It seems that if 2014's midterm congressional elections will be an unofficial referendum on the president's performance, he's going to make sure his party's candidates aren't wanting for money.
So President Barack Obama's first Bay Area visit of his second term will be a fundraising junket. The president will arrive April 3 for two evening events in San Francisco to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, both featuring House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well.
First, Tom Steyer -- the billionaire former asset manager who bankrolled last year's successful Proposition 39 -- and his wife, Kat Taylor, will host a cocktail reception at their Pacific Heights home, for which tickets cost $5,000 a person. After that, there'll be a $32,500-per-person dinner just a few blocks away at the home of billionaire heirs/philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty.
But that's not all. The president will stay in the Bay Area overnight and then do two fundraisers on April 4 to benefit the Democratic National Committee. Liz Simons and Medley Partners managing director Mark Heising will host a brunch at their Atherton home; tickets cost $32,400 each.
Then the president will attend a luncheon at the Atherton home of former insurance mogul and Levi-Strauss heir John Goldman and his wife Marcia. There, $1,000 buys a basic ticket, $5,000 buys access to a photo reception as well, $7,500 buys lunch and photo reception tickets for two, and $20,000
Naturally, Republicans are smack-talking the trip.
"The President doesn't seem to have any trouble hitting up his wealthy Bay Area buddies to help retire the Democrats' campaign debt, but he can't bring himself to start relieving American families of the mountain of federal debt he's placed on their backs over the past five years," California Republican Party spokesman Mark Standriff said Monday.
Midterms usually aren't kind to a sitting president's party, and Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats in 2010.
But the economy is doing better than it was in 2010: Unemployment is now at 7.7 percent, compared to 9.8 percent in November 2010, and the Dow Jones industrial average is more than 3,000 points higher now than it was on the day before 2010's election. And this year's progress -- or lack thereof -- on issues such as deficit reduction, job creation, immigration and gun control will heavily influence what voters do in 2014.
Obama last visited the Bay Area in October, for two small, high-priced fundraisers and then a big, rally-style fundraiser at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. His 2012 campaign raised $62.8 million in California, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; Steyer and Goldman's brother, Doug, were among his top 25 "bundlers" in the nation.