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Obama makes unscheduled stop at Roscoe's Chicken

October 24, 2011 |  7:20 pm

Obama's stop at Roscoe's

After arriving in Los Angeles about 4:30 p.m. Monday, helicoptering to Brentwood and then driving the empty freeway for a time, President Obama's motorcade exited into what looked to be a predominantlyLatino neighborhood of West Los Angeles for an unscheduled visit to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.

Booths full of early-dinner diners craned their necks to see Obama, who was at the counter ordering for himself and nearby aides, including Valerie Jarrett, Jay Carney, David Plouffe and Marvin Nicholson. With him was Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who represents the area in the House.

Among other items, Obama reportedly ordered the No. 9, “Country Boy” -- three wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries -- which cost $8.90, according to the menu. He quickly moved to the cashier.

The president, sans suit coat and with his shirt sleeves rolled up, then walked to one side of the restaurant and greeted the diners in each vinyl-covered booth.

After Obama shook hands and chatted with a young African American boy who looked to be about 10, and then moved on, the boy turned to the white man he was dining with and said, “I’m never going to wash my hand again.” For minutes afterward he continued to hold his left hand aloft, fingers spread, as his eyes followed Obama around the room.

It was a diverse crowd. Obama moved to a second section, posing for cellphone photos with from one to six diners at a time, and then to a third, larger section to repeat the routine. One man with a woman and two children said to them, “He sounds just like he does on TV!”

As Obama made his way to one family's table, a young Latina girl of about 12 jumped up with a tablet for him to autograph. As a man took a photo of them, he said, “If you work hard, you can be just like him.”

At the next booth, a Latino man jumped up for a hug -- to applause from other diners. At one point, the crowd began chanting, “Four more years!”

One aide exited the restaurant with five food containers, and another came out with a carton of canned drinks. A couple of minutes later, after a second round of chants, Obama and Bass exited, each holding one plastic and one paper bag of food.

The president's motorcade then traveled a short distance by miles, a longer one by socioeconomic standards, to a manse in Hancock Park for the first fundraiser, at the home of James and Mai Lassiter.


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Photo: The president poses for a picture with some young diners at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Credit: Reuters