The president's first event for the evening was a dinner for 60 people at the Atherton home of Lisa and Doug Goldman, part of a well-known Bay Area philanthropist family and descendants of Levi Strauss. The price tag for a seat at the dinner, featuring a performance by David Crosby and Graham Nash, was $35,800. Attendees are expected to be mainly tech executives and venture capitalists.
On a previous trip to Silicon Valley, the president dined with the likes of Larry Ellison and Mark Zukerberg. But the head of the Republican Party in San Francisco says that's changing.
"I think you're going to see a lot of that money from big employers in Silicon Valley gone towards the Mitt Romney campaign this time around because a lot of people were very hopeful four years ago when they voted for and gave money to President Obama and they haven't seen the change that he promised," Harmeet Dhillon said.
Dhillon points to the Obama campaign attacks on Romney's record at Bane Capital and says that turns off Wall Street and big investors.
But San Francisco energy entrepreneur Wade Randlett supports the president.
"It's the companies like Apple, Google, Sales Force, Zynga, Yelp that the president is very much rooting for all day, every day," he said. "And those executives know there is a big difference that and shutting down a steel mill in Indiana, those are not the same businesses."
But ABC7 News political analyst Bruce Cain says the president has turned off some on Wall Street and he also expects to see fewer pictures of the president dining with Silicon Valley mega-millionaires, though not for the reason the Republicans think.
"Especially now that he knows Romney is the person he's going to run against, he wants to portray Romney as very much in the private equity world, very much a creature of corporate America and part of the 1 percent; I don't think having photographs of yourself with the 1 percent helps that theme," Cain said.
From Atherton, Obama will head to Redwood City for a fundraiser the Fox Theatre, where the price for a seat ranged between $250 and $14,000. Hours before he was scheduled to arrive, hundreds of people were outside the theatre, protesters and supporters alike. The last time a president visited Redwood City was 80 years ago.
The president had been scheduled to attend a roundtable in Palo Alto as well, but the event was rescheduled for Thursday morning and, for logistical reasons, moved to San Jose.
Car crashes near president's motorcade
About half a mile from the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, El Camino Real was blocked off and people were lining the streets to see Obama's motorcade. Police say a vehicle drove onto El Camino Real near Nottingham Avenue and they tried to stop it, but the driver took off heading southbound in the northbound lane of El Camino Real. Witnesses say he struck a pole then veered into the southbound lane and plowed into some bushes along the sidewalk, almost striking the armature photographer who shot video of it.
Police say the driver was arrested for DUI. The president's motorcade drove by a few minutes later with no problems.