Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama visited Oakland on Saturday not to address cheering thousands as he did in March, but rather under tight security, on a strict timetable and with fundraising on his mind.
A California Highway Patrol escort led his motorcade at 12:24 p.m. to the Rotunda Building's rear entrance on 16th Street, where he was whisked inside for a $1,000-a-head fundraiser.
He left at 1:53 p.m. for the swank Piedmont home of real estate investor/developer Wayne Jordan and activist/philanthropist Quinn Delaney, where donors paid $2,300 apiece to attend a lunch catered by renowned chef Alice Waters of Berkeley's Chez Panisse.
Obama had two fundraisers scheduled in Silicon Valley. He was expected to draw about 100 people to a cocktail event at Sunnyvale's Plug and Play Tech Center on Saturday afternoon, including start-up executives and local elected officials. Tickets ranged from $250 to $1,000. Saturday evening, the toniest event of his four-fundraiser day in the Bay Area was a $2,300-a-person reception and dinner scheduled in Woodside at the home of Symantec CEO John Thompson.
Those expected to attend included former State Controller Steve Westly, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati CEO John Roos and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners' Mark Gorenberg.
Among the Piedmont and Oakland events' several dozen co-sponsors were Berkeley authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, University of California-Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School Dean Christopher Edley, Oakland City Attorney John Russo and Oakland developer Phil Tagami.
Chabon, who won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay," and Waldman, author of several books and a Harvard Law School classmate of Obama, recently circulated an e-mail announcing their commitment to raise $25,000 for Obama, asking recipients to support a future presidency they say "would repair the incalculable damage the Bush cabal has done to our country and to our reputation in the world."
"Talk about shock and awe - imagine the signal it would send to the traumatized, impoverished, alienated people of the world (of Africa, of the Middle East) if the face of our country was President Barack Obama," the message said.
"I do like it that as an African-American, he's not a product of the civil rights era - he's a byproduct of it," said Burris, "and so may have a different perspective that appeals to a broader cross-section of people." He also said Obama has "the intellect and the vision to unite people and move the country in a direction that will bring more people together."
"In sheer intellectual horsepower," Edley said, "he can go toe-to-toe with anyone I've ever worked with in public life. But beyond that, he has skills of communication, bridge-building and empathy that really set him apart."
Among the Woodside and Sunnyvale events' co-sponsors were San Francisco 49ers legend Ronnie Lott, Golden State Warriors point guard Baron Davis, Los Gatos venture capitalist Mark Gorenberg and prominent Silicon Valley attorney John Roos.
An American Research Group poll in early May found Clinton leading Obama among California's likely Democratic primary voters, 37 percent to 28 percent; a Field Poll in March had pegged Clinton at 41 percent and Obama at 28 percent.