Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

By Rob Hotakainen in Washington

In a visit to San Francisco Thursday night, President Barack Obama praised Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her "steely determination" and said her toughness is one of the main reasons why Congress will pass a health-care bill.

"Let me talk to you --- Nancy Pelosi is tough," the president said during a fundraising appearance at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. "I want everybody to know that. I mean, every day -- every day -- she is subjected to constant criticism and griping. And then there's the other party. But with style and grace, but most importantly, with steely determination, she does not back down, she is there doing battle each and every day on behalf of not only her constituency here in California, but people all across America who are looking for a fair shake, who are looking for a decent job, who are looking for quality health care, who want a good education for their kids, who want a planet that they can pass on to their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. That's what Nancy Pelosi is all about. We could not have done any of the stuff that we've done this year without one of the best Speakers imaginable."

Obama added: "I know sometimes you're not a prophet in your own land but I want everybody to understand how special Nancy Pelosi is."

Obama's visit was expected to raise $3 million for the national Democratic Party.

According to a pool report, 160 people attended a VIP dinner in the hotel's penthouse. Couples paid $30,400 to attend and got their photographs taken with Obama.

About 900 people attended a general reception in the hotel ballroom, paying from $500 to $1,000. Singer Tracy Chapman provided the entertainment.

Pelosi introduced Obama at the VIP dinner, which was attended by many of Silicon Valley's high technology leaders.

"In this room you see a great collection of intellectuals, entrepreneurial spirit, idealism, integrity ---- and they have a full appreciation for what you have done," she said.

She added: "Mr. President, you give us hope, you make us proud."


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