News


Three reports on Obama's Addison Avenue visit

 

These three press-pool reports -- two from inside the Addison Avenue home of Google executive Marissa Mayer and one as Obama was leaving -- are by Carla Marinucci, senior political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and the SFGate website, filed at 6:53 p.m. and two reports by Carol Lee of Politico.com, filed at about 7:40 p.m. and 8:09 p.m.

A second report, below, was filed about 7:40 p.m. by Carol Lee of Politico.com.

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 time. 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 and 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, complete with popcorn machine and big box candy.

REPORT FROM CAROL LEE OF POLITICO.COM:

(POTUS is Secret Service shorthand for President of the United States.)

Palo Alto, Calif.

Oct. 21, 2010

POTUS speaks at DNC (Democratic National Committee) fundraising dinner (remarks below):

Motorcade was rolling from the first round of fundraisers at 5:45 p.m. Pool held in vans the entire time and never saw POTUS.

Motorcade passed by the protesters as it left. They had moved from sprawling across the blocked-off street to gathering closer to the side of the road. The giant POTUS/Pelosi sign was gone. But the Whitman and Fiorina ones were still there.

Motorcade headed back north on the highway and looped around to Palo Alto, presumably to avoid shutting down residential streets. POTUS arrived at the home of Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue at 6:23 p.m.

The Palo Alto residents were crafty this evening, holding some homemade signs for POTUS: "Bill and Sandy love "resident Obama," one that simply said "YES" in red writing, another one welcoming POTUS to the neighborhood, and one man held up the lid of a cardboard gift box with "We love you" written on it.

A bunch of kids in bathing suits lined the sidewalk near an outdoor pool, waving.

There was also another one of the signs calling for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell -- exactly like the one the motorcade passed earlier.

Inside the Mayer/Bogue home, guests sat at six round tables in a large room off of the kitchen. The room had a vaulted ceiling with exposed wood beams. Several modern paintings hung on the white walls, along with a giant flat-screen TV that was turned off despite tonight's Phillies-Giants game. The room was accented in fall shades of oranges and reds -- the tablecloths and the floral centerpieces were roses in dark reds, burnt oranges and deep yellows.

The house was decked out in Halloween decorations on steroids. There was an inflatable pumpkin in the shape of a cat on the roof and a gianormous pumpkin in the front yard. Other, by normal standards large, pumpkins surrounded it, looking dwarfed.

President Obama entered the room where the dinner was being held at 6:30 p.m. and stood in front of the kitchen island with a small sink. His eyes got wide when he saw pool standing just several feet away at the other end of the island. He seemed surprised and not necessarily amused and motioned to a USSS agent and whispered in his ear. Pool couldn't hear what he said, obviously.

While that was going on, Bogue provided the room with an update on the baseball game before POTUS got started, announcing that the score was 3-2 Phillies.

POTUS was then introduced by Marissa Mayer, a top Google executive, who noted that they were on the same street where Hewlett Packard was conceived. Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, is challenging Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. Mayer also said the first time she met POTUS was when he was an Illinois state senator and visited Google.

WH says remarks probably won't be out until the morning, so here they are:

POTUS spoke for six minutes. He started by telling the donors he wouldn't bore them with a long speech, but would make his way to each of the guests at their tables, where he predicted they'd have "a terrific conversation."

"My main message is to say thank you," he said.

He commented on the Halloween decorations and pumpkins, which he said he was glad to see "because in the Obama household Halloween is big."

"In fact, for all the campaigning I'm going to be doing over the next 10 days, I will be home on Sunday night when the girls get dressed up and do some trick-or-treating," he said, referring to his daughters.

He said he saw a lot of old and new friends in the room.

He recalled his trip to Google as a state senator, remarking that it made it into his second book, where he talked about "how inspiring it was and how it spoke to the essence of the America, the American ideal -- that if we're innovating, if people have the tools to let their imaginations run, that there's nothing we can't do in this country."

"And that's I think the spirit that all of us want to see recaptured after a decade in which frankly that can-do spirit had been lost," he said.

He said obviously the country is going through a difficult time, with the

"But my task over the last few years hasn't just been to stop the bleeding. My task has also been to try to figure out how we address some of the structural problems in the economy that have prevented more Googles from being created, prevented more Hewlett Packards from being created."

He said, "We've made a start on all these fronts," pointing to education initiatives. He said his administration has tackled issues like health care, which he described as "weights that have been around the necks of not just individual families but also our federal budget." And he said he's "taking on clean energy in ways we have not seen before."

He said because of these things he is "optimistic about the future."

"But in the short term, we've got a long way to go," he said. "There are a lot of people out there who are hurting."

"And so we're going to have a big choice in this election in an environment in which people are frustrated and hurting," he said. "And it's going to be very important that we're able to make the choice clear about going forward or going backwards. And the only way we can get that message out effectively is if we've got the support of folks like you because in a place like California, frankly, as many people as I meet when I travel here, I can't meet everybody. And at some point we're going to have to be able to get the message out, and you help us do that."

POTUS said he is "excited about these last ten days."

He talked about the events he's been doing: rallies in Portland and Seattle -- "15,000 in each place." And "35,000 in Columbus, Oh., and 35,000 in Madison, Wisc."

"As we've travel around the country -- although everybody recognizes that the last two years have been tough -- what has been remarkable is the degree of resiliency and the sense that as hard as things have been we're still going to keep on fighting to make a better future for our kids and our grandkids."

He ended with a reference to tonight's baseball game, telling the donors that "if at any time people want to come in here and provide an update on the Giants game I am perfectly happy to hear it."

Pool then held in the Mayer/Bogue "basement." Pool sat in the comfy dark blue chairs of their home movie theater, which featured a full-on snack bar with a popcorn machine, Milk Duds and Whoppers and Nerds in a glass case, as well as an array of beverages in a vertical cooler.

Pool did not partake, but sat under the faux starred ceiling in the theater transcribing POTUS and watching the Phillies-Giants game on the big screen.

OBAMA'S DEPARTURE FROM ADDISON HOME:

Subject: Pool report #11

POTUS left the DNC fundraiser at 7:45 p.m. and walked across the street where a bunch of little kids were standing on the edge of the curb holding a very colorful sign on a piece of white poster board. It said "WE (heart symbol) OBAMA" in different colored letters. It had an American flag drawn on it and other flair.

POTUS bent down and shook the kids little hands. "I wish I was in my PJs," he told one little girl who was wearing hers.

"Thanks so much for the sign," POTUS told the kids. And then he leaned down and autographed it, prompting several "thank yous" from the parents who were standing behind the children.

Then a little boy piped up: "Show him your picture," he said loudly. It was enough to encourage another, shier little boy to produce two drawings he'd made for POTUS. He handed them over to the president, who thanked him and then held them out for pool to see.

One drawing was of POTUS as a stick-figure in a suit with a very red face, and it had "President Obama" written on it. The other was presumably of the White House. It looked like a castle and also noted on it that it was for the president.

"Now I'm a little red-faced," POTUS said playfully as he looked at the rendering of himself. "This is after I'm talking to some of my Republican colleagues."

He signed the drawings, too, prompting another round of "thank yous" from the parents.

"You guys work hard, the least we can do is have a president who does too," POTUS said.

Then he climbed into his SUV and the motorcade was rolling at 7:48.

Related stories:

Pool reporter describes Obama's trip to Atherton

Full security locks down Palo Alto's Addison Ave.

Protestors, supporters greet Obama en route to Palo Alto

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by John Galt
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 22, 2010 at 12:23 am

Obama and the oligarchs dine out in Palo Alto while the White House is clueless about a deeply depressed electorate.


Like this comment
Posted by Adobe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

Sure, John, Obama's not supposed to eat out as long as anyone in the country is depressed.

Refresh my memory, is that the standard Bush and Cheney held themselves to?


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:24 am

Do we really want 5 threads about this unimportant news event?


Like this comment
Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

Actually, Resident, to a lot of people in Palo Alto and surrounding communities, it was an important news event. It was a visit by the President of the United States. As a plus, I've heard that the school kids at Addison were very excited and were asking a lot of questions about the president, the Secret Service, whether they would be able to see the president...


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

For those involved maybe, but I think we are suffering from overkill.


Like this comment
Posted by Free speech
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

Resident--it's called free speech--people are free to express their opinions about the visit on this forum and others. Do not read these threads if you are not interested


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

I don't mind the opinions, just the number of threads.

Perhaps the Giants winning (another uninteresting topic) would at least have given us other topics of news.

For those who are interested there are plenty of threads - even one locked - now to find some real news.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2010 at 11:11 am

Anyone know how much it cost the City of Palo Alto to cover the President while he did his fund raising for his party?


Like this comment
Posted by Old Professor
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I believe it's the Secret Service that's in charge of covering the president.


Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of University South
on Oct 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

YIMBY is a registered user.

I join with VoxPop, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, who wrote:

"... to a lot of people in Palo Alto and surrounding communities, it was an important news event. It was a visit by the President of the United States. As a plus, I've heard that the school kids at Addison were very excited and were asking a lot of questions about the president, the Secret Service, whether they would be able to see the president..."
And as someone who happened to be in the neighborhood (I was @Lucy Stern attending the Housing Element Technical Advisory Group meeting), I enjoyed a sense of excitement on the steets with all the cop cars and seeing Addison closed off. The best part was restriction on auto parking on Middlefield - made my ride much more pleasant, and faster too!


Like this comment
Posted by Old Mayfield Observer
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Not much talk about the Giants tonight, huh!!!
Hang in there!!

I gave up going to see President Obama arrive for dinner down the street from where I used to live... I had a great idea brewing that I didn't follow up on...I was going to get a halloween mask of the President Obama and dress up, stand outside of the house where he was at and charge only a few dollars to have people have their pictures taken with ME!!
The Giants game lasted too long tho...only a few straggling people and few cars driving by, some stoping like myself to check the decor out. There were three girls that were walking by, they stopped and took a picture of the house. I spoke out my window to them " It's just about like Christmas Tree Lane", which they quicky responded "YES"! with a smile...Then the caters opened up the garage doors and were beginning to load up their carts and such into a large van that just pulled up to the driveway. Don't know what was served that night for dinner, only imagining~no I can't! ~what a $30,000 dinner plate serving would consist of....hummm, use your imagination! Must have been SOOOOOOO good as the plates looked like they were all licked clean....:) and I didn't see anyone with a doggie bag :)

The house was lit up tonight, it was cool, as far as Halloween goes~ HUGE black cat lit up on the roof, mechanical monster with a knife at the front entry up on the porch and a HUGE pumpkin in their yard (enough to make a years worth of pumpkin pies!). I know Obama was to get $1,500. if he stood still long enough to let someone take a picture of he and you together.....I like competition! It's the American way <3 <3


Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Unimportant!? Overkill!? How much did it cost!? Wow. The first posters are either cynical, jaded folk or just republican trolls. I expected better of Palo Alto in responding to a presidential visit. Had it been Bush, I would have just ignored it all.


Like this comment
Posted by Cost
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Believe me, it cost the city PLENTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Millie
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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