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President cheered on way to Santa Monica fundraiser

June 07, 2013|By Kate Linthicum and Joseph Serna

President Obama was cheered by residents along surface streets as his motorcade moved through the Santa Monica area on his way to a fundraiser Friday, shortly after arriving at LAX.

Obama's plane landed shortly before 11 a.m. and the president flew by helicopter to Santa Monica Airport, where he was greeted on the tarmac by the outgoing and incoming mayors of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti, who takes office July 1, is riding with the president to a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the Santa Monica home of entertainment executive Peter Chernin. A Garcetti aide said the two are having a private meeting in advance of the event.

Garcetti was an early Obama supporter and calls the president a close friend, but Obama stayed out of this spring's contentious mayor's race, which pit Garcetti against fellow Democrat Wendy Greuel. Greuel, who finished eight points behind Garcetti, according to preliminary vote counts, was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.

This is an unusually presidential day for Los Angeles. Friday evening, Clinton is scheduled to appear with Villaraigosa and Garcetti at a downtown "block party" that has raised eyebrows for its $265,000 price tag.

The twin presidential appearances are diverting traffic, closing roads and bringing with them lots of serious-looking people with sunglasses who speak into their wrists.

From Los Angeles, Obama is expected to travel to Rancho Mirage on Friday afternoon for a two-day summit with China's new president, Xi Jinping.

The Los Angeles Police Department, working with the U.S. Secret Service, is asking motorists to help prevent traffic jams by staying away from the following areas from 1 to 3 p.m.:

Centinela Avenue and West Olympic Boulevard

West Olympic Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard

26th Street and San Vicente Boulevard

At the downtown block party, Clinton is scheduled to speak sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. followed by the outgoing mayor, famed Three Tenors opera singer Placido Domingo and Garcetti.

City officials promise surprise concerts by Grammy-winning artists, along with Spanish and Native American musical performances. Food trucks will be on hand too.

Ryan Seacrest, radio personality Dominique DiPrima and comedian Wanda Sykes will help host the event.


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