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Obama raises cash, stops for Chinese takeout on West Coast swing

February 16, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama greets patrons during a surprise visit to Great Eastern restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown.
President Obama greets patrons during a surprise visit to Great Eastern… (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from San Francisco — President Obama chased campaign cash on both ends of California on Thursday, urging donors to gear up for a tough reelection fight and trying to remind them of all that he’s done for them lately.

Obama hit up donors in Orange County and San Francisco, squeezing in four fundraisers on Day 2 of a West Coast swing.

Although the trip is bookended by official events highlighting Obama's plans to revive American manufacturing, the president spoke little of those plans as he courted his well-heeled donors. In short remarks at the private events, Obama has been emphasizing the part of his record most appealing to his liberal base – passage of the healthcare law, ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, tightening environmental regulations and ending the war in Iraq.

“And we’ve done all this obviously with some fairly vocal opposition. And we’ve done this even as the weight of the economic crisis made it more difficult,” Obama told a group of about 125 donors gathered for a brunch at a private home in the Orange County coastal community of  Corona del Mar.

The president and his entourage hustled from one event to the next, zipping in and out of luxury homes and hotels, and taking helicopters to dodge the Los Angeles traffic. He broke the pattern briefly when he landed in San Francisco and stopped in Chinatown for takeout.

He ordered dim sum dumplings as surprised diners abandoned their lo mein to greet the president.

Obama has eight fundraisers scheduled during the three-day trip. He’s expected to reap at least $8 million, a pool shared by his campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The events have been both cozy and star-studded. The Foo Fighters performed at a fundraiser Wednesday, and former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was on the bill Thursday night. A separate event Thursday was slated to feature Al Green, who can thank Obama for boosting his sales after an Internet video of the president singing a Green hit went viral. The announcement Thursday afternoon set off much speculation about whether Green and the president would sing a duet.

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

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