Politics

Over eggs, toast, First Lady seeks campaign support

Over eggs poached with fresh morels, shaved asparagus, and fresh berries, a crowd of 250 Barack Obama supporters cheered on The First Lady as she made a pitch at the Claremont Hotel Tuesday morning to support the President’s reelection.

Lamenting the fact that she didn’t get to eat the breakfast prepared by Alice Waters and numerous high-profile alums of her Chez Panisse restaurant  — “They don’t let me eat at these things. I have to keep moving,” — Michelle Obama characterized her husband “as a hard-working man,” who believes that “if any child in this country is left behind, that matters to all of us, even if it is not our son or daughter.”

She cited the capture killing of Osama Bin Laden, the passage of healthcare reform, and a push for clean energy and more scientific research as some of the President’s achievements of the past two years.

Michelle Obama also publicly acknowledged Alice Waters as her inspiration for starting the organic garden at the White House.


But the breakfast — to which Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel purchased a ticket — was geared to motivate the Democratic-heavy Bay Area to work hard for the 2012 campaign.

“Are you all in?” Michelle Obama asked the crowd at the end of her 25-minute speech. “Because I am, and I hope you are all fired up. Barack Obama and I are going to work our tails off and we are going to need you to pray for us and care for us.”

Local Democratic officials came out for the event, including the host, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and Berkeley City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak.

Alice Waters put out a call at Chez Panisse for people in the East Bay to cut fresh roses and other flowers from their gardens to use as centerpieces at the Claremont Hotel fundraising breakfast.

The breakfast included grilled Acme bread, Soul Food Farm eggs poached with fresh morels, asparagus from Bob Cannard’s Green Strings farm, and fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. There was also a special Chez Panisse coffee blend from local purveyor Blue Bottle Coffee.


A Secret Service agent waited by the red carpet set up for Michelle Obama’s arrival at the Claremont Hotel, which is on the Berkeley-Oakland border.

Pizzaiolo chef Charlie Hallowell and fellow chef grill Acme bread outside Claremont kitchen.

“Sully” Sullenberger and his wife were among the celebrities who attended the Obama fundraiser.

Alice Waters was wearing a dress designed by Christine Kim of Dosa. The First Lady wore a silvery skirt with a white top and shrug, accessorized by a double band of pearls.

Actress Jennifer Garner spent Monday with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and decided to stay in Berkeley overnight to attend the fundraiser, she said. She is posing with Morgan, 13.


The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department provided security for The First Lady along with the Secret Service.

Photos: Frances Dinkelspiel and Susan Helmrich.