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Wonder What They Talked About?

- April 4, 2013

Will Obama Listen To His Billionaire Buddy Or The American People On The Keystone Pipeline?

AT HIS FUNDRAISER WITH OBAMA, GREEN ENERGY ADVOCATE TOM STEYER ASSURED DONORS THAT OBAMA WAS FOCUSED ON THEIR AGENDA

Steyer Is A "Vociferous Opponent" Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

Yesterday, Obama Attended A Fundraiser Hosted By Billionaire Green Energy Advocate Tom Steyer, Which 100 Guests Paid Between $5,000 and $34,200 To Attend . "President Obama visited San Francisco Wednesday for a pair of campaign fundraisers in the Sea Cliff and Pacific Heights neighborhoods that were expected to raise millions of dollars for House Democrats. The visit drew protests from opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and from Republicans, who slammed it as a jaunt to 'billionaires' row.' Obama appeared first at a cocktail reception at the Sea Cliff home of billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, where about 100 guests paid $5,000 to $34,200 to attend the fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."(Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds," San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

Steyer, A "Vociferous Opponent Of The Keystone Pipeline And Strong Supporter Of Climate Change Legislation" Tried To "Ease Concerns That Obama Wouldn't Keep The Issue At The Top Of His Agenda." "Steyer, who is a vociferous opponent of the Keystone pipeline and a strong supporter of climate change legislation, appeared to try to ease concerns that Obama wouldn't keep the issue at the top of his agenda, as he has promised." (Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds," San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

  • "'He Is Doing Everything He Can On The Issues That We Care About,' Steyer Told The Group In His Home. 'He Has Political Limitations ... So We Really Have An Obligation To Help Him.'" (Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds," San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

THE POLITICS OF THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE ARE "TOUGH" FOR OBAMA 

Obama "Never Specifically Mentioned" The Keystone XL Pipeline While At A Fundraiser Hosted By One Of Its Most Vocal Opponents

"Obama For His Part, Addressed Climate Change Repeatedly In His Remarks, Which Lasted 19 Minutes, But Never Specifically Mentioned The Pipeline." (Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds,"San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

"Obama Acknowledged That The Issue Of Climate Change Is 'Close To Tom's Heart,' But Added, 'The Politics Of This Are Tough.'" (Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds," San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

  • Obama Said Americans Who "Still Got That Factory Job That Is Powered By Cheap Energy" Probably Don't Have Climate Change As Their "No. 1 Concern." "'If you've still got that factory job that is powered by cheap energy ... and you certainly can't afford to buy a Prius,' he said, 'you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it's probably not rising to your No. 1 concern,' Obama said. The main concern remains, he said, 'how do I feed my family.'" (Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph, "Obama In San Francisco To Raise Funds," San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13)

The Majority Of Americans Favor The Keystone XL Pipeline

66 Percent Of Americans Favor The Keystone XL Pipeline, While Just 23 Percent Oppose It. "As the Obama administration approaches a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a national survey finds broad public support for the project. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada's oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. Just 23% oppose construction of the pipeline." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)

  • "Support For The Pipeline Spans Most Demographic And Partisan Groups. Substantial Majorities Of Republicans (82%) And Independents (70%) Favor Building The Keystone XL Pipeline, As Do 54% Of Democrats." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)

STEYER HAS CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

"And While Plenty Of People Seek Audiences With Obama On Their Issue Of Choice, Steyer Is One Who Can Claim At Least Some Degree Of Influence." (Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post, 2/17/13)

  • Steyer Proposed "Increasing Buildings' Energy Efficiency" With Obama Weeks Before The President Suggested The Idea During An MTV Interview. "Steyer, who has prioritized increasing buildings' energy efficiency in his work, discussed the matter with Obama during a small dinner in October when the president was on a fundraising swing through Northern California; a couple of weeks later during an MTV interview the president mentioned the idea as a key pillar in how the United States can address global warming." (Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post , 2/17/13)
     
  • Steyer's "Wealth And His Political Connections" Have Allowed Him To Play A "Critical" Role In Shaping The Obama Administration's Energy Policy. "But it's not as if Steyer, 55, needs an official government perch to make an impact. Armed with his wealth and his political connections, Steyer has played a critical behind-the-scenes role in helping shape the country's national energy policy." (Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post , 2/17/13)
     
  • Steyer "Has Spoken With President Obama About How To Pursue Climate And Energy Policy In A Second Term." "He has helped bankroll two successful ballot initiative campaigns in California since 2010, including one last fall that closes a corporate tax loophole and steers $500 million toward energy-efficiency projects for each of the next five years. He has funded initiatives at the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress, along with major research centers at Yale and Stanford. And he has spoken with President Obama about how to pursue climate and energy policy in a second term."(Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post , 2/17/13)

Steyer Was Initially Seen As A Possible Replacement For Steven Chu As The New Department Of Energy Secretary. "It's a somewhat shocking statement for someone who's in the running to succeed the cerebral Steven Chu as energy secretary. Granted, he's a long shot - the leading contender is MIT professor Ernest Moniz, who served as the department's undersecretary during the Clinton administration - but his backers say his strength lies in combining business savvy with an activist's passion." (Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post, 2/17/13)

  • Center For American Progress Chair John Podesta Let His "Friends In The Administration" Know That He Thought Steyer Would Have Been A "Fabulous Choice For Energy Secretary." "John Podesta, who chairs the liberal think tank Center for American Progress , said Steyer has 'got the right skill set, the understanding and attitude to lead an energy transformation in this country.' 'I think he would be a fabulous choice for energy secretary ,' Podesta added, 'and I've let my friends in the administration know that.'" (Juliet Eilperin, "Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical," The Washington Post , 2/17/13)

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Dodged Questions About Steyer's Influence

"White House Spokesman Jay Carney Deflected Questions About The Keystone Project Wednesday, Saying The Decision Rested With The State Department." ("Obama Fundraises, Catches Keystone Heat In Calif.," CBS News, 4/3/13)

  • In Response To A Question About Steyer's Influence On Obama, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Said The Keystone Decision Is Up To The State Department. Q: "Is the decision of the administration at all influenced by people like Mr. Steyer, who is hosting the President today? Is it at all influenced by the protest and demonstrators that the President sees?" CARNEY: "Look, I think we've seen over time that there are strongly held views on this issue, on both sides. And the President is following a process that has been in place for quite some time, through multiple administrations of both parties, and that is the way it should be. As you know, the process was delayed because of a political action by Congress, but the -- nevertheless, the process is underway and being undertaken by the State Department." (Press Gaggle By Press Secretary Jay Carney Aboard Air Force One, Denver, CO, 4/3/13)
     
  • "But The Final Decision" About The Keystone Pipeline XL Is "Widely Expected To Be Made In The West Wing." "The White House has frequently routed questions about Keystone to the State Department, which is leading review of the proposed project that would bring oil from Alberta's oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries. But the final decision about whether to grant a cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline is widely expected to be made in the West Wing." (Ben Geman, "Carney, In Testy Keystone XL Exchange Deflects To State," The Hill, 4/3/13)

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