Part of the Bay Area News Group

Hillary Clinton joins Political Shoe Hall of Fame

Hillary Clinton’s brush with flying footwear yesterday got us thinking about great shoes of political history. (Oh, just shut up and go with it.)

Naturally, we all went to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his delegate desk at the United Nations in 1960; we were stunned to find out that there is neither film footage nor a photograph of this moment. (No, he didn’t wield the shoe during his “We will bury you” speech at the podium, of which footage exists.)

Another reporter suggested the Imelda Marcos shoe collection, circa 1986.

President George W. Bush showed quick reflexes in December 2008 by dodging shoes hurled by an Iraqi journalist in Baghdad.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was the target in October 2010:

In October 2011, Egyptians in Cairo’s Tahrir Square held their shoes aloft in protest as Hosni Mubarak gave a speech:

Likewise in a January 2012 protest against German president Christian Wulff in Berlin:

And that brings us to yesterday’s moment as Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Las Vegas:

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Safeway exec’s joke falls flat for House members

Much of the Bay Area’s House delegation has asked top officials at Pleasanton-based supermarket giant Safeway for an apology after one of those officials told what the lawmakers say was a sexist joke about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The letters the lawmakers sent today to Safeway CEO Steve Burd and General Counsel Robert Gordon takes issue with something Gordon, 60, of Orinda, said at the company’s shareholder meeting Tuesday in Pleasanton:

“You know, this is the season when companies and other institutions are interested in enhancing their reputation and their image for the general public, and one of the institutions that’s doing this is the Secret Service, particularly after the calamity in Colombia. And among the instructions given to the Secret Service agents was to try to agree with the president more and support his decisions. And that led to this exchange that took place last week, when the president flew into the White House lawn and an agent greeted him at the helicopter. The president was carrying two pigs under his arms and the Secret Service agents said, ‘Nice pigs, sir.’ And the president said, “These are not ordinary pigs, these are genuine Arkansas razorback hogs. I got one for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” And the Secret Service agent said, ‘Excellent trade, sir.’”

(Thanks very much, he’ll be here all week, try the veal and don’t forget to tip your waiters.)

SO not funny, say the lawmakers.

“Poking fun at politicians is part of our culture, and TV comedians carry this out nightly. But sexist jokes told by a top executive of a Fortune 500 company to an international audience are completely inappropriate and demonstrate a shocking lack of respect, not only for two of the most important and respected people in our country but for all women,” they wrote to Burd. “Safeway owes an apology to Secretary Clinton, Leader Pelosi, and the country. It is up to the Safeway board to decide what action to take against its general counsel for his comments but let there be no doubt as to our strong disapproval and deep disappointment in your company for what he said.”

The letters were signed by George Miller, D-Martinez; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; Mike Thompson, D-Napa; Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove; Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; and Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

I’m awaiting a response from Safeway, and will update this when it’s received.

UPDATE @ 4:30 P.M.: “Both letters will be responded to shortly,” Brian Dowling, Safeway’s Vice President of Public Affairs, e-mailed me about an hour ago; he did not clarify whether this will be the extent of the company’s comment today, so I must assume that it will be.

UPDATE @ 4:48 P.M.: Dowling clarifies that the company will respond directly to the lawmakers, and Gordon also will write directly to Pelosi and Clinton.

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Four Cabinet members in Bay Area this week

Wow, it’s Cabinet week in the Bay Area.

I just covered U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (accompanied by Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt) talking about FAA, surface transportation and job creation bills out at the Oakland International Airport control tower construction site.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson will be in the Bay Area for two days this week meeting with local businesses and organizations to highlight job creation and green technology. On Wednesday afternoon, she’ll be touring Recycle Central, Recology’s recycling station at San Francisco’s Pier 96.

On Friday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will join Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Mike Honda, D-San Jose, to break ground at the new Defenders Lodge, a facility for veterans seeking treatment at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System that will have 53 beds in a two-story, 28,000-square-foot building.

And also Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be keynoting Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Women and the Economy Summit at the Westin St. Francis hotel on San Francisco’s Union Square, speaking about how “Some Leaders Are Born Women.” I’ll be covering that one.

UPDATE @ 11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY: AND… U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be speaking at 9 a.m. next Monday, Sept. 19 at the Commonwealth Club of California, on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco; tickets cost $20 but are free for club members or $7 for students with valid ID, and are available online. Salazar “will share his views on fresh water, fishing and farming, along with other resource concerns in California and the American West,” the club says. “With projected changes in the Sierra snowpack and precipitation patterns, as well as an ever-increasing population, California’s water system remains in crisis, and the state’s ability to hydrate its citizens and its economy faces an uncertain future. Salazar will discuss how the federal government plans to help California secure future water supplies by aiding ambitious projects, including the restorations of the California Bay Delta and the San Joaquin River, while maintaining a balance between human needs and healthy ecosystems.”

UPDATE @ 1 P.M. WEDNESDAY: After his Monday morning address at the Commonwealth Club, Salazar will join Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor at the Contra Costa Water District’s fish screen project dedication ceremony at the Rock Slough project site, about four miles southeast of Oakley. Completed through a partnership between Reclamation and the Contra Costa Water District, the project – funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – advances the Interim Federal Action Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by helping to keep Delta fish from entering the Contra Costa Canal through the Rock Slough intake.

Posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
Under: Anna Eshoo, Environment, Mike Honda, Obama presidency, Transportation, U.S. House, veterans | No Comments »

Clintons head for California

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the featured speaker at Friday night’s Commonwealth Club event in San Francisco. (Click here for details.)

And Bill, her husband and former president, will headline a rally on Friday and Sunday rally with gubernatorial candidate and Attorney Jerry Brown. The Friday event is at UCLA, followed by a  San Jose State University rally on Sunday.

Wait? Don’t those two dislike each other? Never mind. San Francisco Mayor and lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom will on hand to buffer any leftover hostilities as Democrats push back against predictions of a mid-term Republican wave.

The Vote 2010 Rally in the Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., San Jose State University event center, 290 S. 7th St., San Jose. To RSVP, email or visit

In a flyer distributed on campus, the organizers say folks who participate in a pre-rally phone banking event will receive preferred access to the rally.

Posted on Monday, October 11th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Democratic Party | No Comments »

No Nixon Halloween mask? Say it ain’t so

A colleague of mine scoured the central Contra Costa Halloween costume stores this week and could not (insert gasp here) find a Richard Nixon mask.

This is not right. We can’t have Halloween without bands of trick-or-treaters roaming the suburbs wearing Tricky Dick masks.

Instead, Times photographer Karl Mondon found this Veep Dick Cheney mask, which doesn’t even look that much like Dick Cheney. (Bernie Madoff, maybe? Or Rush Limbaugh?)

At least it was cheap: On sale for $7.97.

The Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton masks cost $19.99 each, a tad pricey for a prop. At $29.99, the Sarah Palin mask was way too dear for the paper’s paltry illustration budget.

What about George W. Bush? No mask of him either.

But there’s a big shipment coming next week to the Halloween Spirit stores. All is not lost just yet.

Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Under: political humor | 3 Comments »

Barbara Lee questions Hillary Clinton at hearing

From today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Obama Administration’s foreign-policy priorities:

Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Under: Barbara Lee, Hillary Clinton, U.S. House | No Comments »

Drats! Sullenberger not interested in congressional run

Capt. Sully Sullenberger

Capt. Sully Sullenberger

Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who saved the lives of every single one of his 155 passengers through a deft landing of a jetliner on the Hudson River in January, says he is honored that folks want him to run for Congress.

But he respectfully says he will continue to decline requests that he “throw his pilot’s hat into the ring,” says family spokesman Alex Clemens.

“He is focusing his time and energy fully on his family, his work for US Airways, and the other obligations that he has taken on since the dramatic events of January 15,” Clemens added.

I wasn’t surprised. When I called his house, Sully’s wife laughed out loud when I explained why the Times’ political writer wanted to talk with him.

This is far from the first time that Sullenberger has fielded this question. Political sources tell me that minutes after the news of Sullenberger’s hometown surfaced, political operatives scoured the voter registration rolls to find out which party he was affiliated and look at his voting record.

Oh, but what a race that would have been!

Sullenberger is a registered Republican and with his starpower, the GOP might have had a chance for a victory in the upcoming special election to replace Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher in District 10. (Tauscher has accepted an undersecretary job to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pending Senate confirmation.)

Democrats hold an 18-point party registration lead in this district, a nearly insurmountable hurdle under ordinary circumstances. Sullenberger has already proven he can beat impossible odds.

Granted, Sullenberger lives in Danville, which is in Rep. Jerry McNerney’s neighboring District 11. But there is no legal requirement that a congressional candidate live in the district and he could always move a mile or two.

On the other hand, Congress might feel like a demotion for Sullenberger.

For one, he would have to give up those six-figure motivational speaker’s fees. (And good for him. He deserves it.)

But more important, Sully is a true hero. If someone polled his numbers, he probably has a 6000 percent approval rating.

As a member of Congress, his popularity would plummet so fast that even a skilled pilot such as Sullenberger might not recover in time for a safe landing.

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: Congress, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

Bay Area House members urge action on Gaza

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland — along with Rep. John Olver, D-Mass., and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara — helped lead the effort to send a letter yesterday urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to pursue immediate action by the United States to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“Given the extent of the suffering, destruction, and deprivation in Gaza, it is imperative that the United States lead the effort to ameliorate the growing humanitarian crisis,” Lee said in a news release. “I am optimistic that under the leadership of our new President and Secretary of State, concrete steps will be taken to bring much needed relief to the people of Gaza.”

In their letter, the Representatives noted the need for the opening of border crossings into Israel so supplies can enter Gaza, and for the critically ill to be transported out of Gaza for medical treatment. They also reminded the Administration that rebuilding Gaza will depend on the international community making significant financial contributions.

The lawmakers also asked that Clinton or her staff share with them the actions taken to date and the strategy that will be pursued to address the humanitarian crisis; they want this information before Congress recesses on Feb. 13.

The three co-authors were joined by 57 co-signers, including much of the Bay Area’s delegation: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont; Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

Read the letter’s full text and list of signatories, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Hillary Clinton, Jackie Speier, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »

Poll: Palin ‘top villian,’ Hillary’s ’3 a.m.’ top ad

Some results from a poll of Campaigns & Elections’ Politics magazine subscribers:

Who would you say was the “Best Villain” of the 2008 election?

  • Sarah Palin 23%
  • Joe Lieberman 17%
  • John Edwards 16%
  • Michelle Bachmann 7%
  • Rudy Giuliani 6%
  • Ron Paul 5%
  • Elizabeth Dole 4%
  • Barack Obama 4%
  • John McCain 3%
  • Other 12%
  • Don’t Know 3%
  • Which of the following political advertisements would you say was the “Best TV spot” of the 2008 election?

  • Hillary Clinton – “3 AM” 31%
  • Barack Obama – “The Moment” 24%
  • John McCain – “Celebrity” 11%
  • Mike Huckabee – “Chuck Norris Approved” 9%
  • Bill Richardson – “Job Interviews” 7%
  • Mitt Romney – “Experience Matters” 3%
  • Republican National Committee – “Storm” 3%
  • Mike Gravel – “Throws a Rock in a Lake” 1%
  • Other 4%
  • Don’t Know 6%
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
    Under: 2008 presidential election, General | No Comments »

    Today’s Congressional odds and ends

    And the lucky winners are…: Jeff Buccas of Vallejo and Deborah McIntyre of Richmond were randomly selected today by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, to receive pairs of tickets to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama next month in Washington, D.C. He drew the names this morning at his Concord office after hundreds of constituents had signed up online for chances to win. (He was supposed to do it Monday, but had to postpone it in order to run back to Washington for discussions on an auto-industry bailout.) Miller later this month will tell constituents who’d asked for tickets earlier this year whether he’ll be able to oblige them, based on the limited number of tickets he anticipates he’ll get.

    Lee’s book signing: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will be signing copies of her new memoir, “Renegade for Peace and Justice,” at 4 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 6 at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. in Corte Madera. As I’ve blogged and my colleague Tammy Drummond has columnized (?), it’s quite a read. If you go, you can congratulate her on the “Heroes in the Struggle Award” she picked up from the Black AIDS Institute on Monday night at New York City’s Lincoln Center in recognition of her ongoing efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and abroad.

    Stark’s town meetings: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, is holding his latest round of town meetings this Saturday, Dec. 6, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway; 10 to 11 a.m. in San Leandro City Hall’s council chambers, 835 East 14th St.; and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Alameda City Hall’s council chambers, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

    Tauscher praises Obama’s picks: Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo — chairwoman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee and an early supporter of Hillary Clinton for president — issued a statement Monday praising President-elect Obama’s selection of Clinton as his Secretary of State plus the rest of his “strong, experienced and patriotic” national security team. “From his first day in office, President Obama will have to address the threat of terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and material, and instability around the globe. He has assembled the right team,” Tauscher said. “I share President-elect Obama’s belief in a balanced and multilateral approach to national security that operates from a position of strength, an approach that interweaves America’s military, diplomatic and economic power. As he did last week, President-elect Obama is moving quickly and decisively to begin the process of rebuilding our military and our reputation around the world. Among the selections announced today, I have had the honor of working closely with Senator Hillary Clinton, Secretary Robert Gates, and General Jim Jones. All are patriotic public servants who understand the role the United States can play in the world. I look forward to working with the President and each member of his new team.”

    Get those cards in: Just a reminder that there’s only one week left in Rep. Jerry McNerney’s “Holiday Cards for Our Troops” program, in which the Pleasanton Democrat is collecting holiday cards for soldiers recovering from battle and stationed away from their families this holiday season, and then hand-deliver the cards to soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; sailors and marines at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; and National Guard and Reserve soldiers at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin. Constituents should make or buy a holiday card, write a message of thanks inside to a service member, and then deliver the card in an unaddressed, unsealed envelope by next Wednesday, Dec. 10 to one of McNerney’s district offices — at 5776 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 175 in Pleasanton or 2222 Grand Canal Blvd., Suite 7 in Stockton.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
    Under: Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Jerry McNerney, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »