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Monday, June 3, 2013

Paying to See the President

And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page.
Carla Marinucci writes at The San Francisco Chronicle:
It's a scenario that's all too familiar: President Obama will visit Silicon Valley this week - but the only Californians who will see or hear from him will pay at least $2,500 for the privilege.
As the president begins his 20th trip to California since entering office, the seemingly endless capacity of the White House to vacuum up California campaign checks - without scheduling any public events - is becoming a cause for concern, even among loyal Democrats.
"It's a missed opportunity," said Democratic strategist Garry South, who gave the maximum donations allowed to Obama's two presidential campaigns.
"It's usually a mistake to just be making fundraising forays into a state like California without combining those political events with some sort of public activity," he said, noting public events offer alternatives to photos of Obama "hustled into the back of a ballroom."
Obama's latest Silicon Valley fundraising swing, to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, begins on June 6 and includes an evening reception at the Palo Alto home of Flipboard CEO Michael McCue and his wife Marci, where tickets start at $2,500 per person.
That's followed by an "intimate" $32,400 per person dinner at the Portola Valley residence of star venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, and his wife Neeru.
Chris Woodyard writes at USA Today:
A Los Angeles car salesman and electric car advocate is shelling $32,400 out of his retirement savings so he can make a pitch directly to President Obama at a "private, off-the-record" Democratic fundraiser next week.
Paul Scott, 60, says he isn't a rich guy. He's a $50,000-a-year Nissan salesman who plans to rub elbows with 24 bigwigs in a private luncheon that he says will put a crimp in his retirement plans.
But he says the goal is worthwhile. He wants to make a few points to Obama about on how to better support electric cars -- a cause that Obama already embraces -- and thought the private audience would be a fine way to do it.