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'I need your help': Obama hits Redwood City's Fox Theatre
May 24, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Tom Jung/Daily Journal Barack Obama speaks during a fundraising event at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City Wednesday night.

Tom Jung/Daily Journal Protesters gather in anticipation of President Obama

Redwood City’s Fox Theatre was already at a fever pitch as about 1,100 people packed the downtown venue waiting for the arrival of President Barack Obama last night as he swept through San Mateo County on a fundraising jaunt.

The crowd outside the theater, with Obama supporters standing side by side with people protesting all kinds of issues, signaled the arrival of the president with a roar Courthouse Square may have never experienced.

Inside the theater, as Obama took the stage at about 9:45 p.m., the crowd stayed on its feet for much of the president’s 30-minute speech as he told the audience "I need your help” to return to the White House.

He touted his accomplishments over the past four years and poked plenty of fun at Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

"Success should not be determined by the circumstance of birth,” the president said.

He called Romney a "patriotic man” who should be proud of his economic success. He then slammed his economic policies for a future America, saying they mirrored too closely the former administration of George W. Bush.

"He thinks that when wealthy investors get rich the rest of us do to,” Obama said about Romney. "He says like he is reading from a textbook that ‘productivity equals income’ but the problem isn’t our productivity, too many people are working harder than ever and it’s not leading to higher incomes.”

While touting health care reform, reviving the auto industry, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the end to the war in Iraq, the president also said that the government he leads does not spend every tax dollar wisely and that some serious streamlining is in order to make government more efficient.

Seeing the president last night was a surprise treat for San Mateo resident Marva McAdoo, 74. One of her sons just celebrated a birthday and took her to the Fox Theatre last night.

"I didn’t know we were going to see the president until we got here,” McAdoo said after Obama left the stage.

She and her two sons were seen in a deep hug after the president finished his speech.

"He continues to give us hope,” she said. "We need to stay fired up.”

Obama is the first sitting president to spend any significant time in San Mateo County since Herbert Hoover came to town back in 1932.

His arrival at the Fox was highly anticipated as his motorcade traveled from an earlier $35,000 a seat fundraiser in Atherton earlier in the night.

People stood in line for hours to enter the theater, some paying as much as $12,500 for a seat.

The very first words out of the president’s mouth as he took the stage were to thank Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre.

Afterward, even Redwood City Councilman Jeff Ira, a Republican, said he was inspired by Obama’s speech.

"I was excited by his presence,” he said.

Redwood City Councilwoman Rosanne Foust appreciated the strong tone the president took in his speech and beamed with pride that he took the time to come to Redwood City.

"I am so proud of this city,” she said.

Obama’s strongest response from the crowd came when he stood strongly for women’s rights and the rights of gays and lesbians.

"It’s still about hope, it’s still about change,” Obama said. "We are going to finish what we started in 2008.”

Practically every able-bodied Redwood City police officer stood on duty last night to keep the event safe, police Sgt. Rhonda Leipelt told the Daily Journal. She said about 200 officers were on duty last night, including volunteers, cadets and residents with the Community Emergency Response Team.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.

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