- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fresh from advocating for more blue-collar factory jobs, President Obama roared through California on Thursday for a series of star-studded campaign fundraisers that will rake in at least $8 million.

Mr. Obama started the day with a fundraiser at the home of real estate developer Jeff Stack in Corona del Mar in Orange County, where tickets started at $2,500 per person. The president was greeted by both protesters and supporters.

Among the signs that people held along the president’s route: “Evict Obummer,” “Evict Obama” and a large banner reading “Protect Religious Freedom.” Two people held signs reading “Remove the skunk from the White House” with stuffed skunks attached.

Another sign read: “Gas prices up 91 percent under Obama.”

Resident Kent Moore told KTLA-TV station that he was concerned about “the debt [Mr. Obama] has put on this country. He seems to be blaming everyone else in the news for his own personal failures. I think the guy is in over his head.”

On Wednesday night, the president mingled with actor George Clooney and other celebrities at a dinner at the sprawling Los Angeles home of soap opera producer Bradley Bell. Tickets for that event cost $35,800 per person. With 80 people in attendance, the haul was more than $2.8 million. Mr. Bell’s home was featured last year on the cover of Architectural Digest magazine.

Mr. Obama, who is bookending his fundraising trip with speeches about the need to create more manufacturing jobs, told supporters that he sympathizes with Democrats who are frustrated because “Guantanamo is not closed yet, or the war in Afghanistan is still raging, or … the housing crisis hasn’t been completely fixed, and climate change is still going on. I feel the same way sometimes.”

But he urged the group to stick by him because “nothing beats persistence.”

“Inspiration is wonderful; nice speeches are wonderful; pretty posters — that’s great,” Mr. Obama said. “But what’s required at the end of the day to create the kind of country we want is stick-to-it-ness. It’s determination. It’s saying, ‘We don’t quit.’ “

Mr. Bell also held a fundraising party on his lawn for 1,000 people featuring rock band the Foo Fighters, with most tickets priced at $500.

After spending Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel — the same hotel where singer Whitney Houston died last week — Mr. Obama is moving on to the Bay Area later Thursday for a $35,800-per-head event at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco. About two dozen people are expected to attend.

Then it’s on to a fundraising dinner for about 70 guests at the Pacific Heights home of novelist Robert Mailer Anderson and his wife, Nicola Miner. Tickets again will cost $35,800. Singer Al Green will perform at this event; Mr. Obama made supporters shriek at a Jan. 19 fundraiser in New York’s Harlem neighborhood when he sang the opening of Mr. Green’s hit “Let’s Stay Together.”

Mr. Obama will conclude his busy day of fundraising with a reception at the Nob Hill Masonic Center attended by 2,500 people who will pay at least $100 each. For $7,500, donors will get their photo taken with the president.

On Friday, Mr. Obama will attend a fundraising luncheon with 65 people at a private residence in Medina, Wash., with tickets costing $17,900. The president will then speak at a fundraising reception attended by 450 at the Westin Bellevue in Bellevue, Wash., where tickets start at $1,000.

Proceeds from the events will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee authorized by Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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