8/1/08

Collectivist barons lavish cash on Dems

A contrast with workers hurting from California budget crisis

It's kiss-and-make up time in Silicon Valley today for Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's major fundraisers. Some of the valley's biggest Obama backers are co-hosting a Los Altos Hills fundraiser with Clinton as star attraction late this afternoon to help Clinton retire her more than $20 million campaign debt.

"Time is healing the wounds," said Lorraine Hariton, a major Clinton backer at whose home the cocktail-hour event will occur. "I'm very pleased with how well the Obama people are getting their people out," she added.

It's also good politics, as Obama seeks to win over the Clinton faithful. And since many Clinton supporters have already donated the federal maximum, Obama backers are needed to help erase the debt. Hariton said she expected about 150 people to attend the fundraiser. Guests are being asked to contribute between $500 and the federal limit of $2,300.

Clinton will arrive in the valley after delivering a speech to a convention of labor union members and holding a small, high-priced fundraiser in San Francisco.

In her remarks to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Clinton enthusiastically endorsed Obama, a man she says she knows well. "I have stood on stage with him in 22 debates, but who's counting? I have seen his passion and determination, his grace and his grit. His own life exemplifies the American dream."

Her only tiny hint at disappointment came when she said she was proud to have garnered 18 million-plus votes during the hard-fought primary campaign. "But now it is time for us to unite and together to stand up and say no more of the Republican ideology."

And she said when asked recently if she would have run for president if she knew what the results would be, she answered "In a bird-dog minute."

Following Clinton, Obama addressed the convention by video from Iowa, where he was campaigning today. He did not specifically mention a new ad by GOP rival John McCain comparing Obama's "celebrity" to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and overtly suggesting he is not ready to lead the nation.

"I respect his many accomplishments. My differences with him are not personal," Obama said. "They are with the policies he has proposed. Because while he legitimately can tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence isn't characteristic of his presidential campaign."

With the hard feelings now dissipating from the primary fight, Clinton backer and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone said he expected the Los Altos Hills fundraiser to "be like a reunion," bringing together major Democratic fundraisers from around Silicon Valley who typically work together once the Democratic nominee is chosen.

"Everyone has come to grips" with the election results, said Stone, a key valley Democratic fundraiser. Stone has already met with Obama campaign leaders and is helping plan the presumptive Democratic nominee's next big Bay Area money event, scheduled for Aug. 17 in San Francisco.

Just how good are the feelings? Obama backer Wade Randlett invited his child's godmother, a Clinton backer, to today's event "so she can partially forgive me for not supporting her losing candidate."

And Obama's California campaign finance co-chair, Palo Alto attorney John Roos, said he's just happy "all of us are on the same team again. Everyone has worked hard on the Clinton event," he said, adding "and the flip-side for Obama's August 17 event, the Clinton people are pulling through."

All of which is to say, the transfer of wealth, from Silicon Valley to presidential battleground states, continues this fall.

(mercurynews.com)

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