The president toured the rubble of Paradise, where more than 10,000 structures were lost, with Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.
The once-proud home of Ronald Reagan and other national GOP figures may fall to as few as eight seats in Congress.
Recount battles are being waged with an unprecedented intensity, as political parties and activists see opportunities to gain structural ground, re-sculpt the political map and motivate the base.
Thurmond, a Bay Area Democrat who served in the state Assembly and as a local school board member, has declared victory in the bitterly contested and expensive race for superintendent of public instruction.
USC came within 29 yards of the end zone but could not get past the UCLA defense in the final minutes of the game.