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Draft Biden group launches national TV ad

With speculation reaching a fever pitch over whether Vice President Joe Biden will jump into the 2016 presidential race, the national organization seeking to draft him has released its first national television ad.

Draft Biden says the ad “will run on national cable with a six-figure buy.”

Conceived and produced by one of President Obama’s lead media consultants, Mark Putnam (who also worked on Biden’s first presidential campaign in 1987), the ad aims to parlay Biden’s personal tragedies and hopes for the future – as described during a Yale University commencement address – into a sense of authenticity and likeability that many believe current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton lacks.

Biden is rumored to be ready to make a decision this weekend or early next week, Politico has reported. The Democratic presidential candidates’ first televised debate is scheduled for Tuesday night in Las Vegas; the criteria announced by CNN would let Biden participate even if he declares candidacy earlier that same day.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Joe Biden | 3 Comments »

Who is funding Draft Biden 2016?

The steady stream of emails I get from the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC inspired me to take a gander at its most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission – and that turned out to be interesting indeed.

Curtis BlockThe effort to draft Vice President Joe Biden into the 2016 presidential election may have some grassroots support, but it’s not rolling in dough: the super PAC raised $78,841.22 and spent $69,369.26 in this year’s second quarter, leaving $16,002.95 cash on hand as of June 30.

Its receipts include almost $4,600 in “in-kind” donations of time, office supplies, event and travel expenses, and so on from PAC executive director William Pierce III of Chicago.

Only five Californians contributed to the PAC, but three were substantial enough to account for a significant percentage of the total:

  • Dr. Howard Mandel, OB/GYN, Los Angeles, April 16 – $5,000
  • Elise Kroeber, retiree, San Francisco, April 20 – $250
  • Clare Springs, attorney at Titchell, Maltzman, Mark & Ohleyer in San Francisco, May 5 – $1,000
  • Richard Alexander, attorney at Alexander, Hawes & Audet in San Jose, May 18 – $1,000
  • Robert Farnsworth, retiree, Sacramento, June 23 and 30 – $220
  • A few notes about these: Springs listed Titchell Maltzman was listed as Springs’ employer, but that firm was dissolved in 2008 and she founded her own firm that same year. Mandel served on Obama for America’s Health Policy Advisory Committee and was previously an advisor to then-Senator Biden on health care issues during his presidential campaign.

    But the report’s most interesting revelation is that more than half the PAC’s money essentially came from a single, mysterious source.

    Curtis Block, president of Madison & Monroe in Pompano Beach, Fla., gave $5,000 on May 18, and then Madison & Monroe gave $38,000 on June 12. We’ve been unable to determine who Block is – there don’t appear to be any prior legal, business or other records for him – or what Madison & Monroe does; their address is a post box at Parcels Plus, and the business was only just incorporated on June 2 to conduct “any and all lawful business.”

    I asked the Draft Biden 2016 staffers to shed some light on this – but they declined.

    “I reached out to Curtis on your behalf and he’s asked that we only give out the personal information he was required to provide for the FEC report,” spokeswoman Sarah Ford said in an email Friday morning.

    Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2015
    Under: 2016 presidential election, Joe Biden | 1 Comment »

    Draft Biden 2016 names California chapter leader

    A Riverside County woman will lead the California effort to draft Vice President Joe Biden into the race for 2016’s Democratic presidential nomination.

    Linnie Frank BaileyDraft Biden 2016 on Wednesday announced the creation of state chapters across the nation, and named Linnie Frank Bailey of Corona, as the California chapter’s leader.

    “I am supporting Joe Biden for President because of his experience and ability to understand the issues of everyday Americans,” Bailey, 59, said in a news release. “I think he can bring civility back to our political discourse with a focus on strengthening our country rather than dividing us.”

    A 2008 Washington Post story outlined Bailey’s evolution from a small donor to Barack Obama’s campaign to a local and regional grassroots organizer to a Democratic National Convention delegate. She is a communications consultant, magazine editor and youth program coordinator.

    “In addition to our work in Iowa and New Hampshire, we have solidified numerous state chapters across the nation with many more in the works,” Draft Biden 2016 Executive Director William Pierce said in the release. “Following the Organizing for America model, we are working to build a grassroots base in anticipation of Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement.”

    A story in the New York Times this week implied Biden, still shaken by the recent death of his son, hasn’t made up his mind about his political future but has not made preparations for a presidential run.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
    Under: 2016 presidential election, Joe Biden | 6 Comments »

    ‘Draft Biden 2016’ to accept bitcoin

    In apparent nod to the hot tech buzz of 2013, the Draft Biden 2016 committee announced Friday that it’s the first national Democratic movement to accept the bitcoinvirtual currency, effective immediately.

    “This is in keeping with Vice President Biden’s strong support of technology and innovation throughout his career,’’ Joseph Schweitzer, the group’s finance director, said in a news release. “Ready your mobile wallet and you’ll be able to simply scan-and-donate. There’s no hassle with a card number, no delay, and unparalleled cryptographic security.’’

    The Federal Elections Commission last year approved bitcoin fundraising as a type of in-kind donation. But “due to lingering questions in the wake of the FEC ruling, Draft Biden 2016 will limit bitcoin donations to $100 per person and require donors to fill out an online form identifying themselves,” the news release said.

    The Draft Biden 2016 super PAC was formed in mid-March, and had about $6,500 banked at the end of that month, its FEC report shows.

    Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2015
    Under: 2016 presidential election, Joe Biden | No Comments »

    Joe Biden to visit San Francisco, Oakland this week

    Vice President Joe Biden is coming to the Bay Area this week.

    The White House announced Tuesday that Biden will arrive in San Francisco on Thursday for a political event, and on Friday is scheduled to visit a PG&E center in Oakland to discuss the importance of workforce development and investing in job-training programs across the country.

    His wife, Jill Biden, is coming as well, and plans to visit De Anza College in Cupertino to highlight the administration’s commitment to community colleges and their importance to the nation’s future.

    The vice president last visited San Francisco in early October to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, and before that in late May.

    More details to come…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
    Under: Joe Biden | 2 Comments »

    Change of date for Joe Biden’s SF fundraiser

    Vice President Joe Biden is still coming to San Francisco this month to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, but not on the date that was originally announced.

    Biden is now scheduled to appear at a fundraising breakfast next Friday, June 14, at the home of Doug Hickey, 58, – CEO of BinWise, former managing director at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and former CEO of Critical Path – and his wife, attorney Dawn Ross, in San Francisco’s pricey Sea Cliff area. The breakfast initially had been scheduled for Monday, June 17.

    Tickets start at $500 per person; $2,500 also buys a photo with Biden, with another $2,500 for each additional person in the photo. Tickets to a private “clutch reception” with Biden cost $10,000 per person. The event is capped at 125 people and 50 photos.

    Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2013
    Under: Democratic Party, Joe Biden | 1 Comment »

    Joe Biden in SF June 17 to raise money for Dems

    Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Bay Area later this month to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.

    Joe BidenBiden is set to headline a breakfast on Monday, June 17, at the home of Doug Hickey, 58, – CEO of BinWise, former managing director at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and former CEO of Critical Path – and his wife, attorney Dawn Ross, in San Francisco’s pricey Sea Cliff area.

    Tickets start at $500 per person; $2,500 also buys a photo with Biden, with another $2,500 for each additional person in the photo. Tickets to a private “clutch reception” with Biden cost $10,000 per person. The event is capped at 125 people and 50 photos.

    Shefali Razdan Duggal of San Francisco, a member of the DNC national finance committee member and the White House Council on Women and Girls, sent out the invite with “a very personal perspective which I identify with Vice President Joe Biden.”

    “Our current Vice President is one of the most remarkably kind and authentic electeds whom I have had the privilege to encounter,” Duggal wrote. “The Vice President has met my very introverted and reserved mother, and the manner in which he treated her, with tremendous dignity and respect, has and will remain within her heart for many years to follow. I would genuinely encourage anyone who has the desire and/or ability to attend this breakfast event with Vice President Joe Biden to do so, for the reason to meet and speak with such a sincere and radiant spirit.”

    Biden’s visit will come less than two weeks after President Barack Obama is scheduled to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this coming Thursday, June 6, at a reception in Palo Alto and a dinner in Portola Valley. Obama was last here in early April raising money for the DNC and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    The Democrats need every penny they can raise: Most experts say their chances of taking back a House majority in 2014 are slim to none, and next year’s U.S. Senate playing field looks to be weighted in Republicans’ favor.

    UPDATE @ 8:35 A.M. FRIDAY 6/7: The date of this event has changed.

    Posted on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
    Under: campaign finance, Democratic Party, Joe Biden | 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 »

    Contra Costa gets federal domestic violence grant

    Contra Costa County is among 12 U.S. counties and cities chosen to receive a new federal grant aimed at reducing domestic violence homicides by focusing on victims most at risk and abusers most likely to be lethal.

    The money – $2.3 million in total, ranging from $101,658 to $200,000 per site – is part of the Justice Department’s new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative, administered by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women. After a one-year assessment phase, up to six of these 12 sites will be chosen to continue a three-year implementation phase.

    Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the grants Wednesday in Rockville, Md.

    “Every single day in America, three women die at the hands of their boyfriend, or their husband, or their ex-husband,” Biden said in a news release. “Many of these women have been threatened or severely abused in the past. We know what risk factors put someone in greater danger of being killed by the person they love – and that also means we have the opportunity to step in and try to prevent these murders. That’s why these grants are so important. They’ll help stop violence before it turns deadly.”

    The grant program, which aims to help state and local jurisdictions reduce domestic violence homicides by identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders, is modeled after programs in Massachusetts and Maryland where coordinated teams of law enforcement, prosecutors, health professionals and victims’ services significantly reduced the domestic violence homicide rate.

    The new program is based on an assessment tool that researchers have identified that can be used to reliably recognize women who may be in fatally abusive relationships. Attempted strangulation, threats with weapons, sexual assault and obsessively jealous and controlling behavior are among the markers of particularly lethal abusers. Once at-risk victims are identified, law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and service providers can take action to protect them and their families.

    The other 11 demonstration sites are Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Rockdale County, Ga.; Winnebago County, Ill.; Boston; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Westchester County, N.Y.; Pitt County, N.C.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; North Charleston, S.C.; and Rutland, Vt.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
    Under: Contra Costa County, Joe Biden, Public safety | 1 Comment »

    You write the photo caption: Joe Biden & bikers

    My favorite photo (thus far, at least) of the 2012 campaigns, bar none. Just look at the expressions on those guys’ faces:

    Per the Washington Post:

    The vice president made a stop Sunday at ‘50s-style Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio, where he plunked down in a booth between two male bikers, then called over their female companion saying, “I know who runs the show.” Biden pulled a chair in front of him (no, she’s not sitting on his lap), then leaned over to whisper in her ear. No word on the identity or political preference of the trio — reporters with the veep referred to them as the “Shadowmen” in a pool report; an employee at the diner Monday said they’re not regulars and didn’t know their names.

    Add your best caption in the comments; please keep it clean or else be deleted.

    Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012
    Under: 2012 presidential election, Joe Biden | 6 Comments »