LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — President Obama wrapped up the first of a two-day Southland visit Monday, meeting with the family of slain Transportation Secretary Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez and headlining a pair of Beverly Hills fundraisers.
Obama kicked off his visit late Monday afternoon with a short stop at the Beverly Hilton, where he met with the family of Hernadez, who was killed when a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport Nov. 1. The president also met with TSA officers Tony Grigsby and James Speer, who were wounded in the rampage.
Obama participated in two fundraising events in Beverly Hills, one of which is being held at the Beverly Park home of Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, impacting streets in the area as well as in nearby Westwood.
The president’s visit is his 16th to the Los Angeles area since taking office, and the 10th fundraising trip. Monday night’s reception at the home of Magic and Cookie Johnson raised money for Democratic candidates for the Senate and Congress; the cheapest tickets cost $2,500 and the price went up to $15,000 to be a host and receive a photo with the president.
An estimated 80 guests attended the intimate fundraiser at Johnson’s home, according to pool reports. KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports the Lakers hall of famer introduced the president as the “the greatest leader in the world.”
Johnson later tweeted that “I have won 5 NBA Championships, 3 MVPs and an Olympic Gold Medal but hosting Pres. Obama in my home was greater than all of those moments!”
The president praised Johnson for changing the public perception of HIV and for serving as a leader in business, then delivered a 17-minute speech urging the country to start thinking like a team, pool reports said.
Obama later attended a dinner fundraiser at the nearby Beverly Hills home of Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, where dinner for two cost more than $32,000.
Waiting up the hill outside from the home of the night’s second fundraiser were a few dozen demonstrators protesting the TPP, which they charge is being secretly negotiated by multinational corporations and industry trade groups.
The president’s trip to California got off to a somewhat confrontational start earlier Monday at his one public event in San Francisco’s Chinatown, when protesters standing behind the president on stage shouted at him to use an executive order to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants.
“The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws,” Obama said in response. “And what I’m proposing is the harder path which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting, it requires us lobbying and getting it done.”
Protesters also awaited the president’s arrival at Will Rogers Park in Beverly Hills to demonstrate against a global trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. According to protesters, if the agreement between the U.S. and about 12 other countries is allowed to go through it could allow corporations to sue state and local governments over regulations that might affect future profits.
Demonstrators from a variety of organizations, including MoveOn and Occupy, told CBS2’s Randy Paige they would not go up to Magic Johnson’s home but wanted the president and the public to hear their concerns.
On Tuesday morning, Obama is slated to attend another fundraiser in Hancock Park, affecting Wilshire, Fairfax to Western avenues and Beverly to Pico boulevards from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., officials said.
From there, the president will travel to DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, where he will deliver remarks on the economy during the noon hour. The following streets will be affected from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:
• Riverside Drive
• San Fernando Road and Grandview Avenue to North Pacific Avenue
• West Kenneth Road to Victory Boulevard
• San Fernando Road
• 5 Freeway and 134 Freeway
Obama’s departure from LAX will also affect streets near the airport between 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The trip comes as the U.S. and other world powers just sealed a historic deal with Iran for a temporary freeze of its nuclear program, and after Obama’s health care law approaches a crucial Nov. 30 deadline for an improved insurance enrollment website whose catastrophic start Oct. 1 dealt a serious political blow to the White House.
“So even as we’re getting this darn website up to speed, and it’s getting better, states like California are proving the law works,” Obama said in his public remarks in San Francisco Monday.
A new CNN poll shows more than half of all Americans now believe Obama is not honest or trustworthy. Only four in 10 say he is managing the government effectively.
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