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PANDER WATCH: Carly Fiorina goes for the gusto

Pander WatchIn every campaign, there comes a moment when the candidate is sorely tempted to toss aside his or her heartfelt beliefs in favor of a statement that’s surer to please – and sadly, it’s all too rare an occasion when the candidate resists that temptation.

But Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina might’ve taken it to new heights (or depths?) on Twitter on Friday, at least as far as many in the Bay Area are concerned.

Fiorina, of course, is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard and former Los Altos Hills resident who received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and medieval history at Stanford University in 1976. The Stanford Cardinal is playing the Iowa State Hawkeyes in today’s Rose Bowl game (and, at this moment, Stanford is up 14-0).

Fiorina no doubt hopes her ersatz Hawkeye spirit will improve her odds in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus, coming up on Feb. 1. She certainly needs some sort of boost – she’s currently in a three-way tie for seventh place in Iowa, with 2.3 percent support, according to the latest average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

But do Iowans want a president who roots for their team simply in order to get their vote, or one who sticks by her fellow alumni? Where’s the loyalty, the fearless honesty?

The Twitterverse was not kind.

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Stanford prof gears up for U.S. Senate campaign

A prominent political figure now teaching at Stanford University is considering a run for the U.S. Senate.

No, calm down, Kamala – it’s not Condoleezza Rice in California’s 2016 race. It’s former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., laying the groundwork for a campaign to retake his old seat.

The Wall Street Journal reported March 3 that Feingold – a liberal best known for coauthoring a bipartisan campaign-finance reform law that since has been eviscerated by the U.S. Supreme Court – will split his time this year between teaching law and international relations at Stanford and going on a listening tour of Wisconsin.

Hot on the heels of a new poll that found Feingold leading incumbent Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Thursday released a web video that pokes fun at Feingold’s California-based Wisconsin campaign.

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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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Obama to speak next Friday at Stanford, in SF

President Barack Obama will be in the Bay Area next week to speak at a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University – an event that was scheduled a month ago but seems particularly timely given this week’s news of a massive hacking fiasco that compromised the personal data of up to 80 million Anthem insurance customers.

The president will arrive in San Francisco on Thursday night, a White House official said on background. He’ll speak Friday at the summit, which aims “to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks.”

“The summit will bring together major stakeholders on cybersecurity and consumer financial protection issues – including senior leaders from the White House and across the federal government; CEOs from a wide range of industries including the financial services industry, technology and communications companies; computer security companies and the retail industry; as well as law enforcement officials, consumer advocates, technical experts, and students,” the White House official said.

President Obama after his remarks will host a roundtable discussion with business leaders. On Friday evening, he’ll speak at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the San Francisco home of venture capitalist Sandy Robertson; tickets cost $10,000 for dinner and a photo, $32,400 to co-chair the event. On Saturday, Obama will head for Palm Springs.

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Signatures sent in for Medi-Cal funding measure

Health care providers and community groups have gathered and are submitting 1.3 million signatures to put a measure on November’s ballot that they say will provide stable funding for health care for children and, through Medi-Cal, for seniors and low-income residents.

“California voters will get the chance this fall to strengthen this critically important law, and improve access to quality affordable medical care for those who need it most,” California Hospital Association President and CEO C. Duane Dauner said in a news release.

The Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act of 2014 “will ensure California receives ongoing access to approximately $3 billion annually in federal matching funds,” Dauner said. “This is California’s fair share, money that would otherwise be left on the table in Washington, D.C.”

California’s hospitals for the past several years have taxed themselves to get access to the federal funds, but the budget-crunched state at times has diverted some of that money to its general fund. Last year’s SB 239, passed by the Legislature without any opposing votes and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, extended this fee through 2017 and specified how the money could be spent.

This measure would make that law permanent, and would require that “any changes in the program or to how the money is spent would have to be approved by voters first,” Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, noted in the release.

Patients aren’t assessed any fees, and there are no new or increased taxes.

“We don’t have a single voice of opposition – this is a win-win for everybody… and it doesn’t cost a dime to California taxpayers,” said Anne McLeod, the California Hospital Association’s senior vice president of health policy.

The money must be spent to provide health care services to children and, through Medi-Cal, to elderly and low-income Californians. Without the federal funds, money would have to come from privately insured patients; the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office finds the measure would save state taxpayers $500 million for children’s health coverage starting in 2016-17, growing to more than $1 billion per year by 2019-20.

Dauner said people with private insurance shouldn’t face higher rates to subsidize unpaid Medi-Cal bills if federal money is available to cover the cost. “The Act is a common-sense answer to helping people provide health care to those who need it most, at great benefit to California taxpayers.”

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CAGOP14: Condoleezza Rice’s luncheon speech

It’s not just the California Republican Party that needs rebuilding – it’s America itself, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday at the state GOP convention in Burlingame.

Condoleezza-Rice-photo-by-Steve-Gladfelter-Stanford.jpgRice, now a Stanford professor and Hoover Institution senior fellow, said the American “pursuit of happiness” requires opportunity, community and responsibility to each other, as well as to people around the world who don’t yet have the liberties we enjoy.

That requires “proper balance between the rights and responsibilities of the individual, and the powers of government,” Rice said. “We don’t mean ‘no government’ – that’s not what our founders believe.”

Instead, she said, we need a government that imposes few regulations and low taxes upon the private sector “because it is the private sector that is creative, innovative and risk-taking” in creating jobs and opportunities for citizens.

“We must be committed to the belief that individuals have choices, and we will respect the choices of each other,” Rice said. “On one hand, we are the most individualistic people on the face of the earth … But we… are also the most philanthropic. This is a country where people give up their resources and their time to good causes.”

But public entitlements aren’t the answer, she said. Nor should Americans be jealous of each others’ success, she said; anyone can succeed with hard work and perseverance, so long as they’re given a good education.

She said she can’t understand how some people move to wealthy neighborhoods to get their children into good schools, or send their children to private schools, and then argue against school choice.

“The greatest civil rights issue of our time is a high-quality education for every child,” she said, calling for a school-voucher system.

More from Rice, after the jump…
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