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The report from Mitt Romney’s SF fundraiser

I’ve just filed my pool report from San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. Here it is, verbatim:

Romney entered the Fairmont Hotel’s Gold room at 5:32 p.m. to a cheering, standing ovation. About 250 attendees had been sipping drinks and noshing on shrimp cocktails.

Boyd Smith of Palo Alto – real estate development and investment mogul, a former Mormon stake president, and finance chairman for Romney’s campaign in
California – before introducing Romney called for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Aurora, Colo., massacre and their families. He said America is at one of its most important moments, in “a war of ideas, a war of philosophy – it’s a war that can be won however, by using that analogy, if Mitt Romney is our general. … I consider myself, and am proud to be a foot-soldier. I ask you to join me.”

Romney began speaking at 5:38 p.m.

“Our hearts are with the many people who’ve lost loved ones in Colorado,” he said, adding President Obama’s visit to Aurora was entirely appropriate and promising to deliver less partisan remarks today given the nation’s mourning.

“We turn to a power greater than our own to understand purpose and if not to understand at least to be able to soothe the wounds of those who have been so seriously hurt,” he said.

Romney noted a gathering in the audience of Gold Star and Blue Star families – those who’ve lost relatives in military service, and those who have relatives currently serving, respectively. He had them stand, and they were given applause. Romney noted “the great sense of unity that comes in this country as we recognize those who serve our country.”

Romney told a story from his time as governor, of going to Boston’s airport to meet a servicemember’s casket as it was returned from a battlefield; people lined up several deep at the airport’s windows. “Every single person had a hand on their heart” and expressions of appreciation on their faces, he said.

Turning to the economy, Romney said “these are tough times and even people working are having real tough times trying to make ends meet.” Consumer confidence is down, and economic growth is sluggish, he said.

Why run for president when things are so tough? “The answer is: I think I can fix it.”

“I’ve had the unusual experience in my life of working in places that were troubled,” he said, from a struggling company to a floundering Salt Lake City Olympics, to a troubled state as governor.

“Boy, somebody’s got to do something for California,” he said, earning laughter and applause. “California’s got to make a couple of tough decisions; the right leadership would make a difference here.”

“We are a hard working energetic patriotic risk-taking entrepreneurial people,” he said, praising those who strive to work or seek more education to get better jobs; he told several anecdotes about people who’ve built their own business in lawn-mowing, upholstery and other fields. “There is that entrepreneurialism in the American spirit which if tapped will allow us to reboot our economy, and soon.”

To do so, Romney said he would “take advantage of our energy resources … this is our ace in the hole.” America has “massive new resources, both in oil and gas” which must be tapped, he said. “We have energy in massive amounts,” he said, citing an article he saw that said “America can be the largest energy producer in the world.”

Second, Romney said, he would pursue more foreign trade, which he said “puts more Americans to work in higher-paying jobs.”

“Number three, you’ve got to finally balance our budget, you can’t keep spending more money than you take it,” Romney said, adding “real leadership” in Congress and the White House would immediately end any talk of America being in decline.

He said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has spoken of building human capital as well as financial capital in order to strengthen the economy, but that can’t be accomplished if schools are underperforming. Romney singled out Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, California’s 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee – who got a brief standing ovation – to report from the back of the room that California ranks toward the bottom of the nation in academic performance.

“That’s got to change, and that’s number four in my plan to get America working again,” he said.

And fifth, he said, “We have restore economic freedom in this country.” The founding fathers knew freedom comes from God, not government, and that freedom includes life and liberty – protected by our servicemembers – as well as the pursuit of happiness, the opportunity to pursue our own dreams. “This is a free land.”

Romney said he was with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. – rumored to be on his short list of potential vice presidential running mates – the other day, discussing what it was like to be an immigrant family in Florida, an embrace of the American dream of working hard and taking risks to attain one’s dreams.

“I love this country, I love America, I love the principles on which America was founded, I want to restore those principles,” he said, noting 23 million people are out of work or have stopped looking. “These are real human beings, our fellow citizens. … We need to put them back to work.”

“I’m going to get the job done. I’m going to do it. We’re going to do it together,” he said, as the crowd rose to its feet in applause.

He said former British prime minister Tony Blair told him that what the world fears most is a weak America. “American strength is the best ally peace has ever known,” Romney said.

America has a duty to hold aloft a torch of freedom and opportunity, he said, and as the “Greatest Generation” of World War II fades away, it’s up to use to take up that torch.

“This is the time for us to step forward and take that torch,” he said.

Romney concluded his remarks at 6:07 p.m.

Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, campaign finance, Mitt Romney | 5 Comments »

CBS’ Schieffer objects to Romney campaign’s ad

The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney launched this ad yesterday:

http://youtu.be/roodiGY0W1A

Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and anchor of “Face the Nation” – and the first face you see in Romney’s ad – said yesterday he’s not amused.

“Obviously, I have no connection with the Romney campaign. This was done without our permission. It comes as a total surprise to me,” he said on his show yesterday. “That was a question that I posed to David Axelrod, the president’s campaign manager. I wasn’t stating something there. I was asking somebody else a question.”

Actually, it appears this was a question that Schieffer had posed to former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during the May 27 show. He did, however, ask similar questions of Axelrod one week later.

I’m not a big fan of journalists’ words being taken out of context to score political points – but then again, Schieffer did choose to pose that question using those words. What are your thoughts?

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency | 6 Comments »

A bunch of links on something that won’t happen

Boy, Matt Drudge really got the political media world buzzing with his unsubstantiated rumor that Condoleezza Rice is on Mitt Romney’s short list of potential running mates.

She lives and works here in the Bay Area, so we had to do a story. But here’s some of what other people are saying:

“Bull shiitake mushrooms.” – Erick Erickson, RedState

“It’s not going to happen.” – Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle

“Zero chance.” – Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle

“As trial balloons go, this was a fairly transparent one.” – Michael D. Shear, New York Times

“Likely answer? It’s not happening.” – Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times

“I’m not seeing any group of voters that she would automatically attract.” – Katrina Trinko, National Review Online

“Unqualified.” – Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, via Politico

“Condoleezza Rice would be a wonderful vice-president.” – Sarah Palin on CNN, via the Washington Examiner

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 2 Comments »

Romney, Obama and lots of protesters

Bay Area residents can expect a double-whammy of presidential fundraising, and a bevy of protests to go along with it.

Shortly after news broke of President Barack Obama’s fundraising trip to Piedmont and Oakland on Monday, July 23, invitations surfaced for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s events in Woodside and San Francisco on Sunday, July 22.

And protesters will be sure to flock to both.

In fact, a call for protesters to stage outside the president’s 4:30 p.m. event at the Fox Theater on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue went forth Thursday on the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center’s website.

“I hope you’ll be able to come out, so we can give our President a real East Bay unwelcome, and let him know we’re not happy that he does not have our backs when the big banks foreclose our homes, corporations are allowed to pollute and leave brown fields behind, neighborhood schools are being closed, the police kill people of color with no accountability, OPD kicks the s— out of peaceful protesters, and the feds are raiding our cannabis clubs,” the post said. “The time is now. This is our big chance.”

All $100 and $250 seats for the Fox Theater event have sold out already; VIP seating tickets remain at $1,000, or $7,500 for event-sponsor status including admission to a photo reception; sponsors can then bring additional guests to the photo reception for $2,500 each.

The president also is scheduled to attend a $35,800-a-head dinner reception starting at 4:15 p.m. at the Piedmont home of progressive activist/attorney Quinn Delaney & her husband, real estate developer Wayne Jordan; Jordan is among Obama’s foremost “bundlers.”

And the president earlier that day will hold a roundtable for tech leaders — also at $35,800 per person — at an East Bay location yet to be disclosed.

But Romney will be in the Bay Area sooner, with three events scheduled for the day before the president’s visit.

Romney will have a $50,000-a-head luncheon at the Woodside home of Tom Siebel, founder of C3 and Siebel Systems. Among those scheduled to attend: former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman; Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy; and Howard Leach, the former U.S. ambassador to France.

Then Romney heads for a 4:45 p.m. event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, with tickets ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Former San Francisco Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan will be among the hosts there.

Romney will cap the day with a 6:30 p.m. dinner in Pacific Heights hosted by Shaklee Corp. chairman and CEO Roger Barnett, with a $50,000-a-head price tag.

And might Romney, while he’s here, announce the Bay Area’s own former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, as the Drudge Report predicted Thursday? Well, you never know. But RedState’s Erick Erickson says “bull shiitake mushrooms” to that.

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency | 3 Comments »

Watch Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today addressed the 103rd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston, and major media outlets are making much of the booing he received there.

An excerpt:

“Now, as you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system. I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed. I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, ‘You know, there’s just too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.’ What you hear, of course, is how do we bring in jobs? How do we make good, honest employers want to move in, stay in? And with the shape the economy is in today, we’re asking that question more and more. Free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class. We have seen in recent years what it’s like to have less free enterprise. As president, I will show the good things that can happen when we have more free enterprise – more business activity, more jobs, more opportunity, more paychecks, more savings accounts. On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for the middle class. And I don’t just mean for those who are middle class now – I also mean for those who have waited so long for their chance to join the middle class.”

“We are pleased that Governor Romney addressed our convention today,” NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock said in a statement issued after the speech. “This morning Governor Romney laid out his policy agenda for this nation. Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with what the NAACP stands for – whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system or the path forward on marriage equality. We appreciate that he was courageous and took the opportunity to speak with us directly.”

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, formerly of Alameda, agreed that “(w)hile we are glad that Governor Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests. His criticism of the Affordable Care Act – legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions – signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 5 Comments »

Obama campaign launches ‘Betting on California’

The Obama campaign on Monday launched a “Betting on California” press tour to underscore the president’s support of workers and middle-class families while calling Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s record into doubt.

But Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, wouldn’t offer their own opinions on extending the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class families. President Obama today called for extending the cuts for families making less than $250,000 but letting the cuts expire for those making more; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, in May had said that threshold won’t make it through Congress, and instead urged pursuing a $1 million cutoff.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz“There is not a rift or a difference of opinion in the Democratic party about extending tax cuts for the middle class,” Wasserman Schultz insisted to reporters on a teleconference call Monday. “We have consistently fought for middle-class tax breaks.”

“I’d like nothing better than to be debating whether it should be $250,000 or $1 million,” she added. “But I can’t imagine they (Republicans) will even bring the proposal to the floor.”

Lee said Pelosi’s opinions on “the political realities of what she believed could or could not get through Congress” doesn’t indicate a policy disagreement. “As the process evolves, we’ll come up with a number that makes sense for everyone. I don’t see this as a rift.”

Romney wants to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all, including the nation’s wealthiest. “Americans are struggling in a ‘zombie economy’ and President Obama’s only answer is to pass one of the largest tax hikes in history,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement issued Monday. “President Obama’s tax increases on families and job creators will create more economic uncertainty and fewer opportunities for struggling middle-class families. From day one, Mitt Romney will take action to lower marginal rates, help middle-class Americans save and invest, and jumpstart economic growth and job creation.”

The “Betting on California” theme – which will include events across the state, including ones Tuesday in Oakland and Thursday in San Francisco – is modeled on the “Betting on America” bus tour that President Obama took through Ohio and Pennsylvania last week to engage workers and middle-class families.

“Whether it’s longshore workers or teachers or the entertainment industry … this is a make-or-break time, and the president has a strong record of standing by the middle class,” Maria Elena Durazo, a national Obama Campaign co-chair and executive secretary–treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, told reporters on Monday’s call. “We want a hand up for working men and women, not a hand-out.”

Durazo cited the recent Vanity Fair article highlighting Romney’s foreign bank accounts and business interests, which may be protecting him from paying some U.S. taxes. “We need a leader that bets on us and not one that bets against us.”

“Mitt Romney is not standing by the middle class, he’s still standing by his belief that rebuilding our economy is a top-down policy … but it never seems to reach any of us,” Durazo said.

Wasserman Schultz said Romney finished his tenure as Massachusetts’ governor, his state ranked first in debt per capita and 47th in job creation. “Mitt Romney knows that’s not a record to run on, that’s a record to run from,” she said.

Sources say President Obama is returning to the Bay Area on July 23 for more fundraising, his fifth such visit in the past year. Attendance at many of his fundraisers cost $35,800 per person.

Asked Monday whether the president should concentrate less on raising money from millionaires and more on engaging grassroots voters, Lee replied the bulk of the campaign’s money actually comes from small donors but Obama can’t ignore big donors if he’s to be competitive with Romney. “We’re in an era of ‘super PAC’ money and Citizens United where there’s so much corporate influence and undisclosed money in the Republican campaign.”

Romney’s fundraising in June far outstripped Obama’s, $106.1 million to $71 million, Reuters reported today.

UPDATE @ 4:03 P.M.: Tomorrow’s 2 p.m. event in Oakland will have Mayor Jean Quan and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, touring the Fat Cat Café on Telegraph Avenue. (go ahead and prepare your “fat cat” jokes now). And at 10 a.m. Thursday, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; San Francisco Labor Council executive director Tim Paulson; and San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu will gather on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to talk about middle-class families’ needs.

UPDATE @ 12:36 P.M. TUESDAY: I just got a call from the Obama campaign informing me that the Oakland event has been postponed until next week, details to come later.

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barbara Lee, campaign finance, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency, taxes, U.S. House | 4 Comments »

‘Dog on the Roof!’ book pokes fun at Romney, SF

Dog on the RoofI received today a copy of “Dog on the Roof! On the Road with Mitt & The Mutt,” a political satire novelty picture book by Bruce Kluger and David Slavin.

The small book lampoons Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s now infamous family vacation, a cross-country road-trip for which they put their dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of the car.

The book follows the Romneys through various American cities, with heavily doctored photo illustrations accompanied by verse. As we’re a Bay Area news organization, I thought I might share the San Francisco section:

(from Romney)

Now, boys, close your eyes,
for we’ve hit rock bottom –
a city that’s ruled
by Gomorrah and Sodom.

A village of sinners
who clamor for booty,
and bow at the altar
of Liza and Judy.

Don’t mean to be prissy,
don’t want to disparage –
they’re free to cut hair,
but they’ll never have marriage!

(and, from Seamus)

These people love Broadway,
so how ‘bout a spoof?
Instead of a fiddler –
a dog on the roof!

I’m am not anticipating that this will be a National Book Award recipient.

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, books, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »

Gone, but not forgotten

Though Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clinched his party’s nomination last week with his win in the Texas primary, Californian Republicans went to the polls today to cast their ballots – and early returns showed eight out of 10 of them were accepting the inevitable.

As of 11 p.m., Romney had about 80.7 percent of the vote, while Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., followed with 9.4 percent. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had 5 percent of the vote, even though he dropped out well before former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was at 3.8 percent.

Posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul | No Comments »

Romney releases web video of Solyndra visit

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today released a web video featuring his visit yesterday to bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra in Fremont:

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency | 2 Comments »

Report from inside Romney’s Bay Area fundraiser

The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, whom the Romney campaign selected as its pool reporter for tonight’s fundraiser in Hillsborough, has just filed her report. Here it is, verbatim:

Your pool was briefly ushered into Chateau Carolands interior,which was amazing: dominated by black and white tiles, Roman columns, statues, huge hanging tapestries, and a 75 foot atrium said to be the largest of any private residence in the United States.

But the event itself was held in a tent outside in the expansive gardens, designed to resemble those of Versailles. Guests sat on white chairs or stood to listen to Romney and speakers on a stage before a bank of American flags.

Event drew 300 people, with guests including Ambassador Howard Leach, Secretaries Rice and Shultz, and Mrs. Romney.
Not present were Meg Whitman, the HP CEO – who was a host of Ann Romney’s earlier “ladies luncheon,’’ or Carly Fiorina, a Romney endorser.

Tickets ranged from $2,500 to $50,000 for “Founder” status.

Guests were told that it was “the most successful event that we’ve had in California,’’ but campaign officials would not divulge a number.

The whole program lasted 46 minutes, including intros by Shultz and Rice, who both formally endorsed Romney.

Mrs. Romney also spoke briefly.

Remarks at length below:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »