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Obama met by protesters at L.A. fundraiser

August 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama made a stop in Southern California on Monday to raise funds for his party's congressional candidates. The president greeted the press as he stepped off Air Force One, which arrived at LAX just before 4 p.m. Obama then boarded Marine One, which touched down in Beverly Hills.

This week is all about fundraising for Obama and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Over three days, Obama will be raising dollars for Democrats in five states, from the Midwest to the West, Northwest to Northeast, South and back home.

Obama attended a private fundraiser in Hancock Park on Monday night, co-hosted by some of Hollywood's elite including director Steven Spielberg, singer Barbra Streisand and Jeffrey Katzenberg, producer and CEO of DreamWorks Animation.

The fundraiser at the home of television producer John Wells raised $1 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official campaign arm of Democrats in the House of Representatives, organizers said.

Tickets cost $2,500 per person for the cocktail reception, $30,400 per couple for the dinner, which includes a photo with the president.

Obama was met by protesters hoping to interrupt the festivities. Activists took the opportunity to voice their concerns about immigration rights, rallying a few blocks away from the fundraiser.

They held signs and banners, some dressed as characters from "The Wizard of Oz" because, like the characters in the movie, they said they're also looking for a home.

"I'm here as Dorothy because, as you know, in 'The Wizard of Oz,' Dorothy was lost, she couldn't find her way home," said Maria Delgado of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. "I feel like President Obama is lost and he needs to find his way back to keeping the promise of immigration reform that he made when he was elected president."

"This is for the president to see that we're still standing strong trying to push forward with smart solutions for immigration reform, not just enforcement," said Pedro Trujillo, dressed as the scarecrow. "That's only like putting duct tape on the problem of immigration."

Traffic was backed up for miles and hours due to the president's presence.

Earlier Monday, the president was in Wisconsin where he toured a battery company near Milwaukee. He focused on the economy and promoted his energy goals.

"My administration will not rest until every American who is willing to work can find a job, and a job that pays decent wages and decent benefits to support a family," Obama said. "But what's clear is that we are headed in the right direction."

It's been a tough week for the president. His approval ratings are down and he's been facing criticism for supporting and then backtracking on his comments on a mosque to be built near Ground Zero.

Independents say they are concerned with the economy, with nine in 10 calling it a top problem and no other issue coming close, according to polls.

This is Obama's fourth trip to Southern California since taking office and all have been exclusively for political reasons.

Obama was last in L.A. in April to fundraise for the Democratic Party and stumping for Sen. Barbara Boxer. While attending an event at the Natural History Museum, he was heckled by gay-rights activists demanding answers on the status the 'don't-ask-don't-tell' policy.

Obama will stay in Los Angeles overnight after the events, and then will head to Milwaukee on Tuesday for another round of fundraisers.


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