|Who Attended Chris Christie's Fundraisers This Week in California?|
|BY SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)||Feb 15, 2013, 1:30 PM|
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went out west this week for a fundraising swing and had some special guests attending the events. From the youngest billionaire in the world to Mitt Romney's sons (and some uninvited guests too) he raked in the cash in California for his gubernatorial re-election campaign.
Christie attended a $3,800 a head (New Jersey's maximum donation) fundraiser Wednesday night that was thrown by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 28, and his wife Priscilla Chan at his Palo Alto mansion.
Facebook spokesperson Sarah Feinberg said Zuckerberg and Chan "have worked closely with Gov. Christie on education reform in the Newark school system," referring to the gift of $100 million the Facebook billionaire gave to Newark Public Schools in 2010.
"They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark's schoolchildren," Feinberg said in a statement released last month when the event was announced. "Mark and Priscilla are happy to host him at their home to support his re-election."
Zuckerberg and Christie, as well as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show together at the time to announce the donation. Since then they have continued to work together on local education reform.
The Silicon Valley mogul also headlined fundraisers for President Obama's 2012 re-election, as well as holding a town hall with him at their Palo Alto headquarters in April 2011. The president joked that he is the "guy who got Mark Zuckerberg to wear a jacket and tie."
Zuckerberg is known for his fondness for hooded sweatshirts. No word on his wardrobe at the Christie fundraiser.
One of the high profile guests at Zuckerberg's home this week was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who attended the bash for Christie's re-election bid.
Rice, who served under George W. Bush, is now a political science professor at nearby Stanford University. Rice wore a yellow jacket, black top and gold necklace, according to Bloomberg News.
She declined to answer questions about the event as she left.
"I'm here privately," she told Bloomberg.
Rice was one of the attendees who had to walk through a crowd of protesters outside of Zuckerberg's home to attend the event.
Not all of the people who showed up at the Christie fundraiser were invited. Waiting for the guests Tuesday night outside of Zuckerberg's home were about 40 protesters from the activist organization CREDO Action, affiliated with mobile phone company CREDO mobile. They chanted and held blue signs that said "Zuck and Chris Hands Off Planned Parenthood," focusing on Christie and the GOP's stance on funding for the group.
"Over 58 percent of Facebook users are women, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to use the billions he's made off them to fund the national political career of a guy who defunded Planned Parenthood and shut down six women's health clinics in his state," CREDO's Political Director Becky Bond said in a statement. "Zuckerberg should unfriend Chris Christie and stop funding the Republican war on women."
It's not just protesters who don't approve of the friendship between Christie and Zuckerberg. Chris Hughes, Facebook co-founder and publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, told ABC News he doesn't approve of Christie's stance on same sex marriage and it raises "serious concerns about supporting someone like him."
"I, for one, have a lot of questions about Chris Christie, particularly because less than a year ago he vetoed a marriage equality bill in the New Jersey state legislature," Hughes said. "Which for me personally, I got married to my husband last June, [it] was just really personally frustrating."
At a separate California fundraiser Tuesday night for Christie in La Jolla, two of the Romney sons attended according to a Christie campaign aide. Matt and Craig Romney attended the event in the San Diego enclave where they both live, and where Mitt Romney also has a home and spends a great deal of time with his wife Ann.
After Christie praised President Obama on his handling of Hurricane Sandy, many in Romney's circle were angry and even said it contributed to Romney's loss just weeks later.
The New Jersey governor was widely thought to have been on the short list for Romney's running mate, which eventually went to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
It was a busy week for Romney's youngest son, Craig. He not only attended the fundraiser, but Thursday Ann Romney tweeted that Craig and his wife Mary gave birth to twins.
News of the Romney sons attending the fundraiser was first reported by Politico.
During Christie's first run for governor in 2009, he also had high profile guests pop up at fundraisers. In September, 2009 the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that former Florida governor Jeb Bush attended a $500-a-head event, which brought in more than $200,000 for the then-attorney general at the Princeton Hyatt.
Christie told the newspaper he did not know the brother of President George W. Bush and son of President George H.W. Bush would be attending until he was on his way to the event.
The two may meet again in 2016, where both are widely believed to be considering runs for the GOP presidential nomination.