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Obama visits California, but only for money -- again

April 19, 2010 |  1:22 am

Democrat president Barack Obama boarding Air Force One in Long Beach on a previous visit to California

The good news for California Democrats is that their hero President Obama is returning to the Golden state this afternoon.

The bad news is once again they'll have to hand over big money to see or hear him.

Common Californians -- including the increasing 12.6% of whom are now unemployed -- will be unable to hear the president address the economy or mounting fears over his healthcare bill and its costs because his announced events on this West Coast trip Monday are political and closed to all but donors.

Again.

Just FYI for Obama critics out there, you should know your recent demonstrations have entertained the 44th president. In Miami last week Obama told another crowd of donors ($2.5 million) that he was "a little amused" at the sight of so many tax protests across the country.

On his previous stop in California the Smoker in Chief only appeared with....

...Speaker Nancy Pelosi at two high-priced Democratic fundraisers in San Francisco. Those two raked in $3 million there in one night together. So he's still a good dinner draw despite poll numbers drooping below 50% now.

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The dollar haul could well exceed that sum in LA tonight between Obama's $2,500 speech and the $17,600 per plate dinner-speech later. Better be great arugula for that!

This past weekend was supposed to be a busy one for Obama, including an overnight Saturday flight to the president's funeral in Poland. However, the American begged off that trip, citing volcanic ash over Europe. Coincidentally, that decision enabled the U.S. president to get in a round of golf with friends in Maryland on Sunday afternoon, the 32d round of his 15-month presidency. That recreational activity didn't play too well in Poland.

Californians without $17,600 for dinner had better get used to this kind of treatment from a Democratic president. It comes with being in one party's pocket, as California has voted reliably for that party since Bill Clinton.

George W. Bush visited Texas many times during his two terms, mainly to visit his own ranch, not hold town halls, since the Lone Star state has been reliably Republican.

On the other hand, take Ohio, please. As a bellwether battleground state that swings, it is highly coveted political geography. Both parties woo Buckeye voters by visiting and listening and talking and pouring fortunes into the ad coffers of TV stations there. Recently, in fact, Obama and his effing vice president were both in that same state on the same day for political and public events.

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Obama has been a busy money-man for the party in recent days, hitting Miami last week and Boston before that. Here's how much it cost to hear him in Boston. While VP Joe Biden got the Pennsylvania turkey money assignment.

Both Obama and Biden have admitted they're going to need many dollars this year, given the increasingly adverse political climate for the Democratic species of politicians, especially since passage and signing of Obama's unpopular healthcare legislation. And the minuscule approval ratings for Congress, which the Democrats took control of in the 2006 midterm elections.

Much of the money from today's presidential fundraiser will go to the campaign of liberal Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer, a five-term ex-House member who's seeking a fourth six-year Senate term as her 70th birthday present this November.

Given California's recent political proclivities, you'd normally give her the edge over GOP candidates like Tom Campbell, Carly Fiorina or Chuck DeVore. She does lead Campbell by a diminishing margin in new polls.

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But the same surveys have consistently shown Boxer's inability to reach a 50% approval rating, the usual sign of incumbent vulnerability in an election year. Last week the Boxer campaign reported having $8.7 million cash on hand, which seems like a lot of money in most places not called California.

That's another reason why, free of ash worries, the president is flying his 747 West today all the way across the country to be the main fund-raising attraction for one Democrat before flying all the way back again to the White House early Tuesday. California voters can always write him a letter for a far smaller fee.

Related item:

San Francisco is a popular place for Democrats to seek money

-- Andrew Malcolm

You can get Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. for $17,600 less than you'd have to pay to see President Obama today in L.A. In other words, it's free to follow us @latimestot. You can also join our new Facebook fan page here.

Photo: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times (Obama on a previous LA visit).

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