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Meg Whitman to host Chris Christie fundraiser

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman will host a fundraising reception for a Republican presidential candidate next month – but not for her HP predecessor and 2010 ticket-mate, Carly Fiorina.

Meg WhitmanWhitman and her husband, Griff Harsh, will host a $2,700-per-person fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 19 at their Atherton home. Whitman signed on to Christie’s campaign in June as a national finance co-chair.

This event’s host committee includes real estate developer Steve Eggert and his wife, Pam, of Sacramento; businessman and Wall Street heir Nick Loeb of Florida; Bullpen Capital managing director Paul Martino of Mountain View; Palo Alto Networks chairman, president and CEO Mark McLaughlin and his wife, Karen, of Saratoga; real estate investor Carole McNeil of San Francisco; and GOP strategist Jeff Randle and his wife, Kellie, of Sacramento.

Christie currently is ranked ninth in the GOP field, with 2.4 percent support, according to an average of five recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. Fiorina is in sixth place, at 5.4 percent.

Whitman and Fiorina made their first runs for public office at the same time in 2010 – Whitman, who had been eBay’s CEO from 1998 to 2008, ran for governor of California while Fiorina, HP’s CEO from 1999 to CEO, challenged U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Both lost – Whitman by 13 percentage points, Fiorina by 10 – with Fiorina garnering more raw votes than Whitman.

Fiorina has raised $317,879 and Christie has raised $37,200 from the greater Bay Area this year, according to Federal Election Commission data crunched by the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Kashkari and Whitman sign same-sex marriage brief

Former California gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari and Meg Whitman are among more than 300 Republicans and conservatives who signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman formally filed the amicus brief Thursday evening involving four cases to be heard on April 28 concerning government recognition of the freedom to marry.

The signers “want to convey to the court that they support traditional conservative values, including the belief in the importance of stable families, as well as the commitment to limited government and the protection of individual freedom,” a news release said. “Furthermore they believe that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held marriage to be a fundamental right.”

Mehlman said the brief “adds an important and different voice in the struggle for marriage equality both before the Court and also to millions of Americans at a ‘teaching moment.’ It is another reflection of the growing national support for freedom and liberty for gay and lesbian Americans – support that clearly crosses partisan and ideological lines.”

In 2013, Mehlman submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry – the case that resulted in California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage being overturned – with 131 Republican signers.

Other signers of this new brief include former California House members Mary Bono and Michael Huffington; the consultants who have run California’s past three Republican gubernatorial campaigns – Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, and Aaron McLear; Josh Ginsberg, former political director for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Tucker Bounds, former communications director for Whitman; and Andrea Saul, former communications director for 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina.

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The return of “Queen Meg” Whitman?

Meg Whitman on Forbes cover 6-10-2013The new issue of Forbes magazine features Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman on the cover, but the headline harkens back to a less successful moment in her career.

“Meg Goes to War,” the headline proclaims. “Can the queen of Silicon Valley save its original startup?”

Whitman’s people should put a permanent kibosh on using the word “queen” anywhere near her name. It’s a cringe-worthy reminder of the “Queen Meg” guerrilla campaign tactic that the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United used against her during her 2010 gubernatorial run – a costumed performer impersonating Whitman as someone who thought herself above, and couldn’t be bothered by, the needs of the hoi polloi.

The Forbes story portrays Whitman as a CEO who wants to learn from her company’s mistakes in order to build a leaner, more competitive outfit. “She’s decisive without being abrasive, persuasive without being slick. She’s a team builder who knows that turnarounds call for repairing hundreds of small failings rather than betting everything on a miracle cure that might be a mirage.”

If that’s how she had run her $178.5 million campaign – with $144 million of that coming from her own pocket – we might be calling her Gov. Whitman right now.

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Chris Christie calls Jerry Brown ‘an old retread’

Media including the Los Angeles Times are reporting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tirade against California Gov. Jerry Brown this morning as he addressed California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.:

“California made the bad choice by going with an old retread,” Christie told California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention here, a crowd that lapped up his message. “Let me tell you this – I cannot believe you people elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. … Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old.”

Christie said the 74-year-old, three-term governor told him that he’s not trying to raise taxes, that he is allowing voters to decide by putting a tax proposal on the ballot.

“Man, that’s leadership, isn’t it?” Christie said.

Seems like my story in today’s editions about California being a popular GOP punching bag was timely, no?

A few observations: Christie governs a state that doesn’t require two-thirds majorities of both houses of the Legislature in order to raise taxes. California’s GDP grew by 2 percent last year, while New Jersey’s shrank by -0.5 percent. And Meg Whitman now presides over Hewlett-Packard, which last week reported its largest-ever quarterly loss – $8.9 billion – and is stumbling dangerously, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Romney, Obama and lots of protesters

Bay Area residents can expect a double-whammy of presidential fundraising, and a bevy of protests to go along with it.

Shortly after news broke of President Barack Obama’s fundraising trip to Piedmont and Oakland on Monday, July 23, invitations surfaced for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s events in Woodside and San Francisco on Sunday, July 22.

And protesters will be sure to flock to both.

In fact, a call for protesters to stage outside the president’s 4:30 p.m. event at the Fox Theater on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue went forth Thursday on the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center’s website.

“I hope you’ll be able to come out, so we can give our President a real East Bay unwelcome, and let him know we’re not happy that he does not have our backs when the big banks foreclose our homes, corporations are allowed to pollute and leave brown fields behind, neighborhood schools are being closed, the police kill people of color with no accountability, OPD kicks the s— out of peaceful protesters, and the feds are raiding our cannabis clubs,” the post said. “The time is now. This is our big chance.”

All $100 and $250 seats for the Fox Theater event have sold out already; VIP seating tickets remain at $1,000, or $7,500 for event-sponsor status including admission to a photo reception; sponsors can then bring additional guests to the photo reception for $2,500 each.

The president also is scheduled to attend a $35,800-a-head dinner reception starting at 4:15 p.m. at the Piedmont home of progressive activist/attorney Quinn Delaney & her husband, real estate developer Wayne Jordan; Jordan is among Obama’s foremost “bundlers.”

And the president earlier that day will hold a roundtable for tech leaders — also at $35,800 per person — at an East Bay location yet to be disclosed.

But Romney will be in the Bay Area sooner, with three events scheduled for the day before the president’s visit.

Romney will have a $50,000-a-head luncheon at the Woodside home of Tom Siebel, founder of C3 and Siebel Systems. Among those scheduled to attend: former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman; Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy; and Howard Leach, the former U.S. ambassador to France.

Then Romney heads for a 4:45 p.m. event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, with tickets ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Former San Francisco Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan will be among the hosts there.

Romney will cap the day with a 6:30 p.m. dinner in Pacific Heights hosted by Shaklee Corp. chairman and CEO Roger Barnett, with a $50,000-a-head price tag.

And might Romney, while he’s here, announce the Bay Area’s own former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, as the Drudge Report predicted Thursday? Well, you never know. But RedState’s Erick Erickson says “bull shiitake mushrooms” to that.

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Romney names senior adviser for California

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s campaign announced this afternoon that Jeff Randle of Sacramento will be its senior adviser in California.

“Jeff Randle is one of California’s most respected and accomplished political leaders, and his expertise is critical as we work to highlight Mitt Romney’s vision for the Golden State,” Romney for President Political Director Rich Beeson said in the news release. “Jeff has more than 25 years of experience running and winning statewide elections. His insight and savvy will be invaluable as we work to defeat President Obama, elect Mitt Romney and fundamentally change the direction of our country.”

Jeff RandleIn the same release, Randle said he’s “honored to be part of what is an incredibly organized, focused and determined campaign team.

“The team reflects Mitt Romney’s leadership and mirrors his focus on building a winning organization that is primed to win the general election,” he said. “Mitt Romney is the right leader at a critical time in American history. I look forward to working together with Mitt and the team to win in November and bring real change to our great nation.”

Randle, 49, president and CEO of Randle Communications, most recently was a senior adviser to Meg Whitman’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Whitman early in her business career worked for Romney at Bain & Co., was a finance co-chair of Romney’s 2008 presidential primary bid, and co-hosted a Bay Area fundraiser for Romney last month.

Randle was Gov. Pete Wilson’s deputy chief of staff from 1991 to 1998 and was a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political team from before the 2003 gubernatorial recall election through Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election.