SAN FRANCISCO – President Obama enters the second day of his swing through western states with a packed schedule of fundraisers and another deficit reduction stump speech.
He begins Thursday in San Francisco with a Democratic National Committee breakfast at the St. Regis hotel for about 200 participants. It is his third fundraising event in this city on this trip: On Wednesday evening, he spoke at a large gathering of about 2,500 people at the Masonic Center and attended an exclusive $38,500-a-seat dinner at the private home of high-tech exec Marc Benioff.
Obama then leaves for Reno in the key election state of Nevada, where he will continue to promote his plan to solve the nation’s fiscal problems by cutting spending and taxing the wealthy.
At 2:50 p.m. at the ElectraTherma energy firm, he will participate in another town hall discussion like the one he held Wednesday at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto. At that event, he told audiences in the hall and tuned in online to a live Internet video stream that the Republican budget proposal is a radical approach that would damage key social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
His appearance in Nevada will be his first since the November elections.Obama won by 12 percentage points in Nevada in 2008, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) struggled to win reelection in 2010. Nevada has an unemployment rate of more than 13 percent, the highest of any state in the country.
After the brief stay in Nevada, he will fly to Los Angeles for three more fundraisers. The president will start his money-raising spree there at Sony Studios at an event that actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is scheduled to attend. The president will spend more time on the movie studio lot meeting with a group of larger donors. Obama then heads to Brentwood restaurant Tavern, where film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and recording executive Berry Gordy are expected.
Obama starts the day on a high note. He was received warmly in Silicon Valley by a high-tech community that likes his focus on creating jobs in companies such as Facebook. Political strategists say the Democratic-heavy population of the Bay Area is a natural starting point for his 2012 race.
But there were also some signs of discontent. A smattering of protestors outside the Masonic Center held signs such as “Close Gitmo” and “Marriage Equality NOW,” messages referring to the president’s unfulfilled promise to shutter the Guantanamo prison and his ambivalent position on same-sex marriage.