Obama gets criticism from both sides

October 15, 2009 7:02:55 PM PDT
Air Force One touched at 5 p.m. at SFO and the president was 20 minutes ahead of schedule. He's in town for a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the Democratic Party, but scores of protesters waited for him outside the hotel. There was sort of a bipartisan assortment of people unhappy with the president.

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome is out of town and wasn't here to greet the president. President Barack Obama walked quickly down the stairs to his waiting limousine and took off for the Westin Saint Francis in Union Square. The last time President Obama was in town was also for a fundraiser, during his campaign, and he raised money and eye brows for remarks about people in Pennsylvania clinging to their guns and religion.

On April 6, 2008 at the Presidio Heights home of Gordon Getty, candidate Barack Obama made remarks to explain why Pennsylvania was leaning more towards Hillary Clinton. It put the candidate on the defensive for several days.

"It may be that I choose my words badly and it's not the first time it won't be the last," said Obama when he was on the campaign trail.

Real estate broker Larry Garvin was at that fundraiser and defended Obama.

"It was a response to a question that he was asked and I think as he usually does he treats people as adults and he gave a thoughtful answer," said Garvin during the first visit.

However, that was then and today Garvin has no money for President Obama and very little to say in support.

"You know what I thought was going to be a transformational president in my opinion has turned out to be the third Bush presidency," says Garvin.

Garvin has a long list of grievances; he listed "His retreat on the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] issue and surveillance, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are more troops there now than a year ago, uh Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

ABC7's political analyst professor Bruce Cain, Ph.D., says Garvin is an example of a demographic shift of President Barack Obama's financial supporters, at least in California.

"In California a lot of the fundraising community in Hollywood and in the Bay Area is awfully liberal. It's not business money in the normal sense," says Cain.

Professor Cain says the president is in an odd situation because of the path he has taken between Republicans and the left wing of his own party, he is getting a kind of blended critique.

"That says on the one hand he's moving toward socialism and government intervention is excessive under Obama and then on the other hand people are saying he hasn't done enough, that he hasn't done anything. So it doesn't make sense. Either he's done too much or he's done too little, but he can't have done both," says Cain.

Still, that's what is emerging. Both ends of the political spectrum are criticizing the president and while he does not run again until 2012, he does need a lot of money for all those Democratic members of Congress that will be running for re-election next year.

President Obama is heading for the Westin St. Francis for a dinner that costs $30,400 per couple and 150 are expected for dinner. There's also a reception with 800 people attending and the tickets are between $500 and $1,000 a head. The total take after expenses for the Democratic Party are expected to top $3 million.

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