Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Barack Obama' Category

Inside Obama’s DSCC fundraiser in Palo Alto

Here’s the local pool report I’ve just filed to the White House:

Air Force One landed at 5:50 p.m. Pacific Time at Moffett Field in Mountain View. POTUS was greeted on the tarmac by Dr. S. Pete Worden, director of the NASA Ames Research Center; Lewis Braxton III, NASA Ames’ deputy director; Col. Steve Butow, USAF Air National Guard, commander of the 129th Rescue Wing; Mountain View Mayor John Inks; and Sunnyvale Mayor Tony Spitaleri.

The motorcade left at 6:01 p.m., heading north on Highway 101 to the University Avenue exit in Palo Alto, then winding into town to the home of Flipboard CEO Mike McCue and his wife Marci. Tickets for this reception to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee started at $2,500 per head and ranged up to $12,000 per person or $15,000 per couple. A long line of well-heeled guests wended through the garden and into the side door of the photo for photos with the president.

The McCue and the president strode out the home’s back door and to a podium on the back patio at 6:38 p.m.

McCue said Obama “absolutely understands what’s happening in Silicon Valley” and has “a holistic approach to the economy,” understanding that the economy and society are intertwined.

“It is good go be back in California, especially when the weather is this good,” the president said, thanking the McCues and acknowledging the presence of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., chairman of the DSCC.

Obama said he visited a school earlier Thursday in Mooresville, N.C., where the superintendent decided a few years ago to get rid of textbooks and replace them with a laptop for every student, starting in third grade. That and having teachers rethink the whole curriculum has made it a low-spending but high-performing district now.

“You could see these kids just excited about learning and wanting to keep learning well after the school day was done,” he said.

And so the new initiative is that in five years, all schools will have high-speed connections to all students can take advantage of these technologies. “One of the best things about this is, we don’t need a vote through Congress,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

The economy is coming back, jobs are being created every month, the auto industry has recovered and financial markets are stabilizing, and so America is poised to make the 21st century its own, Obama said.

Whether it’s education, infrastructure, fiscal policies, “on all these issues, there’s a range of common-sense solutions available to us right now, and if we implement them, we’re going to leave an America behind for our kids and grandkids that is stronger and more prosperous than ever before,” he said. “We’ve got what we need in order to succeed.”

But “too often government is getting in the way of this process,” Obama said, though government must help play a role no matter how robust the private sector is. “There are some things we do better together… Often the private sector cannot or will not make those investments.”

“The reason that Washington is a problem is that right now, it’s broken – it’s not working the way it needs to,” he said.

Democrats “don’t have a monopoly on wisdom” but “we’re just not getting a lot of cooperation from the other side,” he said. There are some “glimmers of functionality,” like Bennet working with the Gang of 8 on immigration reform, but many other issues remain stymied.

Democrats believe in “a light touch” of regulations and taking care not to over-tax, but government must play its part nonetheless, he said. No other advanced nation lacks universal health care, he said, and so this must be made to happen here. And roadblocks like budget sequestration are freezing funds for important research that could move the economy forward. “We have a role to play.”

Climate change will be the most important choice this generation makes, and “we’re going to have to make some collective decisions about this,” he said. In the face of science that’s “irrefutable,” we have to balance clean energy and other means of carbon reduction with economic growth.

“Here’s the bottom line: I have never been more optimistic about America than I am right now,” Obama said, noting that people have remarked upon his gray hair and the difficulties of his job. Despite tough economic times, “we’re more inclusive, we’re more prosperous, we are less violent now than just about any time in human history, and that should give us hope.”

“But we’ve got to get this right, and the only way I’m going to be able to do that is if I’ve got people in Congress who share my optimism and share the sense that there are solutions out there and that compromise is not a dirty word,” he said, exhorting the crowd to be optimistic and stay engaged. “Ultimately our government represents us, and if we neglect it, it doesn’t work.”

POTUS finished speaking at 6:56 p.m. He worked the rope line briefly before returning to the car; motorcade departed for the fundraising dinner in Portola Valley at

Posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, Obama presidency, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Obama returning to Silicon Valley in two weeks

President Barack Obama will return to the Bay Area on Thursday, June 6 for a pair of pricey fundraisers to help U.S. Senate Democrats keep their majority in next year’s midterm elections.

Tickets for a 5 p.m. reception at the Palo Alto home of Mike McCue – who helped found tech companies including Paper Software, Tellme Networks and Flipboard – and his wife, Marci, start at $2,500 and range up to $12,000 per person or $15,000 per couple. But it’ll cost a cool $32,400 per person to get into a 6:30 p.m. dinner and discussion at the Portola Valley home of Sun Microsystems founding CEO and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and his wife, Neeru.

“With key second-term issues ranging from immigration reform to climate change to trying again on gun violence prevention, the stakes for holding the Senate couldn’t be higher,” said Wade Randlett, one of the president’s pre-eminent fundraising bundlers in the Bay Area.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., are expected to attend both events. Bennett now chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which these fundraisers will benefit; Schumer chaired the DSCC from 2005 to 2009, during which Democrats made significant gains in the Senate, and he’s currently the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate’s leadership.

A contribution of $32,400 enrolls one as a DSCC “Majority Trust” member and, along with other benefits, allows for attendance at the DSCC’s signature retreats.

These fundraisers will be held just two months after President Obama’s last Bay Area visit, during which he raised money in San Francisco and Atherton for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, U.S. Senate | 31 Comments »

Pool reports from President Obama’s SF fundraisers

Here are the verbatim pool reports filed late last night from President Obama’s San Francisco fundraisers by the Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci:

About 100 guests gathered at the home of Democratic billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer to hear President Obama Wednesday — an event inside a three story stucco home which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge (and lists for $5.8 million on Zillow).

The setting was spectacular, at the end of a peninsula and a dead end road in the tony Seacliff neighborhood, though the famous bridge was covered in fog. Obama said his hosts apologized to him for that.

Obama addressed the crowd in a high ceiling room without furniture, but repeatedly mentioned the issue of climate change in his 19 minute remarks.

Among House members present: Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose, Rep. Eric Swalwell of the East Bay and Rep. Jared Huffman of the North Bay.

He was introduced by Steyer, who was with his wife, Kat Taylor, who sang to guests as a greeting.

“This is the cheapest ticket in town,” Steyer told the crowd, in introducing the president.

Steyer, a vociferous opponent of the Keystone pipeline and a strong supporter of climate change leglislation, appeared to try to put at ease concerns that Obama would not make good on promises to keep the issue at the top of his agenda.

“He is doing everything we can on the issues that we care about,” Steyer said. “He has political limitations…so we really have an obligation to help him.”

“We are like role players in basketball…,” said Steyer. “And we have the great star gunner who has to take the star shot…we have the best left-handed shameless gunner in the world.”

Obama for his part, addressed the climate change issue repeatedly in his remarks.

Despite an “aggressive agenda” by Republicans, he said, “We’ve been able to reduce carbon emissions in this country …(and) address one of the biggest challenges of our time — and that is climate change.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Obama. “We can do so much more.”

Obama acknowledged that the issue is “close to Tom’s heart,” but added, “the politics of this are tough.”
“If you’ve still got that job that is powered by cheap energy … and you certainly can’t afford to buy a Prius,” he said, “you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet.”

“But it’s probably not rising to your number one concern,” Obama said, such as keeping a job or “how do I feed my family.”

Obama said that supporters will need to “marry a genuine, passionate concern about middle class families” and convince them that “we are working just as hard for them as we are for an environmental agenda.”

“And that’s going to take some work.” The President’s biggest applause line, though, came when — citing accomplishment of his administration — he noted that because of changes in culture in this country, “we’re able to see that the LGBT community has full and equal citizenship.”

Second pool report, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, Obama presidency | 10 Comments »

Anti-pipeline protesters to target Obama in SF

CREDO and other groups intend to protest outside President Obama’s fundraiser next Wednesday evening in San Francisco to send a message that if he’s serious about fighting climate change he must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

They’ll be targeting the $32,500-per-person Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising dinner that Obama is headlining along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty, at Broadway and Baker Street in the Pacific Heights district.

Activists say the controversial pipeline project would accelerate climate change by speeding tar sands development and exporting dirty tar sands oil from Canada to foreign countries. Other organizations taking part in the protest include 350.org, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.

CREDO in 2011 turned out over a thousand people at President Obama’s re-election campaign fundraiser in San Francisco, shortly before he first delayed his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, energy, Environment, Obama presidency | 3 Comments »

Thoughts on the Iraq War’s 10th anniversary

These two statements cover some of the same points, but seem so very different in tone.

From President Barack Obama:

“As we mark the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, Michelle and I join our fellow Americans in paying tribute to all who served and sacrificed in one of our nation’s longest wars. We salute the courage and resolve of more than 1.5 million service members and civilians who during multiple tours wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in military service. We honor the memory of the nearly 4,500 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after many years of hardship. And we express our gratitude to our extraordinary military families who sacrificed on the home front, especially our Gold Star families who remain in our prayers.

“The last of our troops left Iraq with their heads held high in 2011, and the United States continues to work with our Iraqi partners to advance our shared interest in security and peace. Here at home, our obligations to those who served endure. We must ensure that the more than 30,000 Americans wounded in Iraq receive the care and benefits they deserve and that we continue to improve treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. With a strong Post 9/11 GI Bill, we must help our newest veterans pursue their education and find jobs worthy of their incredible talents. And all Americans can continue to support and honor our military families who are pillars of so many of our communities. On this solemn anniversary, we draw strength and inspiration from these American patriots who exemplify the values of courage, selflessness and teamwork that define our Armed Forces and keep our nation great.

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, (in remarks delivered on the House floor):

“Today is a solemn anniversary: a tragedy that began ten years ago today when President George W. Bush launched a war of choice in Iraq, dragging our country into a costly, bitter conflict based on falsehoods and hyperbole. It took President Obama fulfilling his campaign promise to end the Iraq war, and we are grateful that he brought the war to an end.

“But we must not forget how we got into the war in the first place.

“We were told we would find weapons of mass destruction. We were warned about mushroom clouds. I offered an amendment at the time that would have taken us down a different path. It would have required the U.S. to work through the United Nations, using inspectors and maximizing diplomacy and mediation to ensure that Iraq was not developing weapons of mass destruction.

“Unfortunately the amendment failed, by a vote 72 – 355.

“What happened from there? We all know the tragic consequences: President Bush dragged the country into an unnecessary war; no weapons of mass destruction were ever found; the costs of the Iraq war soared far beyond what was projected; and we lost 4,486 American troops in Iraq, and over 32,000 were wounded.

“Ten years later, the full consequences and costs of the Iraq war remain to be seen. According to a new study by the Watson Institute at Brown University, the war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion, with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to our war veterans. And the long term costs including caring for our veterans, which we must do, could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades.

“Most importantly, we’ve paid for this war most tragically in loss of life and injury. Fighting the war in Iraq has also undercut nation building here at home. Investments we should have been making in job creation, educating our kids, putting cops on the street, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure. Instead of nation building at home, we poured billions of dollars into nation building in Iraq with little oversight or accountability.

“The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction issued its final report to Congress last month detailing billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse. Speaking with an Iraqi official, Special Inspector Stuart Bowen was told, ‘You can fly in a helicopter around Baghdad, but you cannot point a finger to a single project that was built and completed by the United States.’

“Unfortunately, these lost opportunities and tragic mistakes are not behind us.

“As the daughter of a 25-year veteran of the armed forces, I am incredibly thankful for the sacrifices our women and men have made in Iraq, and continue to make in Afghanistan. I am also deeply concerned with the widespread, often undiagnosed, incidents of PTSD and the alarming suicide rates amongst our returning soldiers.

“We need to honor our troops who served and show our support by giving our men and women who served the best health care, the best educational opportunities, and the best job training available. They deserve nothing less.

“It is my hope that this reckless and short-sighted decision will mark a turning point in American history, and that we will never again wage an unnecessary war. We must use all the tools of American power in resolving disputes, including diplomacy. And we must have sufficient congressional debate and oversight before ever putting another U.S. solider in harm’s way.

“Finally, just like in Iraq, there is no military solution in Afghanistan. We need to bring the war in Afghanistan to an accelerated end, and bring our troops home now.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in expressing this sentiment during a different war said, ‘The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities of a decent America.’

“Let us put this decade of perpetual warfare behind us, invest in our veterans, our children, and get about the business of nation building here at home.”

There’s more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, Barbara Lee, Iraq, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

New details on President Obama’s Bay Area visit

More details are now available on President Obama’s first visit to the Bay Area since he won his second term – a fundraising junket to benefit Democratic campaigns in next year’s midterm elections.

The president will arrive in the Bay Area on Wednesday, April 3 for two events that evening in San Francisco to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

First will be a cocktail reception at the Pacific Heights home of Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer – the billionaire former asset manager who bankrolled last year’s successful Proposition 39 – for which tickets cost $5,000 per person. After that, there’ll be a $32,500-per-person dinner hosted by billionaire heirs/philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is expected to attend both.

The president will remain in the Bay Area overnight and then attend two fundraisers on Thursday, April 4, to benefit the Democratic National Committee.

First comes a brunch at the Atherton home of Liz Simons and Medley Partners managing director Mark Heising, for which tickets cost $32,400 each. Then the president will attend a luncheon at the Atherton home of former insurance mogul and Levi-Strauss heir John Goldman and his wife Marcia, for which a $1,000 buys a basic ticket, $5,000 buys access to a photo reception as well, $7,500 buys lunch and photo reception tickets for two, and $20,000 buys access to a special co-sponsor reception.

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Obama coming to Bay Area for Dem fundraisers

President Barack Obama will headline his first Democratic fundraiser for 2014′s midterm election right here in the Bay Area next month.

The April 3 fundraiser in San Francisco will raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. According to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will also attend.

The White House confirmed Thursday that the president will be in Northern California on April 3 and 4 for fundraising events for both the DCCC and the Democratic National Committee.

My esteemed colleagues at the Chronicle reported last week that the president should expect to be met in San Francisco by protestors urging him to nix the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The AP reports Democratic officials have said the president plans to headline at least 14 fundraisers this year for the party’s House and Senate candidates. Some of the events will be in Washington, but most will be held around the county.

Congressional Republicans say Obama is more focused on regaining Democratic control of the House in the midterm elections than he is on seeking bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. Obama disputed that notion during private meetings with lawmakers this week.

Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

What the politicos are saying about Pope Francis

From President Barack Obama:

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy. As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years—that in each other we see the face of God. As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith. We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world.”

From Vice President Joe Biden:

“Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility. I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome for his Inaugural Mass. The Catholic Church plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths. I look forward to our work together in the coming years on many important issues.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“With the election of His Holiness Pope Francis, the world’s Catholics turn to a compassionate leader for the poor, a champion of the least fortunate, and a man of humility committed to love and understanding between faiths and nations.

“Pope Francis has made history as the first Jesuit priest to ascend the Chair of Saint Peter and the first Pope from the Americas; his selection is a sign of respect and admiration for the growing ranks of Catholics, indeed all people, across Latin America.

“Whether named for St. Francis of Assisi, who cared for all of God’s creation, or St. Francis Xavier, who brought the faith to Asia, Pope Francis has been, and will be, a moral force to protect the poor and advance the faith.”

Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

The Obama-Romney lunch at the White House

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. (Well, maybe not a fly, given President Obama’s moves.)

Here’s the official readout from the White House:

This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency | 15 Comments »

Want tickets to Obama’s re-inauguration?

With the presidential election only a week behind us, members of Congress are starting to take requests for free tickets to President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Some – including Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo – already have pages on their websites at which you can request tickets in a lottery system. The rest of the Bay Area’s delegation will have similar pages up soon; you must request tickets from your House member, or from one of your state’s two U.S. Senators.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 29 Comments »