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Opinion: It takes this much money to eat with Barack Obama

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Didja ever hold one of these $10 G notes in your hands?

Well, it took this bill....

...plus this bill....

...plus yet another $10,000 bill....

....plus four $100 Benjamin Franklins for a couple to have dinner with Barack Obama on Thursday night in San Francisco’s Westin Hotel. And hundreds of Northern Californians lined up to do so. It better be an abundant shrimp cocktail for that price.

This is a newish administration that so quickly denounces the egregious excesses and appalling financial greed of corporate America. And was someone recently saying the country faces one of the most serious economic eras since back before even Joe Biden was born?

Apparently not these San Francisco Democrats, who also got to hear Speaker Nancy Pelosi, well, speak. (VP Biden, by the by, is in Nevada Friday doing the same campaign/money thing for happy Harry Reid, the embattled Democrat Senate Majority Leader.)

You’ll be surprised to know that Pelosi praised the attendees as ‘a great collection of....

...intellectuals, entrepreneurial spirit, idealism (and) integrity.’ And, she told the president during her introduction, ‘They have a full appreciation for what you have done.’

The speaker told the crowd that the major issue at hand is healthcare reform. But she said the reforms were not really ‘about the details of the policy, it was about something bigger. It was about our moral responsibility…social responsibility and the character of our country.’’

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‘Mr. President,’ Pelosi stated, ‘you give us hope, you make us proud. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us hope. Thank you for being with us so soon after the Nobel Peace Prize.’’
Obama was fresh from the long, comfortable 747 flight from New Orleans, which is a lot closer than Copenhagen. Obama held another town hall meeting in the Crescent City (details, video and transcript available here). According to the White House press pool report, the president seemed energized. And the night’s haul of $3 million couldn’t hurt.

Obama returned Pelosi’s praise: ‘Having now known Nancy, I can tell you that, day in and day out, she faces down some of the toughest problems…and she doesn’t break a sweat. And she is willing to stare folks down and tell them how things are going to be.

‘And that steel that Nancy Pelosi has is part of the reason why this has been such an incredibly productive Congress — and why I am so confident that we are going to end up getting healthcare done.’’
The president predicted that it was going to take a long time to address the nation’s vast array of problems, perhaps even longer than 36 months. Which coincidentally puts him right at the 2012 presidential election.

‘We’re just getting started,’ Obama said. ‘Some of our opponents seem to think they can wear us out and I just want to be clear -- I’m not tired. I’m refreshed. We are not going to stop.’
Oh, BTW, for their $30,400 dinner tab, attendees also got a photograph with the president.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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