President Obama Starts a Whirlwind Visit at Moffett Field

Obama's turnaround visit took him to Atherton and Redwood City for a high-priced dinner and rally.

Dropping in to Silicon Valley for a 16-hour visit before heading to Atherton for a Hawaiian themed fundraising dinner.

A small group of invited guests, many with a NASA Ames connection, greeted Obama on the tarmac at Moffett Field where the president landed around 6:30 p.m. before a $38,500-a-head dinner at the home of Doug and Lisa Goldman.

Among those who stretched out a hand for a presidential touch were Lee Merchant and his 20-year-old son Azzam Merchant, who came from Sacaramento to see the president.

Obama is the third president the younger Merchant has met, but is the one with the most significance to Azzam.

“I’ve kind of grown up with him,” Azzam said of Obama. “He’s the first president that I’m old enough to relate to. He effects my life in a way that’s meaningful.”

His father, Lee, a retired military man has been on Air Force One in 1996, he said after posing for a picture with the plane behind him.

The younger Merchant got to shake Obama’s hand as the president walked the line where dozens stood cameras and smart phones in hand taking photos of the president and his aircraft.

The Griffiths family of Sunnyvale was dressed up in their Sunday best for the visit, but the youngest, 14-month-old Simon was conked out by the time the president arrived. Asleep in his mother Stacy’s arms Simon prevented her from getting that famous handshake. Castro Elementary students, 10-year-old Richard and 6-year-old Chloe, got the honors instead.

"I didn't get to shake his hand. I had a sleeping baby in my arms," Stacy said.

Greeting the president at the bottom of the stairs as he stepped off Air Force One were local dignitaries that included Mountain View Mayr Mike Kasperzak; Sunnyvale Mayor Tony Spitaleri; Simon Pete Worden, center director of NASA Ames Research Center; Col. Steven Butow, Commander 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard; and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

Obama’s brief meet-and-greet in Mountain View led to the Goldman-home dinner where David Crosby and Graham Nash were expected to perform. Among other guests at the Atherton fundraiser were Jan Brandt, vice chair emeritus of AOL; Dennis Troper, Google product management director; Tim Westergren, Pandora Media founder; and Susan Wojcicki, Google senior vice president, according to reports.

Following dinner at the Goldman home—Doug Goldman is a retired emergency physician and software company founder, and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune—Obama was headed to a Redwood City rally at the Fox Theatre where supporters paid $250 to $7,500.

Thursday morning Obama will attend a fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose with 20 Asian American supporters reportedly paid at least $35,000 each.

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Alina Squeak May 24, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Great, GREAT photos!!!
KMD May 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Taking cash from the evil greedy capitalists he despises so much. Oh the irony.


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