President Barack Obama, in San Jose on Friday, defended U.S. surveillance of telecommunications records.

He arrived in Silicon Valley on Thursday to raise money and stayed Friday to tout California’s participation in the Affordable Care Act.

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama (File photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Protesters confronted him Thursday about the Keystone XL fuel pipeline, and reporters questioned him Friday about government snooping.

Speaking at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Obama praised California for how it’s implementing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He said the new law will expand coverage through Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange. And he urged people not to focus on the criticisms of the plan.

“So, the bottom line is you can listen to a bunch of political talk, negative ads,” he said. “Or alternatively you can actually look at what’s happening in states like California right now.”

President Obama also said the new law will cover more than 10 million uninsured Latinos, many of whom live in California.

After his remarks, reporters focused on recent reports that U.S. security agencies have requested records of Americans’ phone and Internet usage.

From The Associated Press:

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama is defending his government’s secret surveillance, saying Congress has repeatedly authorized the collection of America’s phone records and U.S. Internet use.

In his first comments since the programs were publicly revealed this week, Obama says safeguards are in place. He says nobody is listening to the content of phone calls. And he says the Internet targeting is aimed at foreign nationals, not American citizens.

Obama says he increased some of the “safeguards” on the programs after taking office. And he believes they help his administration stop terrorist attacks.

Tweets from reporters covering the speech:

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

President Obama swooped through Silicon Valley Thursday for two private fundraisers, dogged by protesters who urged him not to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project that would transport tar sands fuel across the United States.

Holding signs that said “Stop the Keystone XL pipeline” and chanting “Hey Obama. We don’t want no pipeline drama,” more than 350 demonstrators from activist groups, including CREDO Mobile and the Sierra Club, gathered near the Palo Alto home of Flipboard founder and CEO Michael McCue.

Background from The Associated Press:

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama is making a personal plea to Californians, Latinos and young people to sign up for coverage under the new health care law.

Obama on Friday will use his visit to California to highlight how the state is implementing the Affordable Care Act. He also will discuss California’s collaboration with non-government groups to promote, primarily to Hispanics, the health care exchanges that are being created to help millions of now-uninsured consumers afford coverage, White House officials said.

California has the country’s biggest insurance market and, with 6 million uninsured residents, it is a crucial part of the effort to get consumers to sign up for coverage, officials said.

Thirteen insurance companies will be offering multiple health plans that vary in coverage and price through California’s exchange, even in some of the most rural regions of the state.

Getting young people to enroll through the exchanges also is critical; they cost insurers less money because they tend to have the best health and don’t require a lot of costly medical care.

The Obama administration is looking for about 7 million people to enroll through the exchanges, and 2.6 million of them need to be younger in order to keep costs down for the overall pool of enrollees, officials said. Nearly one-third of these young people live in three states: California, Texas and Florida.

Among the private entities working with the state of California to promote enrollment are the Spanish-language TV networks Telemundo and Univision. The White House says the law will give more than 10 million uninsured Latinos across the country the opportunity to afford health insurance coverage.

Not all states are pushing the law. In many states, Republican governments are opposing the law’s implementation and are leaving oversight of the exchanges to the federal government.

Obama arrived in California on Thursday evening to attend fundraisers in Palo Alto and Portola Valley to help Senate Democratic candidates.

The fundraising was to continue Friday with Obama’s attendance at two Democratic National Committee fundraisers at the Santa Monica home of Peter Chernin, a former News Corp. executive, officials said. The events include a lunch for about 100 people, followed by a smaller 35-person reception. Tickets for the events range from $10,000 to $32,400.

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