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Obama visits California, but only for money -- again

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.


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.

Ten Thousand dollar billFive Thousand Dollar Bill

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.

One Thousand Dollar Bill One Thousand Dollar Bill

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.

Five Hundred Dollar Bill One Hundred dollar Bill

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).

Comments () | Archives (44)

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wow! obamba and his usual selflessness, big surprise.

stop your whining, cry baby

(AM responds: See response to Paulie below.)


(AM responds: You must be 13 to participate on this Comment board, Paulie. Does your Mom know you're on the Internet?)

Any else notice Obama's done nothing for California?

I'll bet that'll change if he sees our 55 electoral votes going down the drain in his next election.

Finally! Bipartisanship! The only time the President of either party come to California is to raise money. If the eilte of Hollywood, the Silicon Valley, and others were to turn off the spigot for a year, it would be amazing how fast the California economy would recover.

any word on the road closures for the pres today?

(AM responds: You probably want to avoid LAX area from after lunch until late afternoon.)

Why are you hating on Obama? It's the screwed up system of election in this country that's to blame--it has become nearly a full-time job for any candidate to be elected or re-elected. Candidates spent over $1 billion in 2008. It would be disingenous to say that Obama can ignore the pressure to be prepared for 2012. And as long as I'm having my say--when Bush left office, the US economy was falling off a cliff and the media was talking about the end of the financial system. Obama rescued the economy and we're seeing a turn-around. So, I am hoping for another 4 years!

I'm a Democrat, I fully support this President and I think he's doing a terrific job.

However, I just don't think California has been treated as the state that delivered this victory to the President. California volunteers made hundreds of millions of phone calls to every battle ground state. We canvassed other states, donated millions and were the engine behind this campaign. Without California's efforts this victory would never have been possible.

I just haven't heard him make a statement about the work we put in or what he plans to do to revive one of the states hit worst by this recession. Everything is about Michigan or Iowa or some town in Indiana.

"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."

Is the Times turning into Fox News? This is just dishonest. They were not "my" recent demonstrations. They were tea bagger demonstrations and if you had not carefully edited what the President said you would have communicated that he was amused at tax protests by people who were so uninformed that they did not realize they had received tax cuts from his administration.

(AM responds: Didn't edit what he said. Are you incapable of clicking on the full link? Government need to do that for ya too.)

Alternate headline:

Opinionated 'Journalist' Seeks Clicks by Attacking President Obama.

(AM responds: Oh and look, Justin is here! Thanks, Justin. Good to see you again.)

And the Republicans don't do the same thing? Let's not forget -- most of the GOP and our right-leaning SCOTUS don't want campaign finance reform and are all for their big corporate friends being able to contribute as much money as they want and to spend as much as they want on advocacy ads.

This is hardly a one-sided issue to be pinned on the Dems.

What a joke!!!unemployment in threw the roof,and the last time I checked Skid Row is overflowing with women,and children.So much for hope and change.

So what! lol If one aims to win big one must do their homework! ;P

There should be a disclaimer on all of your postings that these are the rabid musings of the token right wing nut meant to make the latimes seem bipartisan. The only thing it does though is further diminish what little prestige is left in this rag. Presidents fundraise for their parties, how shocking is that? George W Bush did the same thing, but when it is a black president doing so you must think he is gettin uppity, eh good old boy? Btw tix were available for 100 dollars something even a two bit columnist like yourself could afford.

(AM responds: Oh, Jay, Jay, Jay. Are you so bereft of thoughts that all you can do is name-call? A sad comment on your crowd.)

Are we going to forget the time George Bush came out to California for fundraisers too?

I remember one fundraiser in particular, only because it happened at the same time as New Orleans drowning.

"Smoker in Chief"?

Really? Is that the best you have?

(AM responds: Sure his wife has a health drive going, but the president is the nation's top-ranking cigarette smoker. His choice. So it is accurate.)

This writer is such a joke. Please fire him LATimes! Where can I find the last bastion of opinion-free news?

(AM responds: You certainly won't find opinion-free writing on any politics blog, that's for sure. Is that the new democracy? Fire anyone who disagrees with you? Here's an idea, Timothy, though it would take some thought. Marshall your argument for whatever you're for and present it here to counter what you disagree with. Rather than wasting so much effort to silence what you disagree with. And thanks for being among our many readers.)

Columnist Malcolm is of course aware that the healthcare bill -- since its passage -- has NOT been polling "unpopular" but rather the opposite. Our President, too, has been more plus than minus during most of the time since the bill passed.

In general, Mr. Malcolm's rightwing proclivities are becoming most tiresome now that his perennial griping has become (a) not at all funny and (b) essentially meaningless. Maybe the Times should consult its longest-term fans (like ME, a reader for roughly 65 years now) to determine whether it's time to give Mr. M. the axe -- or more simply the ax.

Thanks for listening! -Peter

It's not that I disagree with you Andrew, it's that you just are so childish in your writing. Are we really going to call the President of the United States the Smoker in Chief? Is that a legitimate thing for the LATimes to have posted? Do we really have to not so subtly attack Barbara Boxer's age? Can you not be a little more professional in your perhaps valid criticisms of her? This kind of writing is plaguing our current debate and unfortunately it speaks to the quality of the LATimes that they keep letting you write.

(AM responds: Obviously, we are unconcerned about disagreement. That's what political debate is all about. But he is, in fact, the nation's top-ranking cigarette smoker, despite his wife's drive for healthy habits. And that speaks to his choices. He doesn't seem to be bothered by the characterization. Live with it and all the others we use about so many folks.)

It would be nice if he stepped up to the plate and stopped all the big hiring and spending of tax money the POLICE FORCE of this state is running away with. Is there no one in control?

I can't wait until November - to see this president's face go ashen when the American people vote all of his political hacks out of office! A wake-up call. Obama has to be the worst thing since George W. Bush.

Obama is a catastrophe for america...he he destroyed our space program which the single biggest source of U.S. technolgical innovation. He called himself the environmental president, but cut hydrogen development, and is going to destroy our coasts with oil drilling. He has created more debt for the country than all previous presidents combined, and his communist health program will slow the pace of medical innovation and research in the country.

what a joke! we as the american people shouldn't have to read this crap!

(AM responds: You don't. But thanks for reading it anyway and scrolling all the way down and making a comment. Appreciate the interest. P.S. American is capitalized by many Americans.)

Seriously, LA Times? Smoker in Chief? Where did you find this writer? Surely in this economy you could find a better right leaning "journalist."

Will naive and credulous liberal dems ever wake up to the current drunken sailor
spending habits of this administration of amateurs ?

It isn't possible to be the worst thing since Bush. The country reached its political nadir with that guy.

As to the Smoker in Chief comment, hey - if its this dude's blog, he can say what he wants. I know I made a lot of unflattering comments about the last president.

I wondered what the helicopters I saw on Saturday were for.

Just ask yourself, how is that Hope and Change working out for you?

Ohh money and politicians. Change seems to be the same thing different guy. We got what we voted for but buyers remorse is setting in. Another money grabbing politician worried about reelection more than anything else. Politician, Lawyer and liar why did we think electing a Senator was something new and positive?

It’s interesting to see the comments “supporting” Obama’s actions as described in this article. They support his actions by blaming Bush, citing unreferenced polls that say Obama’s support is “growing”, saying we should ignore his smoking hypocrisy, trying to “kill the messenger”, and blaming the “system”. Nobody acknowledges the spiraling growth of the Tea Party supporters, referenced Obama’s (actual) approval numbers ;; the fact that Obama is a hypocrite in continuing to smoke (which he and the media successfully hid during his election campaign) while he and his family touts “health” (will Obamacare taxpayers pay for his lung transplant?), the continued high unemployment despite his “promises” of >8%, the continued earmarks and lobbyists, expensive, polluting jet trips, etc. etc. Can’t anybody face, and debate, the facts anymore?

Another reason to cancel your subscripotion to the most desperate newspaper in the country. Join me in demanding that the Times dispose of this amateur bid for "balance" and immediately cancel your subscriptions.

(AM responds: Alas for you greg, this blog has nothing to do with the newspaper. You can tell because there's no paper. And it's 24 hours. So cancelling your subscription to anything even Mother Jones won't matter over here. Thanks for reading and taking the time to add such a thoughtful comment.)

Andrew "I LOVE BUSH" Malcolm is again at work spreading lies and BS. Is everyone aware that he was the social secretary and wingnut bottle washer for Laura Bush? Where is the disclaimer by this newspaper?Thanks LAT!

(AM responds: Unlike the TV networks who don't do disclaimers for their recycled political workers, the site has posted on its homepage the bloggers' bios since the day the blog started nearly three years and so many millions of readers ago. Doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to find it. )

Obama spends so much of his time outside Washington eating fancy meals with fat cat democrats, so that he can fill his campaign coffers with huge donations from left wing celebrities and big corporations.


Obama still have that bad habit, cigarette smoking. According to his doctor, he drinks too much liquors and eats too much cholesterol laden foods. Face facts, Obama wins elections with his lies and demonizing his opponents. This president's wish is to control and rule, based on what HE thinks is best for all. He insults Americans and Foxnews almost daily. I'm poor, but I don't need the demos to take care of me. I can think and do for myself. I hope Boxer and all Obama campaigns for lose. We need a more balanced congress with both parties.

I've got to read this blog more often - it's the only one that's worth anything in the LAT.
Tonights stumping for Babs only ensures her defeat (i.e. Coakley, and that other guy). We the people are voting Boxer OUT come November. And the Smoker in Chief goes buh-bye in 2012.

Count Obama is stopping by to suck more money from a dying state.

California should invoke the Commerce Clause and become the first state to enact a 50% tax on political contributions to federal candidates from those earning $250K or more. Every two years, cha-ching. Why should only the political parties and media outlets running campaign commercials partake of the largesse?

Myself, I just purchased a multi-billion credit-default swap on Boxer's re-election. So thanks Obama, for doing your part to help short Boxer for me.

Also heard tell that the democrats will have Coinstar machines located outside where Obama is having din-din, so more Californians can donate to the Cause. They're the newer ones, with the automatic piggy bank crushers, so kids can get in on the donation action.

And debuting during the Boxer fundraiser will be the democrat-sponsored Two-Fer Mega Millions lotto. If you buy an extra $1.00 Mega Millions ticket and sign it over to either Boxer, Obama, or the DNC before the drawing, you'll get a 50-cent tax credit. If your donated Mega Millions ticket is a winner of $100 million or more, you get to caddy for Obama on his next round.

And for those without so much as a coin jar or lottery ticket, the DNC will accept organ donations -- provided you do the harvesting yourself and submit the organ in an approved container.

Bottom line: One should be able to donate a $17,600 IOU payable by your grandkids to share the mess hall with Obama. Fair is fair.

For those you who apparently didn't realize it, that was a bit of satirical commentary on President Obama.

Change the name "Obama" to "Sarah Palin" or "George Bush" and all of the naysayers would be slapping Andrew on the back.

I don't know if anyone else has commented or posted something in regards to your typo on paragraph 7....the word should be "dropping" NOT "drooping". You may want to edit that section.

(AM responds: Thanks for the heads-up. Actually, either one would work, but we did intend drooping. Thanks again for reading so closely.)

A: Just heard about your blog this afternoon on the radio. Very interesting.

I still reread Final Harvest about once a year. That was the first time I talked to you. When you interviewed me for the book I was in CO and still am. Minn. is still a hard place to think about.

(AM responds: Yes, I understand it would be. Glad to re-see you here and hope you enjoy the articles and tell others. Few more hills in CO. :--)) )

It is important that Obama and Boxer raise lots of money. It might be nice if they spent a little time working on repairing the economy- jobs are good obama- jobs are good boxer- Hope and change-good

What are you complaining about, I personally have had enough public speeches from the president. If people want to pay money to hear the same worthless content he always gives, that is up to them. I will take speeches at fund raisers any day over televised speeches that the news show for free. He still uses a teleprompter right? How many fundraiser speeches had the last 5 presidents done this many months into? How many trips to California of which how many were fundraisers? I think we need some prospective before we complain about the president being any worse at spending tax payers money for fundraises.

I wonder how much additional money the trip cost for the president trip to California. How much you want to bet the additional cost is actually more than he raised? It would be cheaper just to have the U.S. treasury pay to the Democratic party the cost of the trip but that would be wrong right paying off the president so as to save tax payers money?

Funny- the Golden Child promised to stop campaigning a few weeks ago. Also- who is paying for these little tour's around the southland? Oh yeh, me.

I find it laughable how our President, and I use the term loosely, can say and promise one thing with a straight face then do exactly the opposite the very next day- and, the shee-ple drink it up.

Boxer is a tool. Look at her record and how she votes. Not one orriginal idea. She's a lock-step hate monger with a socailist, anti-conservative agenda. Her and that drooling super-prune Pelosi would make great book end's.

I find it refreshing the Times has the spine to call it like it is.

Funny how when Obama is critisized his flock runs to him and cricles the fleece to keep them all from drowning in the river Denial.

Call any other President names and such and, well, that's OK. Call Obama and his regime like it is? Oh, that's blasphemy.

Wake up, People. Your Liberty is leaving town on the next 747.

The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states. Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

The bill is currently endorsed by over 1,707 state legislators (in 48 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Maine -- 77%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 74% , Massachusetts -- 73%, Minnesota -- 75%, New York -- 79%, Washington -- 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in 19 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes -- 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


Funny, how when Bush was President dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Now if you protest you are one step away from being the next Tim McVeigh. Pelosi even said she was a fan of disruptors during the anti-war movement. Now you can't even point out that Obama is using California as an ATM without being told that you are a bigot and a racist.

Hope and change has not worked for me... But, I'm still hoping! haha


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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