Inside Obama’s Silicon Valley visit

Our story has been updated periodically throughout the day and evening, but here’s an amalgamation of the pool reports I filed to the White House while traveling with the motorcade today:

Air Force 1 arrived at Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA at 4:11 PM Pacific. POTUS was greeted on the tarmac by NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden; Col. Steven Butow, commander of the 129th Rescue Wing; Mountain View Mayor Christopher Clark; and Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith. POTUS then worked the rope line for a few minutes before the motorcade departed for Los Altos home of 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, site of first Silicon Valley fundraiser.

Press couldn’t see or hear POTUS at any point during the stop at Wojcicki’s home. In the holding area, chicken wraps were spicy and talk quickly turned to the NFL draft. Motorcade departed at 6:15 p.m. en route to the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, site of the second, larger DNC fundraiser of the evening; tickets for this one cost from $1,000 to $32,400. Uneventful drive, some well-wishers and onlookers on local streets in Los Altos; small crowd including some protesters (anti-Walmart, Keystone XL, etc.) in Cesar Chavez Park facing the hotel. Arrived at hotel at 6:38 p.m.

At the Fairmont, about 250 guests mingled and sipped wine or beer until Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer took the stage at 7:48 p.m. to introduce President Obama. Obama arrived at the podium at 7:50 p.m. to cheers and applause.

“It is good to be back in San Jose,” he said, thanking the two co-hosts and acknowledging Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, and DNC Finance Chair Henry Munoz.

“A lot of you worked on the campaign and on OFA,” he said, offering “a little update about where we are.”

“We came into office at a time when America was in dire straits and we have made enormous progress over the last five something years,” he said, citing the recovery of the auto industry, reduction of oil imports, college attendance up and high school dropouts down, and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. “But for all that we’ve done, for the war in Iraq that we’ve ended ad the war in Afghanistan that we’re bringing to an honorable close,” for progress on climate change, “we know that we’ve got more work to do.”

Lots more, after the jump…
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Obama returns to Bay Area on May 8

President Obama will return to the Bay Area on Thursday, May 8 for a pair of high-priced events to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.

Tickets for a reception at the Palo Alto home of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer start at $1,000 for individual guests, while $5,000 buys a place in the photo line; $7,500 buys access and photos for two; $10,000 buys co-chair status; and $32,400 buys all that plus membership in the DNC Presidential Partners Program.

Mayer hosted Obama for a DNC fundraiser in October 2010, when she was still an executive at Google.

“We need the resources to put Democrats in office to move our country forward,” says the invitation to this upcoming event. “Since we do not take money from special interests, corporate lobbyists, and political action committees, we rely on dedicated Democrats like you. Please join us for a reception to support this important work.”

Obama also is expected to do a roundtable with about 20 tech executives that same day somewhere in Silicon Valley, with seats going for the $32,400 maximum contribution. It’s not yet known whether he’ll do any official events while he’s here, or whether he’ll be staying overnight.


Obama to meet with tech executives Tuesday

President Obama will meet Tuesday with executives from leading tech companies – including some notable Bay Area names – to discuss progress made in addressing the glitches and breakdowns that plagued the HealthCare.gov website, a White House official said Monday.

In addition to talking about the botched rollout of the website – the portal connecting people seeking individual insurance policies under the nation’s new health care law – Obama and the tech executives will discuss how government can better deliver information technology “to maximize innovation, efficiency and customer service,” the official said.

Also on the agenda: “national security and the economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures,” and ways that the Obama administration can partner with the tech sector “to grow the economy, create jobs and address issues around income inequality and social mobility.”

Here’s the list of tech executives expected at the meeting:

  • Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
  • Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
  • Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
  • Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO, Netflix
  • Drew Houston, Founder & CEO, Dropbox
  • Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo!
  • Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer, Salesforce
  • Mark Pincus, Founder, Chief Product Officer & Chairman, Zynga
  • Shervin Pishevar, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Sherpa Global
  • Brian Roberts, Chairman & CEO, Comcast
  • Erika Rottenberg, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, LinkedIn
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
  • Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
  • Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft
  • Randall Stephenson, Chairman & CEO, AT&T
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    Silicon Valley bigwigs raising money for Ro Khanna

    Ro Khanna, the former Obama administration official who’s challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, has a fundraiser scheduled for Thursday night in San Francisco with some of Silicon Valley’s big names.

    Ro KhannaThe top hosts are Ron Conway, a famed investor who is now special adviser to the San Francisco-based SV Angel investment firm, and Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame.

    Also involved are Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff, who has hosted fundraisers for President Barack Obama; Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her husband, Zach Bogue; Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton from Benchmark Capital General Partners; Napster developer Shawn Fanning; Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of business development and monetization; Dropbox general counsel Ramsey Homsany, formerly a VP at Google; and SV Angel founder and managing partner David Lee.

    The cost is $2,600 for supporters, $5,200 for sponsors; the 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. reception is being held in a private room at a North Beach restaurant.

    Honda, 71, started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand and raised about $214,000 in the first quarter so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to the $1 million bankroll that Khanna built in one blockbuster quarter back in 2011, when most folks thought he would run to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark.

    Khanna, 36, of Fremont, raised only $18,000 in the first quarter of this year, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar; he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2. This fundraiser might help him deliver on his promise of a much more aggressive and lucrative second quarter.

    Khanna – a deputy assistant secretary in the Commerce Department from 2009 to 2011, now of counsel to Silicon Valley law powerhouse Wilson Sonsini – may be hobnobbing with the tech elite but he’s not neglecting his grassroots, either. He’s scheduled to hold the latest of his community meet-and-greets over Memorial Day weekend: a potluck lunch from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25 in Almaden Quicksilver County Park along San Jose’s southern edge.