- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

After breaking bread with Republicans lately in search of compromise, President Obama will return to his role as Democratic fundraiser-in-chief Wednesday with a trip to the homes of liberal billionaire supporters in San Francisco.

Mr. Obama will attend fundraisers Wednesday night at the “billionaires’ row” home of clean-energy advocate Tom Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, and at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty, both in the exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood. The first event is a $5,000-per-person cocktail reception, the second a $32,500-per-person dinner.

The money will go to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm of House Democrats who are seeking to win back the chamber from the Republicans in 2014. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is expected to attend at least one of the events. The president told House Democrats earlier this year that he expects Mrs. Pelosi to become speaker again “pretty soon.”

In spite of the swanky surroundings, the neighborhood could get noisy.

Mr. Steyer, founder of a hedge fund, is an outspoken opponent of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and environmental activists are promising to hold a protest rally nearby. After years of delay, the Canada-to-Texas oil sands pipeline recently received a largely favorable environmental review from the State Department.

“If tens of thousands of people stand up as President Obama mulls his final decision, and commit to participate in civil disobedience if necessary, we can convince the White House that it will be politically unfeasible to go forward,” the green group Credo says on its website.

As he did frequently during his re-election campaign, Mr. Obama is mixing official business with partisan fundraising, allowing him to tap the U.S. Treasury to pay for a portion of the trip on Air Force One.

His first stop Wednesday will be at the Denver Police Academy in Colorado, where he’ll make his second public plea in a week to revive gun control legislation in Congress. The president will hold a similar event Monday in Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six educators were slain by a gunman in December.

Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Justin Smith blamed the state’s new gun control laws in part on the White House and characterized the president’s visit as a “victory dance.”“In my opinion, there were marching orders from [New York City mayor Michael R.] Bloomberg and from the president, ‘Get this done. We want to own some ground in Colorado,’” Mr. Smith said Tuesday at a panel discussion on gun control sponsored by The Denver Post. “They’ve done it. The president’s planning to come here and do, I think, a little bit of a victory dance tomorrow that, ‘We got this passed in Colorado.‘“After the evening of fundraising in San Francisco, Mr. Obama will spend the night in California and will attend two more fundraisers Thursday in Atherton, Calif. One will be a $32,400-per-person brunch at the home of Mark Heising, managing director of a venture capital firm and a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Mr. Heising also sits on the board of Sion Power Corp., a rechargeable-battery company that received $5 million in federal stimulus funds from the Energy Department in June 2010 for lithium-sulfur battery research for electric cars. The project to date has created fewer than 32 jobs at the project site in Tucson, Ariz.

The final fundraiser for Mr. Obama will be at the home of Marcia and John Goldman, who are prominent in the arts community. Tickets for that event start at $1,000. The events on Thursday could raise more than $1 million for the Democratic National Committee, which reported last month that it has about $22 million in debt. Valerie Richardson contributed to this report from Denver.

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