By Nat Bates
<imgclass=”size-medium wp-image-26806″ alt=”From left to right: Councilman Nat Bates, President Barack Obama, Vice Mayor Corky Booze and Michael Davenport.” src=”http://www.postnewsgroup.com/publishedcontent/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/OBAMA-BATES-BOOZE–300×204.jpg” width=”300″ height=”204″ /> From left to right: Councilman Nat Bates, President Barack Obama, Vice Mayor Corky Booze and Michael Davenport.During my political career, I have been both honored and blessed to have met six Presidents. The first was Richard Nixon, followed by Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.I want to share the experience of my most recent visit with President Obama.
In the middle of March, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced several fundraising events to be held in Northern California in April where the President would appear. Prices ranged from $32,000 to $1,000 to attend the events. Proceeds benefit the DNC and California Congressional Democratic Caucus.
My party, consisting of Vice Mayor Corky Booze and Michael Davenport, was directed to be at Marcia and John Goldman’s home in Atherton by 10:30 am.
We arrived at the Goldman’s residence by 9:45 a.m. As we exited the vehicle, a short line had begun forming at the security clearance table. It took 20 minutes to clear the security area.
Once inside, there was a small musical band and all sorts of food and drinks. The home was an attractive two-story structure with many amenities, as expected from a millionaire.
There was a large swimming pool and two or three acres of open space in the rear that included a beautifully landscaped yard of plants, flowers and trees. Marcia and John were the perfect hosts as they eagerly mingled with as many guests as possible.
The group numbered between 150 and 200. Several of the guests I spoke with were executives and business people from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area.
At 11 a.m., Attorney General Kamala Harris opened the program and spoke regarding her recent experience campaigning for Obama in Ohio, Florida and other states. She highlighted the president’s leadership on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay legislation for women.
The AG concluded by thanking the president and Justice Department for joining with California and several states in their successful lawsuit against mortgage and banking giants regarding home mortgage fraud.
At 11:30 a.m., the president’s motorcade arrived escorted by the CHP and Atherton Police. Within minutes lines began to form to take photos with the president. Having arrived early and being acquainted with a few staff members, we were the third group to be photographed.
Once inside, we were individually introduced to the president and provided 3 to 5 minutes to chat. It was noticeable how grey haired he had become since our first meeting in Oakland as a candidate and in Washington DC during his first inauguration ceremonies.
Michael, a 2008 Obama delegate, mentioned his friendly relationship with Obama’s sister Maya and his participation in North Carolina at the convention. The president seemed to have a photographic memory as he remembered Michael and acknowledged him.
I presented the president with a personal letter and my recent re-election campaign literature that also featured him. I also asked how he picked Cal women basketball team to make the final four. He stated that, as a sports fan, he watches and enjoys all men and women sports.
Vice Mayor Booze immediately and enthusiastically promoted Richmond by inviting the president and First Lady Michelle to visit.
As we concluded the photo session, Vice Mayor Booze gave the president his business card. He accepted it and placed it in his pocket. Booze commented, as we were leaving, “Mr. President call me.”
He graciously smiled and thanked each of us for our attendance as we left for another group to be ushered in for their photograph. Vice Mayor Booze was in, shall we say, “hog heaven”.
My personal impression of the president did not change from when I first met him in Oakland. I found him to be an honest, genuine, humble, caring and compassionate individual who is highly intelligent and seems to have an astounding recollection of people, places and events. He meets thousands of people in a month, and for him to recall Michael was quite impressive.
Obama spoke to the guests and highlighted some of his accomplishments and disappointments. He was in good spirits as he stated that even though the election concluded in November, he found himself continuing to seek contributions from his friends.
He humorously indicated raising money was like having a perpetual student in college to laughter.
He said how much he appreciated the Kamala Harris’ support and her tireless efforts in working with his administration. “She is not only competent; she is also the best looking Attorney General in the country, ” he said.
Michael, Corky and I were standing within 10 feet of the AG, and it appeared she enjoyed the comment. To be honest, the president told the truth.
In conclusion, the event was well attended and fun, and I appreciate the opportunity to share with each of you an amazing experience. At some point, I would love to describe further my personal relationship, in particular, with Presidents Carter, Bush and Clinton.