Thursday, May 24, 2012

President Obama Dines with Supporters in Atherton

Air Force One landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View at 6:18 p.m. Wednesday night. Among those greeting the president was Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park.

The motorcade went south on U.S. 101 then back up I-280 to Woodside Road exit into Atherton, arrived about 7:10 p.m. at the Atherton home of Doug Goldman, software company founder, retired emergency physician, philanthropist and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, and his wife Lisa, who hosted a $35,800-a-head dinner.

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.
President Obama and Doug Goldman made remarks in a large outdoor tent at around 8 p.m.

Goldman, who said the property has been in his family since 1906, said he and his wife decided to welcome the president with an Hawaiian decoration theme: floral arrangements, tablecloths, potted palms, hurricane lanterns, leis.

Goldman said the Recovery Act was a "brilliant" move, "saving more than one million jobs."

"It worked so well," he told the president, "some of your opponents are trying to take credit for it."

Goldman also credited President Obama for ending the Iraq war, killing Osama bin Laden, and voicing support for same-sex marriage. The last point drew the loudest cheers and applause from the audience.

President Obama said of the Goldmans: "They have had my back from the get-go, and at a time when not many people knew who I was."

He thanked David Crosby and Graham Nash, who performed at the event. "It's not every day you get Rock and Roll Hall of Famers strumming the guitar for you," he said.

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, Missouri, 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.

The motorcade left the Goldman residence in Atherton at 8:58 p.m. and rolled up El Camino Real to Redwood City, where the president arrived around 9:08 p.m. 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 Theatre included theater owners Eric Lochtefeld and Lori Lochtefeld, and Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre.

After his talk there, the president headed to San Jose's Fairmont Hotel, where he'll spend the night and hold a campaign fundraiser with Asian American/Pacific Islander contributors Thursday morning before leaving from Moffett Field around 10 a.m.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner was also scheduled to be in the Bay Area on Wednesday to attend a fundraiser in Woodside for the Republican Party.

Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan is scheduled to make a fundraising visit to San Francisco on Thursday.

Source: Palo Alto Online News
Pool reporting by Josh Richman — Bay City News Service

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