High Stakes in High-Tech Country

There is a race for dollars going on in Silicon Valley and it's not about funding the next high-tech innovation, semiconductor or plasma computer monitor.

This race is all about funding the candidacy of the next president of the United States.

In the last 24 hours no less than three presidential hopefuls have wandered through this beautiful green valley, speaking with supporters and gathering up high-dollar checks.

Clinton Looks Toward 'Tommorow'

On Thursday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., made her high-tech pitch at a gathering of CEOs and senior officers at the headquarters of Applied Materials, the largest manufacturer of semiconductor components in the world.

"I believe we ought to hit the restart button on the 21st century," said Clinton, gearing her policy speech toward their favorite issues and using lingo to match.

Clinton delivered her speech from a new age Applied Materials lectern and in front of a large blue screen repeating the mantra "New Jobs for Tommorrow."

Thankfully, the former first lady was in front of the brightest minds of Silicon Valley and not before the judges of the 80th Annual Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington. The correct spelling, as the spelling champs gathered from around the country would almost certainly know, is t-o-m-o-r-r-o-w.

Misspelled mantras aside, the discussion was hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a lobbying organization for the high-tech industry, which does not endorse or contribute to individual candidates.

Clinton outlined a nine-point agenda meant to increase research and development, create a stronger work force in science, engineering, technology and math, and upgrade what she called the "innovation infrastructure" in America.

The plan includes a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund, a sort of next-generation Apollo project to gather the best minds from academia, the private sector and government to find ways to make the U.S. energy independent.

"The fire that was sparked here in this valley has made such a difference that it can't just be allowed to sputter out. There has to be a partnership again between our government and our great companies," Clinton said.

Former Sen. John Edwards also made the high-tech rounds this week. Edwards visited Google headquarters Wednesday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was also here Wednesday. And Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., flies in this weekend and will hop between four separate private fundraisers.

High Stakes Politics in High-Tech Country

For the young millionaires and billionaires who call this place home it is an intoxicating, exciting time to dabble in politics. Many young high-tech entrepreneurs are new to the political game and are unsure which candidate to support at this early stage.

"The Silicon Valley community seems to be fairly undecided," said Talat Hasan, a high-tech entrepreneur who, with her husband, Kamil, hosted a cocktail party fundraiser for Clinton at her Saratoga home Thursday.

Hasan told ABC News she very much supports Clinton, but that won't stop her from attending an Obama fundraiser Saturday and donating to his campaign as well.

"I am very much for Sen. Clinton," she said. "Only because I think she has the best experience of any of the candidates on either side, on both sides of the aisle, and has the best grasp of the issues. But having said that, I still think Sen. Obama is a very exciting, rising political star in our party and so we want to get to know him better."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...