Pool report from President Obama at Stanford

Here are the pool reports I’ve filed today from President Obama’s visit to Stanford University for the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Click here for our main story on the overall summit.

Stanford University President John L. Hennessy began speaking at11:31 a.m. to introduce the President. Hennessy said Obama understands the challenges of cybersecurity, as “an avid Blackberry user” and the first president to be electronically connected, he had to give that up upon taking office.

President Obama came to the podium at 11:33 a.m. to a standing ovation, with students in the balcony roaring.

“Yes we can,” he echoed a particularly enthusiastic audience member’s call.

The President praised the Stanford campus’ beauty. “I’ve got to admit, I kind of want to go here – I was trying to figure out why a really nice place like this is wasted on young people who don’t fully appreciate what you’ve got.” He also thanked the university for hosting this summit, and noted that members of his administration including Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Penny Pritzker and others are Stanford alumni who “bleed Cardinal red.”

“This is the place that made nerd cool,” he said. “I was thinking of wearing some black-rimmed glasses with some tape in the middle, but I guess that’s not what you do anymore.”

“But, I’m not just here to enjoy myself.”

The President said the economy continues to recover, with an unprecedented streak of job creation and middle-class earnings starting to rise. “More than any other nation on earth, the United States is positioned to lead in the 21st century,” he said, and that means leading in technological innovation.

The President noted Stanford and its environs were the birthplace of Hewlett-Packard, the mouse, and the internet itself, “innovations for cloud computing, student projects here became Yahoo! and Google. Those were pretty good student projects.”
He said if all companies traceable back to Stanford formed their own nation, “you’d have one of the largest economies in the world, and a pretty good football team as well.”

“Just as we’re all connected like never before, we have to work together like never before, both to seize opportunities and to meet the challenges of this information age,” he said.

LOTS more, after the jump…
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Pool report from Obama’s SF dinner fundraiser

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, serving as the local pool reporter for President Obama’s fundraising dinner tonight at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco’s Civic Center, filed this report a short while ago:

The first VIP fundraiser of the evening for 100 donors, held in a hall in the Civic Auditorium, was hosted by chef Alice Waters. She was wearing a plum scarf and was present in the hall – where she presided over long wooden banquet tables decorated in a fall theme with baskets of fresh fruit and apples and tall candelabras.

Fish tartare a la japonaise
Boudin blanc
Warm chanterelles on grilled toast
Fall tomato salad with homemade mozzarella
Fresh cheese with baked fig
Eggplant tagine with couscous
Duck confit with herb and frisee salad
Corncakes with mint and chive
Prosciutto and almonds

Guests sat on low long wooden benches in front of a tan velvet curtain, graced by an American flag and a California state flag.

Obama, in suit and tie, entered at 7:03 p.m. to cheers and a standing ovation.

He was introduced by Pam Hamamoto, a childhood friend of the president’s from public school in Hawaii.

She said both were new in the school; she had moved from another part of the state, and “he moved from Indonesia….but I like to think our experiences that first year were similar,” both learning to navigate new classes, new friendships and new teachers.

“I still remember the first time I saw him on the playground … a classmate asked me, ‘Do you know Barry? He’s a new kid too.’”

“It didn’t cross my mind at the time that this young boy with bare feet and chubby cheeks would grow up to be President of the United States,” she said.

She said that the two “grew up in the melting pot of Hawaii” where “respect and compassion for working people was just a way of life.”

She said back then, Obama was “an extremely hard worker” and “a fierce competitor,” as well as a leader, “just as he is today.”

“It’s been a privilege for me to be a part of this amazing ‘Obama for America’ team,” she said.

Obama began speaking at 7:07 p.m.

“Pam, that was the sweetest introduction I’ve had since I’ve been president,” he said. “I know that many of you are wondering, why does she look so much younger than him? All I can say is, genes,” he said to laughs.

“It’s true that the environment that we grew up in” provides us with “a certain ballast,” he said. Those who wonder about his “even keel” he said, can look to Hawaii. “You body surf, and you feel fine afterwards. It washes away all worries,” he said.

Obama said that “most of you have been great friends,” supporting him back to his U.S. Senate runs. He noted the campaign has 29 days left, and also noted that he and his wife celebrated their 29th anniversary. “It was on debate night,” he said, so they scheduled a date night on Saturday.

“We snuck out…there was a little private room,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was giving my wife undivided attention.”

“The waiter … at the end, as I was signing the check – and yes, I still do have a credit card,” he said, “he said, ‘Mr. President…I just want you to know that you saved my mom’s life.’”

The waiter said his mother had a stroke, didn’t get qualified for Medicare, and because of the health care law “she was able to get insurance and pay for her medications.”

Obama said as the waiter left, “I told Michelle that probably once a day I get something like that.”

“It reminds me that what we do is not sport, it’s not simply about who’s up and who’s down in the polls,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s about that young man and his mom … and the belief that in this great country of ours, we’re going to make sure that every single person is treated with dignity and with respect.”

“That’s why we do this. That’s what these events are about.”

He said his friend, Pam, was right. “I am very competitive. And I very much intend to win this election,” he said to cheers.

He urged supporters to have to be “almost obsessive” over the next 29 days, urging them to talk to “cousins and uncles and friends in battleground states.”

Speech lasted just a few minutes, and pool was ushered out as questions began.

It was a much more serene scene than outside, where crowds lined up hours in advance to get into the concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to hear John Legend and Oakland-born Michael Franti perform. Crowd is estimated at 6,000, tickets started at $100, but those lower end tickets were sold out early on.

UPDATE @ 8:19 P.M.: Carla followed up with this tidbit: Pam Hamamoto, the former schoolmate who introduced the president at the dinner, is a major Obama bundler from Tiburon; records show she has raised $200,000 to $500,000 for the president.


3rd POTUS pool report: Redwood City

Motorcade left Goldman residence in Atherton at 8:58 p.m. and rolled up El Camino Real to Redwood City, where POTUS arrived around 9:08 p.m. and entered Fox Theater to do some photos. Tickets for this event cost $250 for general admission; $1,000 for premium seating; or $7,500 for a seat plus a photo reception, with up to two additional guests in the photo at $2,500 each.

A campaign official said those in attendance at the Fox Theater included theater owners Eric Lochtefeld and Lori Lochtefeld; Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre; and OFA CA Political Director Peggy Moore.

Press was held outside for about 15-20 minutes before entering through side door; sadly, we missed Ben Harper’s performance, but were treated to a significant chunk of the Tom Hanks-narrated video detailing the president’s first-term accomplishments. The audience cheered and applauded certain moments during the video, including Bill Clinton’s first appearance; passage of the Affordable Care Act, swearing in of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and so on.

The film ended, the stage lights came up and… nothing for a few minutes. The crowd began chanting the president’s name; and then a call and response of “Fired up!” and “Ready to Go!”; and then “Four more years!” Still, nobody.

Finally, after several minutes, POTUS took the stage at 9:46 p.m. to a standing ovation.

“It is good to be back in California,” he said, recognizing and thanking Mayor Aguirre and Ben Harper.

“I’m here because your country needs your help. Four years ago we came together, we came together because we want to reclaim the basic bargain that built the most solid middle class and the most prosperous nation on earth,” he said.

He talked about the American Dream of having equal opportunity for education and prosperity, “no matter who you look like… no matter who you love.”

When he came to office, more and more people were seeing falling incomes, stagnant job growth, unaffordable education. “We built a house of cards, and it ended up collapsing in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

“Together, we fought our way back,” he said. When some said we should let Detroit go bankrtupt, we bet on American workers and innovators “and today the American auto industry is back on top of the world.”

“We’re not satisfied, we still have so much more to do” as so many remain jobless, their home mortgages underwater, first responders and teachers being laid off, he said. And that’s why this election is so important – because we can’t go back to the policies that didn’t work. “We have to move forward, not backwards.”

Productivity and hard work are at an all-time high, he said, but the problem is that it doesn’t lead most people to higher income, better jobs, better lives. What Mitt Romney doesn’t understand is that higher profits aren’t desirable “at the cost of massive layoffs” or “shipping jobs overseas” or “gutting all those investments that create a platform for everybody’s success.”

Republicans want deeper tax cuts while services for working people, infrastructure investments and regulations to keep Wall Street are gutted, he said. “That’s not new – the last guy did this,” he said, referring to President George W. Bush. Romney, he said, “is hoping you don’t remember what happened the last time we tried all that.”

“We don’t want government to solve all our problems – it shouldn’t try,” he said. Not every tax dollar can be spent wisely, he said, and not all people can be helped who doesn’t want to help themselves.

“But that’s different from telling the vast majority of hard-working Americans, ‘You’re on your own” when it comes to affording college, health care, a home, he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not how America was built.”

It was collective investment that created the platform for enterprises like Google and Facebook to be born and thrive, the president said. “It made us all richer, it gave us all opportunity.”

“That’s why I’m running again for President of the United States of America.”

He said he wants to ensure that by this decades end, the nation once again is turning out more engineers and scientists than anywhere else on earth, with everyone able to afford a chance at education and prosperity.

“I’m going to make sure the next generation of technological innovation takes place right here in Silicon Valley” as well as in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and other cities, he said.

He said the nation’s dependence on foreign oil is at a 15-year low while fuel economy standards are better and clean energy production has doubled.

“For the first time in nine years, we have no Americans fighting in Iraq.” OBL is dead, Al Qaeda is on the run and the war in Afghanistan will be over by 2014. “America is safer and stronger and more respected around the world” thanks to service and sacrifice of service members, and the nation must repay them with appropriate veterans’ services.

Romney, he said, opposed ending Iraq war and doesn’t want to set a date for getting out of Afghanistan. “The nation we need to build is our own. We will end this war responsibly.”

“We’re going to pay down our debt in a way that is fair and responsible” after he inherited a trillion-dollar debt, he said.

“It takes a Democrat to fix these problems after they had run up the tab… so we’re going to finish the job.” That means streamlining government but also reforming tax code so “folks like me, only the wealthiest Americans, pay a little bit more.”

Romney, on the other hand, proposes tax cuts paid for by ordinary Americans, and further diminishment of institutions such as Social Security and Medicare, he said.

“On issue after issue, these guys want to go backwards,” the president said, but there’s no time to re-fight the need for health care reform, or abortion rights, or myriad other issues. It’s time to move forward to a country where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, in which you can’t drown out ordinary people by writing a $10 million check to support or oppose a campaign.

America is about unity, using everyone’s talents to move the nation forward, he said. This election is tough – more negative ads and undisclosed spending through the rise of SuperPACs, but “ultimately the outcome of this election is going to be up to you,” he said.

“Gays love you!” an audience member shouted out; the president didn’t break his rhetorical stride.

“When you decide its time for change to happen, guess what – change happens,” he said. “If people ask you what this campaign is about, tell them its still about hope, its still about change.”

“I still believe in you; I hope you still believe in me,” he said.

POTUS finished at 10:19 p.m. First song on the PA system as he left stage: Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.”

POTUS is headed to San Jose’s Fairmont Hotel, where he’ll spend the night and hold a campaign fundraiser with Asian American/Pacific Islander contributors tomorrow morning before leaving from Moffett Field around 10 a.m.


2nd POTUS pool report: Atherton fundraiser

Among the guests at the Atherton fundraiser: Jan Brandt, vice chair emeritus of AOL; Dennis Troper, Google product management director; Tim Westergren, Pandora Media founder; and Susan Wojcicki, Google senior vice president.

Press was escorted into large outdoor tent at 7:55 p.m. POTUS and Doug Goldman entered at 7:58 p.m. Goldman said the property has been in his family since 1906, and he and his wife tried to welcome POTUS with Hawaiian decoration theme: floral arrangements, tablecloths, potted palms, hurricane lanterns, leis.

Goldman said the Recovery Act was a “brilliant” move, “saving more than 1 million jobs.” “It worked so well, some of your opponents are trying to take credit for it,” he said. Goldman also credited POTUS for ending Iraq war, killing OBL and voicing support for same-sex marriage, the latter of which drew the loudest cheers and applause from the audience.

POTUS began talking at 8:03 p.m., thanking the Goldmans for their hospitality: “They have had my back from the get-go, at a time when not many people knew who I was.”

He thanked David Crosby and Graham Nash (Stephen Stills is NOT in attendance): “It’s not every day you get Rock and Roll Hall of Famers strumming the guitar for you.” And he thanked actor Don Cheadle for his presence and support, but promised not to talk about their recent basketball game. Cheadle responded: “Thank you.”

“We’ve gone through three and a half of the toughest years in our lifetime,” the president said, with so many millions of jobs lost. “And we’ve still got a long way to go. In California and across the country there are still a lot of people who are hurting” from joblessness, risk of losing their homes, unaffordable education. “Our work is not done. The good news is, we’re beginning to steer that ship in the right direction.”

President Obama said he’s proud of his administration’s educational reforms, and said the nation must continue to make scientific advancements in order to remain globally competitive. “America continues to have the best workers and the best businesses in the world – we just have to get organized, and we’re starting to do that.”

The Affordable Care act has begun making health care more affordable and accessible; fuel economy standards for cars have been doubled; clean energy production has been doubled; and foreign oil imports are at a 15-year low, he said. The Iraq war is over and Afghanistan is ending, while the U.S. is regaining international respect.

“We continue to be the agenda setters,” he said, shaping international rules and norms on issues from terrorism to climate change to poverty. “People are paying attention, people are listening, and people are hungry for our leadership.”

But he needs another term to seal the deal, he said.

“This is a country full of decent people who believe in America and are generous and kind and tolerant,” the president said.

He talked about being at a high school graduation earlier this week in Joplin, Mo., which was ravaged by a tornado last year, and meeting a senior who lost both his parents, spent five weeks in physical rehab and had to care for his sister yet still is graduating and going on to college. “That captures who we are and what we’re about” as a nation, he said, leaving him “more determined than I was in 2008” to carry on.

Press was ushered out at 8:14 p.m., as he started a question and answer session with the audience. Press is now (8:35 p.m.) in vans, waiting for departure to Redwood City.


The full pool report from Obama’s SF fundraiser

Here’s the complete readout on President Obama’s remarks this afternoon at a fundraising luncheon in San Francisco’s W Hotel, as reported by the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler (the White House travelling press corps’ designated pool reporter for the day, as no local press was allowed into the event):

Asked for notables at the San Fran funder, a Democratic official pointed to Shervin Pishevar, head of Menlo Ventures.

President Obama made a direct appeal for help in the upcoming election. “Whether you are an old grizzled veteran or new to the scene, I need your help,” he said. He said that the coming election was “more consequential, more important” to the future of nation and its kids than the last one.

He talked about the economic crisis facing the country and his vision for the nation.
“America should be a place where you can make it if you try… a country where everyone has a fair shake and everyone does their fair share.”

He talked about his jobs bill in familiar terms and referred to the tax increases by saying the bill was fully paid for “by asking those of us who’ve been most blessed in this society to do a little bit more.”

He said his jobs bill would “give the economy the jolt it needs right now.”

He pointed to the recent Senate bill that taxed those earning over $1 million per year to give state aid to retain teacher and other public sector jobs. He said that for someone making $1.1 million a year, “that’s an extra $500, 500 bucks.” The audience replied with some laughter. “That would save 400,000 jobs all across the country.” He said they were “not just any jobs but jobs that are vital” to the well being of our kids and communities. He said most people he knows “would make that contribution willingly,” and the audience applauded in agreement.

“So this is the fight we’re having right now. This is frankly what the next year is going to be about.”

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Pool reports from the President’s Bay Area stops

Here’s the press pool report, unedited, as filed moments ago by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci from President Barack Obama’s motorcade; I’ll update with subsequent ones as they come in.

Event: DNC fundraiser

Location: Atherton, CA home of former State Controller Steve Westly and his wife, Anita Yu

Details: President Obama met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Westin Hotel for 45 minutes to talk about technology, education and innovation issues.

The Obama motorcade hit 380 and then 280 South to head to Atherton, where it was greeted by about 50 protesters carrying signs, “Hello FDR recovery,” “Good bye, Wall Street traitors,” “Obamanator,” and “Kills jobs, kills hope.” Also saw “Repeal Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Press vans are left outside the sprawling ranch home surrounded by olive trees and lush vegetation.

Obama [is] doing a $6500 a head photo op event for Kamala Harris, San Francisco District Attorney and Democratic candidate for AG, and about 50 people are present for the $30,400 a head DNC fundraiser inside Westly’s house.

We’re told this will be a 20 minute stop.

UPDATE @ 8:49 P.M.: Here’s Carla’s second report:

Pool report No. 2
Location: Palo Alto DNC fundraiser, home of Marissa Mayer, Google executive.

Setting: Large brown shingled home in “Professorville” area of Palo Alto was decorated with huge blow up Halloween decorations, inside about 50 diners inside wood beamed dining room… with Giants-Phillies game updates at the ready throughout the President’s fundraiser, where donors paid $30,400 to dine in an intimate setting as the president roamed around to talk to them.

Obama entered through the kitchen to be greeted with warm applause and standing ovation from the crowd, which included Democratic fundraiser and Silicon Valley insider Wade Randlett.

Before he spoke, Mayer’s husband Zachary Bogue delivered the news: “First, an important announcement, Giants game is 3-2 Phillies.’’

“Despite the game, we want to thank you all for being here,’’ said Bogue, standing next to Mayer.

Mayer reminded the crowd that the garage where Silicon Valley giant Hewlett Packard was founded “is just a few blocks away.’’

“As an engineer in Silicon Valley, I’m very optimistic,’’ that the foundation for “a strong and healthy economy” has been laid, she said.

“Tonight is really about camaraderie, as well as about optimism..these are two traits that have really drawn a lot of us to the president,’’ she said.

She noted that “I met him for the first time in 2003 when he came to Google as a state Senator…it is my great honor to introduce him as the 44th President of the United States.”

Obama told the diners to sit down and said “I’m not going to bore you with a long speech.”

“My main message is to say thank you to Zachary and Marissa for opening up this wonderful home….I was especially thrilled to see the pumpkins and the Halloween stuff out there.”

That’s because “I will be home on Sunday night when the girls get dressed up and do some trick or treating,’’ he said.

He noted that he sees “a lot of old friends” here and “some new ones as well.”

Obama said he remembered his first visit to Google years ago, where he first met Mayer, and said “it spoke to the….American idea, that if we’re innovating, if people have the tools to let their imaginations run, then there’s nothing we can’t do in this country.”

He said that America is now coming out of “a decade in which, frankly, that can do spirit had been lost.’’

He noted that the country is going through a tough economic times. But he said his task “hasn’t just been to stop the bleeding,” but to find out how the country can deal with the issues “that have prevented more Googles from being created.”

“We’ve made a start on all these fronts,’’ he said. “Our education agenda has been as innovative and aggressive as anything we’ve seen.”

“We have tackled things like health care that have been weights around the necks of… individuals and families,’ he said.

“We’re taking on clean energy in ways that we haven’t seen before,’’ made the largest investment in clean energy in history, and “we’re seeing solar panels and wind turbines” all across the country, he said.

“I’m optimistic about the future, but in the short term, we’ve got a long way to go. There are a lot of people out there that are hurting,’’ he said. “A lot of kids who still aren’t sure that they can finance their college education.”

“In an environment where people are frustrated and hurting,’’ he said, the mission is now about “going forwards,’’ not going backwards.

“In a place like California, frankly, as many people as I meet, I can’t meet everybody… you help us do that,’’ he said to the donors.

“I’m grateful to you. We are excited about the last 10 days,’’ he said, noting he has traveled to Oregon, Ohio.

“As we travel around the country… although everybody recognizes the last two years have been tough,’’ what has been “remarkable” is the “degree of resilience.”

Obama said he wanted to “have a chance to talk to all of you, and hear from all of you.”

But he added with a laugh that “if at any time people want to come in here and get an update on the Giants game, I’m perfectly happy.”

The press was retired to Mayer’s basement, where there’s a full screening room playing the Giants-Phillies game on big screen, and a real snack bar, completely with popcorn machine and big box candy.