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Obama visits L.A. for Boxer fundraiser; trip denounced by GOP

April 19, 2010 |  9:32 pm

President Barack Obama tries to get a heckler to be quiet as he speaks at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Monday, April 19, 2010.

In a foray that underscored the tough reelection battle facing Sen. Barbara Boxer, President Obama visited Los Angeles on Monday for a set of fundraisers expected to raise nearly $3.5 million for the three-term senator and the Democratic National Committee.

Obama mixed support for Boxer with defense of his own leadership, arguing that although there would be “some hard days ahead” for the nation, signs of progress abound: The economy is expanding, businesses have begun hiring and tax revenue is edging up.

“Here’s the main message I have for all of you — change is coming, change has come,” Obama told guests at a reception at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. “We made a series of decisions that were not always popular but were the right thing to do. Nobody is tougher and nobody is more determined to do the right thing, even in the face of intense opposition, than Barbara Boxer.”

The Los Angeles events were the latest in a rapidly accelerating fundraising schedule for the president, who has been traveling across the nation to help vulnerable Democrats such as Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Obama’s trip was denounced by Republicans, who faulted him for meeting with wealthy supporters but not holding a single public event for the state’s residents, who have been hit hard by the recession. California’s unemployment rate rose slightly, to 12.6%, in March.

Carly Fiorina, one of the Republicans competing to challenge Boxer in the fall, called on the DNC to reimburse taxpayer money spent on travel costs for the president and his staff.

“To fly out here on the taxpayers’ dime and not be willing to face the voters of California, I think, is outrageous,” she said. 

-- Seema Mehta and Tom Hamburger

Photo: Obama speaking at Exposition Park. AP