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Ellen Tauscher defends Hillary’s email situation

Former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher got into a heated exchange with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream on Sunday while defending Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton regarding her private e-mail server.

Tauscher, a Democrat from Alamo, was a strong Clinton supporter during 2008’s Democratic presidential primary. She left Congress in 2009 to go work for then-Secretary of State Clinton as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs until February 2012. She then served six months as special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense.

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Ellen Tauscher, Hillary Clinton | 1 Comment »

Jerry Brown on Hillary’s emails: ‘Like a vampire’

California Gov. Jerry Brown called Hillary Clinton’s email controversy “a vampire” that she’ll have to stake through the heart, in an interview Friday with NBC News “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

Jerry Brown on Meet the Press (NBC NEWS)In a segment that will air Sunday, Todd noted that Brown in March had cautioned that the email problem might not go away on its own, and asked what Clinton should be doing better to deal with it now.

“Well, I don’t know,” Brown replied. “This email thing, it has kind of a mystique to it. You know, an email is just an utterance in digital form. But it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited. So I don’t know how.

“It’s almost like a vampire,” the governor continued. “She’s going to have to find a stake and put it right through the heart of these emails in some way. But I don’t think a leading candidate for president needs the advice of another politician. Generally they don’t follow it, and I think they know everything I can figure out on their own.”

Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Gov. Jerry Brown, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown | 9 Comments »

Hillary Clinton is in the Bay Area today

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in the Bay Area on Wednesday and Thursday for fundraisers, but no public events.

Hillary Clinton 5-27-2015 (AP photo)The former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady is scheduled to attend a reception Wednesday evening at the Atherton home of investor and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly and his wife, Galavantier co-founder Jennifer Carrico. Tickets start at $2,700, but co-hosts are being asked to raise $27,000 and hosts are being asked to raise $50,000.

On Thursday morning, Clinton will attend a fundraiser in San Francisco hosted by Mayor Ed Lee, Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma, and Melissa Ma; the same ticket prices and hosting requirements apply.

Then she’s headed to Los Angeles for another fundraiser later Thursday at the home of Scooter Braun – Justin Bieber’s manager – and his wife, Yael; and to La Jolla for a fundraiser Friday at the home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan. Some tickets for the Los Angeles and La Jolla events went for $1,000 each.

Clinton does have one non-fundraising event planned on this California swing. She’ll hold a roundtable discussion Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles with home-care providers and consumers including members of the Service Employees International Union, which will livestream the event on its website.

“Once again Hillary Clinton proves that she’s more interested in hosting high-dollar fundraisers than discussing the issues that matter to everyday Californians,” Republican National Committee spokesman Ninio Fetalvo said in an emailed statement. “And as she continues dodging questions on key issues and the mishandling of classified information on her secret email server, it’s no surprise that voters continue to find her not honest or trustworthy.”

Clinton raised money in the Bay Area in May and June.

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, campaign finance, Hillary Clinton | 3 Comments »

Finding humor in the presidential campaign stores

As a father, I can safely tell you there’s nothing I’d like less as a Father’s Day gift than a piece of presidential campaign swag.

That said, there’s some mildly amusing stuff going on some of the candidates’ online stores.

Marco PoloFor example, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has some of the usual bumperstickers, buttons, mugs and apparel, but he also has a certain $45 shirt available in red, white or blue (of course). A polo shirt.

A Marco Polo shirt.

Get it?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s store is rocking the “Pant Suit Lapel Pin” for $15, the “A Woman’s Place is in the White House” throw pillow for $55, and the “Yaaas, Hillary!” t-shirt for $30.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, can pay $10 for a campaign-logoed bumper sticker that declares, “This vehicle makes right turns only.

But U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., seems to be winning the merchandising war by making good use of his reputation as a crusader against government surveillance programs. One of the t-shirts you can buy for $18 – one of four chosen from 160 submitted in a t-shirt contest – reads “The NSA knows I bought this Rand Paul tshirt.”

Or, for $15 you can have the “NSA Spy Cam Blocker,” a little Paul-logoed doohickey that fits over your computer’s webcam lens.

“That little front facing camera on your laptop or tablet can be a window for the world to see you – whether you know it or not!” the campaign says. “Stop hackers and the NSA with this simple camera blocker. Safe and practical.”

Hillary's hard driveAnd the Paul campaign also would be happy to sell you “Hillary’s Hard Drive” for $99.95.

“CLEARANCE SALE! You’ve read about it on the news, now you can get one for yourself,” the pitch goes. “Hillary’s Hard Drive. 100% genuine erased clean email server. Buyer beware, this product has had heavy use and it currently is no longer working, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to someone. Anyone? Limited edition. We have 80 of these and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”

Heh. But all of it invariably makes me think of…

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Hillary Clinton back in Bay Area on June 20

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be back in the Bay Area to raise campaign money in a few weeks, just a little more than a month since her last sweep through the region.

Hillary Clinton 5-27-2015 (AP photo)Clinton will attend a brunch reception on Saturday, June 20 in San Francisco’s Mission District, hosted by real estate broker, former planning commissioner, and attorney Rick Hills. Tickets start at $2,700 per person; co-hosts who raise $27,000 or more and hosts who raise $50,000 or more will be invited to a pre-reception and photo line with Clinton.

An email sent Monday to announce the event noted that Clinton’s campaign recently unveiled a finance committee structure in which someone who raises $27,000 in 30 days will be a “Hillstarter” with a seat on the Northern California finance committee; someone who raises $50,000 by Dec. 31 will be a “Hillraiser” with a seat on the Northwest regional finance committee; and someone who raises $100,000 by Dec. 31 will be a “Hillblazer” with a seat on the national finance committee.

“We hope you will use this opportunity to help reach your goals and take part in the wonderful benefits (soon to be revealed) associated with each committee,” the email said.

The former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady held two fundraisers in San Francisco on Wednesday, May 6, one hosted by hedge fund billionaire turned environmentalist Tom Steyer and the other by longtime friend and support Susie Tompkins Buell, cofounder of Esprit and the North Face. She held three fundraisers on May 7 in Los Angeles before returning to the Bay Area on Friday, May 8 for a luncheon at the Portola Valley home of eBay President and CEO John Donahoe and Eileen Donahoe, global affairs director for Human Rights Watch and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Clinton declared her candidacy April 12 and has been busily visiting early-primary states since, but her campaign announced Monday that she’ll give her “official campaign launch speech” on Saturday, June 13 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The event is open to the public, and members of the public can register for tickets online. She has yet to hold any public campaign events in California.

Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton | 10 Comments »

A peek at Hillary Clinton’s Silicon Valley fundraiser

2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly wowed about 200 supporters who paid $2,700 each to see her Friday in Silicon Valley.

Clinton, who did two similar fundraisers Wednesday in San Francisco and three Thursday in Los Angeles, attended a luncheon Friday at the Portola Valley home of eBay President and CEO John Donahoe and Eileen Donahoe, global affairs director for Human Rights Watch and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Reporters weren’t allowed in, but a tech executive who attended said Clinton seemed “shockingly well-prepared… she gave answers to questions that one would expect to see near the end of a campaign, not right at the beginning.”

Of course, keep in mind that everyone in the room had paid to be there and so is a strong supporter already. “But I’ve been around the block on these things,” this person insisted. “I don’t get impressed by politicians too often – especially early in campaigns – but I’m impressed.”

Clinton’s stump speech covered a wide range of foreign- and domestic-policy topics, the latter including student debt and pre-kindergarten education, the exec said, and then she took questions.

“My personal favorite was a high school girl asked at the end about teenage suicides … and she (Clinton) went off on this 10-minute answer that would blow you away,” the executive said, providing facts and figures off the top of her head about suicide-prevention strategies that have been effective elsewhere.

The issue is particularly resonant in Silicon Valley, where Palo Alto has struggled with a rash of teen suicides over the past decade – including one in January.

“Then she stayed and shook the hands of every single person there – that was not part of the program,” the executive said.

Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton | 4 Comments »

Hillary Clinton’s fundraisers and critics

As expected, donors at today’s Hillary Clinton fundraisers in San Francisco paid only $2,700 to get in but are being asked to raise the same amount from 10 friends.

Clinton’s first event is from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. at the home of hedge fund billionaire turned environmentalist Tom Steyer, with about 105 attendees. The second, with about 220 attendees, is from 4:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the Century Club, hosted by longtime friend and supporter Susie Tompkins Buell, cofounder of Esprit and The North Face, and her husband, Mark Buell; an earlier invitation and previous reports had erroneously indicated this would be at the Buell’s home.

She has three similar events scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles, and one Friday at the Portola Valley home of eBay President and CEO John Donahoe and Eileen Donahoe, global affairs director for Human Rights Watch and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

These events – into which no reporters are allowed – continue to build the “Hillstarters” program, a Clinton campaign aide said: a “bundling” program designed to involve more people and build the donor base. Attendees give $2,700, while hosts or co-hosts raise that same amount from each of 10 or more other people.

The aide said Clinton will speak to today’s attendees “about her commitment to being a champion for everyday Americans,” outlining her goals of “building the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday; strengthening families and communities; fixing our dysfunctional political system; and protecting our country from threats.”

Critics abound from several quarters.

“While Clinton doesn’t have time to answer serious questions about the numerous scandals plaguing her candidacy, she found time for three days worth of fundraising in California with the same wealthy liberal donors who gave to her family’s controversial foundation,” Republican National Committee spokesman Ninio Fetalvo said. “Everyday Americans are waiting for answers, and it’s very clear that answering their questions isn’t a priority to Clinton.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is sending its “Frostpaw the Polar Bear” mascot to a rally outside the event at Steyer’s home, in an effort to urge Clinton “to outline a bold plan for addressing the climate crisis, including opposing Keystone XL.”

“If we’re going to have a planet that’s livable for people and wildlife, we need Hillary Clinton standing with millions of Americans calling for an end to fossil fuel addiction,” Valerie Love, a campaigner with the Center, said in a news release. “Tackling the climate crisis ought to start with rejecting projects like Keystone XL followed by a visionary plan to dramatically reduce carbon pollution and steer us toward cleaner, safer energy sources.”

America Rising, a political action committee that gathers and spreads opposition research on Democrats, notes Clinton not only has yet to take a public position on the pipeline, but has dodged the question more than a dozen times. That includes a discussion in Canada at which she said she has “traveled around your country avoiding answering questions” on Keystone XL because she was involved in the decision-making process as Secretary of State.

And Californians for Energy Indpendence, a group funded by the oil industry, notes Clinton told Iowans last month that “there’s something wrong” when “hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80 when I was driving here” – yet Steyer is a former hedge fund manager who used tax loopholes including offshore havens.

Posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton | 2 Comments »

Clinton campaign hires paid staffers for California

Two seasoned political operatives have signed on as paid staff for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in California.

The Clinton campaign announced Wednesday that it’s deploying paid staff in each of the 50 states who’ll coordinate local grassroots organizing meetings and house parties, engaging her supporters and training volunteers. California’s paid staffers are Ian Leviste and Sam Schneidman, a Clinton campaign official said Thursday.

Schneidman, 26, the Northern California organizer, most recently worked as field director for the Australian Labor Party, but earlier was an organizer for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Nevada, Alaska and Iowa. He also was a legislative intern for Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. , and for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Leviste, 28, the Southern California organizer, has been working as deputy Western field director for the Ready for Hillary PAC that was laying groundwork for the campaign.

Their mandate is old-school organizing: block-by-block, person-to-person contact. In the short term, they’ll be organizing house parties at which supporters can watch Clinton lay out her vision of the campaign during a formal kickoff next month.

As the Huffington Post noted Wednesday, hiring paid staffers all across the nation is reminiscent of “the ‘50-state strategy’ pushed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean when he was chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Dean argued that Democrats shouldn’t concede any state as ‘unwinnable’ and should invest resources in building an infrastructure in every single state.”

Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton | 4 Comments »

Clinton taps Kamala Harris’ sister as policy advisor

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has named California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ younger sister, civil rights attorney Maya Harris, to help lead her campaign’s policy team.

Maya HarrisMaya Harris – who also is the wife of former Associate Attorney General Tony West, who stepped down last year from his third-in-command post at the U.S. Justice Department – most recently was a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress. Before that, she was vice president for democracy, rights and justice at the Ford Foundation; before that, she was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, based in San Francisco.

Harris, 48, is one of three senior policy advisers Clinton named Tuesday to lead the development of her campaign’s agenda, Politico reported. The others are Ann O’Leary, a former legislative director to Clinton when she was in the Senate; and Jake Sullivan, a top aide to Clinton while she was Secretary of State and a former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris | 2 Comments »

Clinton aims to break James Buchanan’s curse

James_BuchananMy article in today’s editions about the Bay Area being “Ready for Hillary” included this historical fact: “Six American presidents had prior experience both as members of Congress and as cabinet secretaries; the most recent one, James Buchanan, left office in 1861. Then again, Buchanan is widely panned for letting the nation slide into the Civil War; as divisive a figure as Clinton might be, she’ll never top that.”

In case you were wondering, the other presidents who had been both members of Congress and cabinet secretaries were Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren.

Also, Buchanan both was the last to succeed a fellow Democrat to the presidency by election, and was the last former U.S. Secretary of State to win the White House — a pair of 19th-century curses Clinton hopes to break.

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton | 6 Comments »