President Obama makes pit stop at Roscoe's before fundraiser


President Obama arrived at Los Angeles International Airport about 4:30 p.m., then boarded Marine One from LAX to the Westwood area.

The visit, his second since September, undoubtedly meant traffic tie-ups on the Westside during the afternoon commute. City leaders warned commuters to be prepared for rolling closures on some of the main thoroughfares throughout the city.

Drivers on the Westside had to practice a little extra patience while the commander in chief rolled into Hancock Park in his motorcade.

The president first attend a $35,800-a-plate dinner at the home of Hollywood producer James Lassiter. Will Smith, who starred in Lassiter's film "Hitch," and wife Jada Pinkett Smith were among those co-hosting the event. Former Laker Magic Johnson was also in attendance.

Before the fundraiser, President Obama stopped at Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles in the Mid-City area, where he ordered for himself and several aides. His order included the No. 9 - the "Country Boy" - which comes with three wings and a waffle.

"Roscoe's, you know, sometimes you get a yearning every two, three to six months, so Obama is like us," said Princess Pope, who was at the restaurant at the time.

Joined by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), the president greeted diners in each booth, including shaking hands with a boy.

After the first fundraiser, he traveled to the nearby home of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith for an event organized by the Futuro Fund, a group of Latino Obama supporters from across the nation. "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria was among the co-hosts. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was also expected to attend.

Tickets for the event started at $5,000.

"I think our votes are worth his attention," said Beverly Hills resident Robert Smith. "I think he wants to go a little Hollywood. I just saw the Clinton thing at the Hollywood Bowl the other day. I like it, politics and Hollywood should definitely mesh."

Not everyone was happy with President Obama's approach to raising funds.

"Isn't it amazing that he can rail against the rich and then ask for $35,000 for people to come have dinner with him? It's the height of hypocrisy," said Ron Greeno of Hancock Park.

The president was expected to raise $4.3 million over the next three days.

More delays will be likely Tuesday morning in the Burbank and Cahuenga Pass area as the president visits NBC studios for an interview with Jay Leno.

After that, the president is scheduled to fly out to San Francisco about 11:45 a.m.

President Obama was last in Los Angeles on Sept. 26-27, when he attended two fundraisers - one at the House of Blues in West Hollywood and another at trendy Melrose Place restaurant, Fig & Olive.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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