts to stop other, similar laws.

The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund announced it’ll give half a million dollars to combat what it calls voter disenfranchisement efforts in several states. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Common Cause Education Fund, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Project Vote will receive $125,000 each.

Douglas Goldman“Our response to voter suppression is strategic,” Douglas Goldman said in a news release. “By supporting these distinct projects, we want to bring a coordinated approach to ensure that voting rights are protected.”

Douglas Goldman – a retired emergency physician, software company founder/chairman, and prominent philanthropist – is the son of Levi Strauss heirs Richard and Rhoda Goldman. He and his wife, Lisa, hosted a $35,800-per-person fundraising dinner for President Obama in May at their Atherton home. In thanking them for their hospitality, Obama said, “They have had my back from the get-go, at a time when not many people knew who I was.”

Goldman’s news release today cited a study recently published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, which said voter suppression tactics have multiplied since the 2010 mid-term election. Since then, about 38 states have instituted changes in voting procedures and requirements that include: proof of citizenship to register, shortened early voting timeframes, making it more difficult for third-party organizations to register people to vote, and photo ID requirements.

Republicans have claimed the laws aim to curb in-person voter impersonation fraud, but instances of that are extremely rare. Democrats say Republicans are passing the laws to keep young, minority, elderly and low-income voters away from the polls.

“Voter suppression is a wrong that must be righted,” Goldman said. “It is particularly sad to see special interests trying to encroach on America’s historical achievements in voting rights. Every grade-school student can recite the American maxim of ‘one person, one vote.’ Regretfully, however, these efforts direct us towards ‘one affluent, highly educated, longtime citizen; one vote.’ That is wrong! It is not the American way.”

As I’d written in last week’s story about California’s new Election Day voter registration law, Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, said Democrats have a partisan motivation, too. “Those voters who are least attached to the system — who move the most, who are poor, who are students — are the groups that have the most problems registering but are also the groups that are more likely to vote for Democrats.”

Hasen said “the ideals of equality” suggest letting as many eligible voters as possible cast ballots, but “over history we’ve fought over how broad the franchise would be.” It took constitutional amendments, the Civil War, litigation and legislation to get where we are today, he noted.

Recipients of the Goldman Fund grants intend to use the money to monitor polling places, manage voter hotlines, fund legal strategies, provide public education, and support other activities related to ensuring systematic and accessible voter registration, according to the fund’s news release.

The Goldmans created their foundation in 1992, and it has awarded nearly $60 million to more than 500 nonprofits in seven areas: democracy and civil liberties, education and literacy, environment, health and recreation, the Jewish community, reproductive health and rights, and San Francisco Bay Area institutions. The fund’s assets now total about $170 million.

Posted on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, voter registration | 18 Comments »

Cowboy Libertarian talks ‘nut cuttin’ time’ in new book


'It's Nut Cuttin' Time America!' by Patrick Dorinson, Cowboy Libertarian and former California GOP communications director

Cowboy Libertarian and ex-California Republican Party communications director Patrick Dorinson has a new book out just in time for the 2012 general election called “It’s Nut Cuttin’ Time America!”

For the uninitiated, “nut cutting” refers to that pivotal moment in a male calf’s life when a bull becomes a steer. Or castration, if you prefer the more clinical term.

I haven’t read the book yet but I’ve known Dorinson for years. And the book is almost certainly humorous in a Will Rogers fashion, that wry western common sense tone one finds in places where cowboys and cowgirls must rely on their wits if they hope to bring home the cattle in one piece.

Yeah, Dorinson dresses up real nice. I’ve seen him on numerous occasions dressed up in a spiffy suit and tie, schmoozing politicos and the press corps with his cowboy charm.

But since Dorinson left the California GOP — and the GOP entirely, to become an independent a few years ago — he has been tapping into his lengthy cowboy roots. He bought a ranch in Nevada City, writes columns, blogs and hosts a weekly radio talkshow on Saturdays near his home at Newstalk 1530 KFBK.

Liberal Bay Areaites may not agree with Dorinson’s libertarian politics but you cannot help but laugh at his turn of phrase as he describes his journey from devout Republican to avowed independent.

“I have chased more false prophets than the ancient Hebrews in the Old Testament!” he wrote in the book description materials.

Hmmm. Could Dorinson be talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger?


Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, political humor | 1 Comment »

Let someone else make the debate jokes for you

“Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates’ debate
Laugh about it, shout about it when you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose.” –Paul Simon

Might as well laugh about it, right?

But rather than having to provide your own snarky comments during the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates, now you can have a professional do it for you.

Stand-up comedians Dhaya Lakshminarayanan and Samson Koletkar are producing a series of events coinciding with the four debates at The Washington Inn, at 495 10th St. in Oakland, at which audiences watch the debates with comics who afterward dish up their best political material.

Four different headliners will be accompanied by “a cast of comics including a lesbian Latina, a black lesbian single mother, a single father of three daughters, a transsexual, a Mormon, a non-U.S. citizen and, just to balance things out, a fistful of straight white men,” the producers say:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Maureen Langan. Also appearing: Marga Gomez, Sean Keane, Trevor Hill
  • Thursday, Oct. 11 – Aundre the Wonderwoman. Also appearing: Kellen Erskine, Matt Gubser
  • Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Dan St. Paul. Also appearing: Michael O’Brien, Karinda Dobbins
  • Monday, Oct 22 – Will Durst. Also appearing, Johnny Steele, Natasha Muse.
  • All shows are from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets for each show cost $10 and are available online.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
    Under: 2012 presidential election | 1 Comment »

    Romney finishes his tough week here in Bay Area

    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney arrives in the Bay Area today for a high-priced fundraiser on the Peninsula, but only those paying to get in will know what he says there – no press will be allowed.

    Unless, of course, someone surreptitiously videotapes this evening’s event at the Strawberry Hill estate on Redington Road in Hillsborough, as someone did a similar event this past May in Florida. That video, released this week by Mother Jones, included Romney’s now-notorious comments about roughly half the country:

    “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
    “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

    Should guests at this fundraiser be frisked at the door for recording devices?

    Anyway, tickets to tonight’s event cost $500 for young professionals, $1,000 for bronze level, $2,500 for silver level and $5,000 for gold level. Giving $15,000 gets two tickets to the reception as well as a photo for two with Romney, as does bundling $25,000 to $50,000.

    Giving $50,000 gets four tickets, including two with preferred seating at a special reception, and four photo reception tickets; bundling $100,000 gets four tickets, two special reception tickets and two photo reception tickets; and a couple that gives $100,000 gets four tickets, two special reception tickets and four photo reception tickets.

    Musician David Foster will entertain the crowd. The event is to start at 4:45 p.m., but Romney isn’t scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International Airport until shortly before 6 p.m.

    The fundraiser is for Romney Victory Inc., a joint fundraising committee including Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the state GOP entities in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont.

    Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2012
    Under: 2012 presidential election, campaign finance, Mitt Romney | 17 Comments »

    Details – and tickets – for Obama’s SF fundraiser

    President Barack Obama’s Bay Area fundraiser on Monday, Oct. 8 will be at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, on Grove Street in the city’s Civic Center.

    Tickets for this 5:30 p.m. concert-rally – for which the musical guests are yet to be announced – are selling at $100 for “Muni;” $250 for “Cable Car;” $1,000 for “Ferry,” which includes preferred seating; and $2,500 for “Bay,” which includes premium seating. The $7,500 “Golden State” package gets you premium seating plus a photo opportunity with the president, and then you can pay an additional $2,500 for each guest you want in the photo with you. Tickets are available online.

    It’s not yet clear whether this will be his only event in the Bay Area; he usually does one big rally-type event and several smaller, more exclusive and expensive events in the same visit. He’ll be in Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 7.

    Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, campaign finance | No Comments »