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President Obama headed home after L.A. visit

April 22, 2011 | 11:25 am

President Obama wrapped up his two-day tour of California on Friday morning after flying by helicopter from the Beverly Hills area to LAX -- an attempt to avoid the traffic snarls that angered commuters during a previous trip.

Democratic officials did not reveal the size of Obama's fundraising haul during his Western swing, which included "town hall"-style meetings at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto and at a renewable-energy company in Reno, Nev.

But he attended three fundraisers in the Los Angeles area Thursday -- mingling with Steven Spielberg,  Gov. Jerry Brown and actors George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at a final private dinner at Tavern in Brentwood.

Tickets to the three events ranged from $100 to the maximum legal limit of $35,800. Proceeds will be split between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The president was interrupted at a San Francisco fundraiser Thursday morning by protesters, who sang a song criticizing the treatment of a soldier who has been accused of giving classified information to the WikiLeaks website.

Protesters also gathered along the presidential motorcade's route to a rally Thursday in Culver City, but the president was met by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2,500 who gathered at a sound stage on the Sony Studios lot.

The visit was intended, in part, to stir enthusiasm among contributors and volunteers who fueled his  2008 effort. The president acknowledged his supporters have suffered some disappointments and setbacks over the past 2 1/2 years, but urged them to renew their efforts for his 2012 campaign. 

"I want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead," Obama told supporters in Culver City. "I want you to be excited about the next 18 months, and then the next four years after that."


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Photo: President Obama steps off Marine One to board Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. Credit: Jim Young / Reuters