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President Obama feels the love, and more, in San Francisco

February 16, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Barack Obama greets the crowd after speaking at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco. Obama is on a three-day trip to the West Coast for fundraising.
President Barack Obama greets the crowd after speaking at the Nob Hill Masonic… (Susan Walsh / AP Photo )

Reporting from San Francisco — President Obama's California fundraising blitz may have been full of staid luncheons and white tablecloths, but it ended with a little San Francisco color.

Obama addressed 2,900 mostly adoring supporters at a fundraiser Thursday night, the largest and most raucous event on a three-day West Coast swing.

The president was greeted with a standing ovation and repeated outbursts of "I love you!" The crowd jumped to its feet again when the president mentioned the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays from serving openly in the military.

Not all in the crowd declared their love. Obama was twice interrupted by the yells of protesters. One woman appeared to be protesting fracking and deep-water drilling, another the war in Afghanistan. Both were led out.

"Stop the killing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan!" a young woman yelled as security escorted her out of the auditorium.

"This is what San Francisco is always about," Obama said of the interruptions. "There's always something going on in San Francisco. Folks are not shy about sharing their ideas in San Francisco."

Protesters also lined up outside the Nob Hill Masonic Center. Many carried signs calling for the legalization of marijuana.

The event was the closest thing to a public event Obama did in the state since he arrived Wednesday afternoon. Tickets started at $100.

The president has an official event on the schedule Friday. He'll visit a Boeing factory in Everett, Wash.

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

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