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More Barack by the Bay

Before Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., holds a mass grassroots fundraiser in San Francisco next Wednesday, he’ll spend some time earlier that day holding a town-hall meeting with Google employees (an event not open to the public) and touring the company’s Mountain View headquarters.

Google’s wallets certainly seem to like Obama. A database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics shows workers listing Google as their employer have anted up $175,450 to presidential campaigns this cycle. Of that, $93,750 has gone to Obama; $40,050 to Hillary Clinton; $22,650 to Ron Paul; $5,600 to Rudy Giuliani; $4,500 to John Edwards; $3,800 to Bill Richardson; $2,300 to John McCain; $2,300 to Sam Brownback; and $500 to Fred Thompson.

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Fred Thompson visits the Bay Area this week

fred-thompson.jpgFred Thompson, some Republicans’ favorite Law & Order star will be raking in the bucks Wednesday at three Northern California fundraisers: an 8:30 a.m. at the Los Gatos home of Creative Brands Group Chairman and CEO Ken Raasch; an 11:30 a.m. lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel on Market Street in San Francisco; and a 4 p.m. reception at the Carmichael home of Gene Raper, a political consultant to Indian tribes and Republican candidates including 2002 gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon.

All are $250 per ticket, $1,000 with a photo opportunity, $2,300 with a private greeting; yes, it’s Halloween, so maybe everyone will wear masks in addition to the “business attire” requested on the invitation. I’d like to think so, at least. I’d wear a Rudy Giuliani mask… ooooooh, scaaaaarrry… considering the latest poll numbers, which show Giuliani still leading the pack.

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‘$9.11 for Rudy’

The motif of a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani hosted by a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is raising eyebrows, the Associated Press reports.

According to the invitation, “$9.11 for Rudy” is an “independent, non-denominational grass-roots campaign to raise $10,000 in small increments to show how many individual, everyday Americans support ‘America’s Mayor.'”

Can anybody say, “politicization of America’s darkest hour?”

sofaer.jpgDemocratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd‘s campaign quickly branded the gimmick “absolutely unconscionable, shameless and sickening” and suggested Giuliani “should reject and/or return any money raised” through the party, to be held this Wednesday night at the Palo Alto home of Abraham Sofaer, a legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State from 1985 to 1990.

A Giuliani spokeswoman said the idea was selected without the campaign’s knowledge and was “an unfortunate choice.”

Sofaer told the AP he had nothing to do with the decision to ask for the $9.11. “There are some young people who came up with it,” he said Monday evening, referring other questions to Giuliani’s campaign and saying, “I’m just providing support for him. He’s an old friend of mine.”

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Candidates a poppin’

A few presidential candidates are prying themselves free of Iowa and bringing their road shows to the Golden State in the next week, including a large-scale rally in Oakland.

Republican Mitt Romney will host “Ask Mitt Anything” town hall meetings Sunday at Chapman University in Orange and then at 2:30 p.m. Monday at David’s Restaurant Banquet Center, 5151 Stars & Stripes Drive in Santa Clara. He’ll swing through Bakersfield on Tuesday, Long Beach on Wednesday and Sacramento on Thursday for various town halls, meet-and-greets and — presumably — fundraisers.

Republican Rudy Giuliani is planning public events next Thursday in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Lancaster, and Friday in Los Angeles and the Napa Valley, details not yet announced.

Democrat Dennis Kucinich is scheduled to hit San Luis Obispo, Templeton, Atascadero and Westlake Village for a series of public events and private fundraisers tomorrow; Santa Barbara, and Ojai on Sunday; and Santa Barbara again Monday before appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno — no Bay Area appearances scheduled for this swing through, it seems.

And, last but most local, Democrat Hillary Clinton plans a big “Club44” rally in downtown Oakland next Sunday, Sept. 30, “an old-fashioned block party where thousands of residents from throughout the Bay Area will spend the afternoon with friends, co-workers, neighbors and family members in support of Hillary Clinton,” her campaign says. “Club44” is the campaign’s effort to engage women to make history by electing Clinton as the nation’s 44th President.

The Oakland event — 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Clay Street between 12th and 14th streets, between the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and City Center — will feature live entertainment, food vendors and family fun, the campaign says. Tickets cost $20 each (kids under 18 enter free) and are available by clicking here.

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CA GOP veteran named Thompson’s spokeswoman

hanretty.jpgFred Thompson‘s presidential campaign has hired veteran California GOP communications strategist Karen Hanretty as deputy communications director to help coordinate the candidate’s media strategy and be its on-the-record spokeswoman.

Hanretty was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign press secretary during the 2003 recall, and after that was the California GOP‘s communications director until 2005.

“Quite simply, Karen is one of the best there is and she will be an enormous asset to our team,” said Todd Harris, the Thompson campaign’s communications director — Hanretty’s once and now again boss, as Harris was Schwarzenegger’s co-communications director in ’03.

Hanretty has gained fame as a national political commentator on Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN, including programs such as The O’Reilly Factor and Hardball with Chris Matthews. She’s also a frequent guest on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, where she has appeared as guest host for the popular show.

I wonder if this blog posting she wrote in June about Thompson’s wife helpled seal the deal? Anyway, an unscientific straw poll of California State Fair attendees found Thompson to be in second place among the GOP candidates, behind Rudy Giuliani. It’ll be up to Hanretty to help turn that buzz into something real.

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Rudy rolls out California business team

Rudy Giuliani rolled out his “California Business Leaders for Rudy” team today to “spread Rudy’s commitment to fiscal discipline, ending wasteful government spending and cutting taxes.”

The chairwoman is Kim Quinones, a vice president of Ramirez and Company in Pacific Palisades. The members are:

Susan Allen, Owner, Bayside Communications, Capitola
Pam Corradi, Owner, Corradi Arms, Inc., Burbank
James Crean, Vice President, Deep Gold Exploration, Inc., Rancho Palos Verdes
Jack Davis, Owner, Jeda Generation Auto Upholstery, San Jose
Joe Destein, Self-Employed Developer, Novato
Howard Epstein, Investor, San Francisco
Don Genhart, Owner, Don’s Pet Service, Palm Desert
Susan Gibbs, Membership Director, CICC Wellness Center, Colusa
Mike Harris, Vice President, Cross Creek, Petaluma
Ted Jackson, self-employed consultant, Sacramento
John Karczynski, Mortgage Broker, Washington Mutual S&L, Anaheim
Andrew Kline, Partner, Park Lane, Los Angeles
Eric Linder, Account Executive, USA National Title, Corona
Vic Marani, Self-Employed Consultant, Rio Del Mar
Teresa Merkle, Co-Owner, Paradigm Shift World Wide, Northridge
Wendy Moodie, Co-Owner, Paradigm Shift World Wide, Northridge
Debi Schultz, Self-Employed Event Planner, Simi Valley
Stuart Weil, Owner, Blue Lobster Farms, Madera

Note: Only two — Epstein and Davis — are from the Bay Area. Epstein also is the San Francisco Republican Party’s vice chairman for political affairs. Davis, the only Silicon Valley member, owns an auto-upholstery business and is president of the Santa Clara Valley Republican Assembly, the South Bay affiliate of the conservative grassroots California Republican Assembly.

Not exactly a Bay Area powerhouse, here…