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Cisco’s Chambers to co-chair Sundheim Senate bid

Cisco Systems Executive Chairman John Chambers will be a co-chair of Republican Duf Sundheim’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Sundheim, 62, a former California Republican Party chairman from Los Altos Hills, issued a statement noting his campaign is focused on “‘Solutions through Innovation.’ No one has done more in the last two decades to change the way we live, work, learn and play than John Chambers.”

Chambers helped grow Cisco from $70 million when he joined Cisco in January 1991, to $1.2 billion when he assumed the role of CEO, to $47 billion in FY15, Sundheim noted.

John ChambersChambers said the nation needs “strong, principled leaders in Washington, DC who can bring together people from all political perspectives to craft workable solutions to our country’s most pressing problems. Duf Sundheim is that kind of leader.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Duf for two decades, and I’ve seen how much he cares about the future of California and is inclusive of every one of its citizens,” Chambers added. “At a time when trust in our leaders is low, Duf will bring honesty, integrity, and compassion to the United States Senate. I’m honored to support his campaign and proud to call him my friend.”

Chambers has given generously to Republican causes and co-chaired John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He said a few weeks ago that he believes the GOP has moved too far to the right, Business Insider reported.

“I’m a moderate Republican — an endangered species – who likes Democrats, so that’s even worse,” Chambers quipped on stage to Box CEO Aaron Levie, a guest at the Boxworks tech conference in San Francisco.

Asked how he feels about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Chambers paused and then replied, “Let’s be very candid. Americans like to be led from the middle. We like to be led by people who have experience. What I’d like to see from the Republican party is a moderate Republican who’s really in touch on the social and the immigration issues who has had tremendous track record in their state … I’d like to see a moderate Republican governor.”

Sundheim last week named former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and Labor George Shultz, whom he counts as a mentor, as another of his campaign’s co-chairs.

Sundheim is vying with fellow former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro; Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Another Republican, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.

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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.

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White House confirms upcoming Obama visit to SF

As previously reported here, the White House now confirms President Barack Obama will return to the Bay Area next week to raise money for his fellow Democrats.

“On Friday, the President will travel to the Seattle, WA area to attend an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party and a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to the San Francisco, CA area for a DNC event. The President will remain overnight in San Francisco,” a White House official said. “On Saturday, October 9, the President will attend a DNC event and travel to the Los Angeles area for DNC and DSCC events. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.”

No comment from the White House on the president’s potential “come to Yeezus” moment.

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Senate contender touts tax pledge, flat tax plan

Former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette has sought to amp up his U.S. Senate campaign in the past few weeks by focusing on the reddest of GOP red meat: taxes.

Tom Del BeccaroHeading into the state GOP’s convention Sept. 18-20 in Anaheim, Del Beccaro staked out his place to the field’s right side by challenging his GOP rivals – Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; fellow former state party chairman Duf Sundheim of Los Altos Hills – to join him in taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. As of Wednesday, they’ve not done so.

Crafted by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the pledge commits a candidate or officeholder to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses, and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

This week, Del Beccaro rolled out his plan for a flat tax, which includes replacing current personal income tax brackets with a flat 15.5 percent rate on wages and salaries, capital gains, dividends, interest and inheritance; replacing current corporate taxes with a 15.5 percent net business income tax with immediate expensing for business purchases and deductibility of wages and salaries; and eliminating all itemized deductions while doubling the standard deduction.

He touted the plan at fundraising events this week in Riverside, Newport Beach and Diablo, accompanied by his economic advisor Stephen Moore, co-founder and first president of the conservative Club for Growth.

In an interview Thursday, Del Beccaro said he’s working with the Committee to Unleash Prosperity – a conservative group founded this summer by Moore, two-time Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, economist and CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, and economist Arthur Laffer – to preach the flat-tax gospel in the Golden State.

“A simple flat tax takes government out of the business of picking winners and losers and will allow the economy to grow,” he said, declaring it the best way to help those still struggling in the Great Recession’s wake. “We’ve tried just about every spending mechanism possible and they’re still falling behind …The key is economic growth – otherwise people get stuck where they are.”

Critics of flat-tax plans argue they penalize the poor, in that everyone must spend on the same necessities of life – housing, food, clothes, health care and so on – but those earning less have less money left over after those necessities with which to pay taxes. That is: a 10 percent tax would be a much bigger proportional hit for someone earning $50,000 per year than for someone earning $5 million.

Del Beccaro said that’s why his plan would exempt a family of four up to a household income of $48,000: “It gives them a start.” He also said talk of redistributing wealth via progressive taxes to close the vast income and wealth gap that has opened in recent decades is divisive and unproductive.

“Class warfare is never good, pitting one group of Americans against another is terrible,” he said. arguing that wealth inequality is a product of economic stagnation and overreaching government. “The key is always economic growth.”

Two prominent Democrats – California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana – also are running in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. A fourth prominent Republican, Santa Monica businessman and two-time former senate candidate Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.

Del Beccaro said he’d gladly debate his plan with any of his rivals from either party. “They’re running for the office, I’m running for the ideas. … I’m trying to elevate this into an actual discussion.”

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Dianne Feinstein decries Planned Parenthood arson

The flames of an arson attack at a Planned Parenthood health center in Thousand Oaks were fanned by recent rhetorical attacks on the women’s health organization by anti-abortion-rights politicians and activists, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday.

“The toxic rhetoric directed at Planned Parenthood has dangerous consequences. It sends a signal that using violence to close clinics and intimidate health care professionals and women is ‘ok’. It is not,” Feinstein, D-Calif., said in an emailed statement. “I’m grateful that no one in Thousand Oaks was hurt. My thoughts today are with the clinic’s staff, who provide compassionate care in spite of challenges no health care provider should have to face.”

Unfortunately, there’s a long history of violence against women’s health-care clinics that provide legal abortions, Feinstein noted.

“There have been more than 200 arsons and bombings over the past 40 years. These acts are serious crimes at the state and federal level, and the criminals who perpetrate them must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” she said. “Going forward, I hope that my colleagues think about the ramifications of their words. Doctors, nurses, clinic staff and patients should not be terrorized, threatened and put in harm’s way.”

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George Shultz to co-chair Sundheim’s Senate run

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz will serve as a co-chair of Republican candidate Duf Sundheim’s campaign for U.S. Senate.

Duf SundheimShultz, of Stanford, “is one of the most knowledgeable and respected public servants in our lifetime. He has served our nation with distinction and honor,” Sundheim, a former California Republican Party chairman from Los Altos Hills, said in a news release. “He has been a mentor of mine for over a decade. I can think of no higher honor than to have him play such an important role in our campaign.”

Shultz said Sundheim embodies the idea that “there is no limit to what a person can achieve if they do not care who gets the credit. … He has the integrity, compassion and resolve to be a great Senator.”

Shultz is one of only two men to have served in four different Cabinet positions: as Secretary of Labor (1969-70), Treasury (1972-74) and State (1982-89) and as director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970-72).

Sundheim is vying with fellow former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro; Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Another Republican, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.