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President Barack Obama starts West Coast fundraising trip in LA

President Obama arrives in LA to raise funds
February 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
President Barack Obama was on a three-day West Coast fundraising trip for his re-election bid, beginning with a stay in Los Angeles.

The president landed at Los Angeles International Airport shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

From there, he arrived via helicopter at Veterans Hospital in West Los Angeles.

He then drove to Holmby Hills for a fundraiser, a star-studded affair co-hosted by actor Will Ferrell and his wife.

The event, which cost up to $35,800 per person to attend, was held at the home of Bradley Bell, the co-creator and executive producer of "The Bold and the Beautiful" TV show. Eighty people attended the event.

Among the entertainment was a performance by the band Foo Fighters, who won five Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

The president stayed at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Presidential security checked vehicles going into the hotel, while law enforcement cleared the way for the president's motorcade - all while drivers waited and waited.

"Why not do a little bit of planning, make it at least nice on people to have to sit here for a half hour," said Westlake Village resident Curtis Dahl, who wasn't thrilled about the president's visit. "At 9 o'clock at night, I'm trying to get home to my family after working from 9 o'clock this morning. Like he cares about the working class."

Traffic was expected to be congested in the area, specifically eastbound traffic on Wilshire, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards. Drivers were advised to avoid the area if possible.

During Obama's last visit to Los Angeles in October, traffic wasn't too much of an issue. The Secret Service used what they called "soft closures," shutting down and reopening streets as the motorcade passed through. They are planning to do the same thing to ease congestion this time around.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a list of streets motorists should avoid to prevent possible traffic delays:

Wednesday, Feb. 15

  • The area around Pico Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The area around Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The area around Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Glen 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • The area around Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 16
  • The area around Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • The area around Pico Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Obama arrived to the West Coast immediately after visiting a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. Manufacturing appears to be a big bullet point for the president's campaign. Obama says job growth in manufacturing is the strongest it's been in more than 20 years.

"What we've got to do to continue that momentum is make sure we're still investing in American manufacturing, and that means things like basic research, helping workers to get trained for the skills for those jobs of the future, investing in American energy and making sure that we've got a system in which everybody is doing their fair share," Obama said.

Republicans are also making stops in California this week. Newt Gingrich spoke to Tea Party voters on Tuesday in Pasadena and is expected to stay in the state through Thursday.

Mitt Romney was also in California earlier this week. The former Massachusetts governor is trying to fight a recent surge by Rick Santorum. Recent polls show Santorum slightly ahead among Republican voters including in Romney's home state of Michigan.

The president will attend a fundraiser breakfast on Thursday in Corona del Mar. Tickets to that event range from $10,000 to $35,000.


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