Tuesday, September 27, 2011
President Barack Obama will leave the Southland for Colorado this morning after a visit that allowed him to tap into some of Hollywood's pockets to pad his reelection campaign war chest.
Obama, who raised funds in Seattle Sunday and in Northern California and San Diego Monday prior to landing in Los Angeles in the afternoon, was scheduled to leave LAX for Denver at 10:30 a.m.
The FAA closed the airspace to most aircraft within a 30-mile radius of Santa Monica at 9:45 a.m. Monday, with the restriction expected to remain until 11 a.m. today, according to a notice to pilots posted this weekend.
While in Southern California, the president dwelled on the theme of middle class economic dislocation
Speaking to about 800 supporters at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, he said he remembered when "the idea of America was captured by this notion that if you tried hard here you could always make it -- that you were only bound by the size of your dreams.''
"And that if you did the right thing, there was no reason why you couldn't afford to have a home and have health care that protected you in case you got sick, and you could send your kids to college so they could do even better than you did,'' he said. But things have changed in the past decade, he said, vowing to work to restore the nation's status as a land of opportunity.
Before the president's speech began, a protester in the audience began shouting, "I love Jesus. Jesus Christ is God. Barack Obama's the antichrist."
Obama's supporters quickly drowned out the man with boos and chants of "four more years,'' and Secret Service agents escorted the man from the venue.
Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC's "Modern Family'' emceed the event, which featured performances by rapper B.o.B and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. Politicians in the crowd included Rep. Janice Hahn, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Maria Elena Durazo
Obama's fundraising effort later moved to the Fig & Olive restaurant on trendy Melrose Place, where he spoke to a celebrity-studded audience tha included California Gov. Jerry Brown, Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey
Katzenberg, actors Jack Black, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, and director Judd Apatow. Tickets for the dinner cost $17,900 per person, or $35,800 per couple, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.
The president urged the Fig & Olive audience to keep faith in his administration. "I'm going to need your help,'' he said. "Don't get tired on me now. This is when we're tested.''
Obama has used his West Coast swing to tout the jobs bill he is floating
in Washington -- one that has not been warmly received by Republicans, who have criticized him for trying to increase taxes on businesses and accused him of engaging in class warfare.
"Obama still doesn't understand that the key to increasing revenues is through growing the economy,'' California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said last week. "His program of higher regulations and taxes increases economic risk, reduces economic growth and therefore decreases revenues.''
But it was the left -- not Republicans -- that took to the streets to show scorn for administration policies, including at a rally outside the House of Blues, with members of the ANSWER Coalition calling for an end to U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, protection of Social Security and Medicare funds, and an end to the deportation of illegal immigrants.