PALM SPRINGS (CBS/AP) — President Barack Obama is spending a long Father’s Day weekend in the desert oasis of Rancho Mirage.
The president and the first lady arrived at the Palm Springs International Airport Friday night after visiting an Indian reservation earlier in the day.
Congressman Raul Ruiz, who represents the Coachella Valley, was delighted to greet Air Force One on the tarmac.
“I’m an emergency doctor and my wife is a nurse and it was the first time I got to introduce my wife to the first lady,” Ruiz said. “We congratulated her on combating youth obesity.”
The visit is Obama’s third trip to the Coachella Valley in the past year.
The Obamas are staying with White House decorator Michael Smith and his partner, U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos, at their vacation home.
The president’s handlers scoped out some golf courses and gave a list to Obama just in case he wants to spend Father’s Day on the links.
Obama plans to take a short flight to Orange County Saturday to raise money for the Democratic National Committee at a closed-door event at a private home.
Then he’s scheduled to deliver the UC Irvine commencement address at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. It may be a hot ticket, but some students are giving the ceremony the cold shoulder after organizers issued a long list of what graduates cannot bring into the stadium, including leis and balloons.
The couple has no public events scheduled on Sunday, according to the White House.
Aides also say he’ll be in frequent contact with his national security team for updates on the violence in Iraq.
Speaking at the White House Friday morning, Obama said he was not planning to send ground troops into Iraq, but he will weigh other options offered by his advisers over the next few days.
“We’ll be monitoring the situation in Iraq very carefully over the next several days,” he said. “Our top priority will remain being vigilant against any threats to our personnel serving overseas. We will consult closely with Congress as we make determinations about appropriate action, and we’ll continue to keep the American people fully informed as we make decisions about the way forward.”
Meantime, the president’s visit will prompt road closures.
Starting around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Pacific Coast Highway will close from Newport Coast Drive to Ledroit Street in Laguna Beach. At 10:30 a.m., Katella Avenue and Douglas Road will close in Anaheim. The roads will stay closed until around 2 p.m. Ramp closures were slated on the 57 Freeway at Katella Avenue for 10 minutes, beginning at 1 p.m.
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