During a half-hour stop this evening at the Beverly Hilton before heading up the canyon to Magic Johnson's home, President Obama met with the family of Gerardo Hernandez, the TSA officer who was killed during this month's shooting at LAX, a White House spokesman said. The President also met with Tony Grigsby and James Speer, two TSA officers who were wounded in the incident. No details were shared about what was said.
As I predicted, the president had helicoptered from LAX to Rancho Park after arriving this afternoon, about an hour behind schedule, from earlier events in the Bay Area and Seattle. The Obama party motorcaded to the hotel for a brief stop, then proceeded to Magic and Cookie Johnson's place in gated Beverly Park. The fundraising reception was held inside a heated tent on the Johnsons' tennis court. Magic introduced Obama to the crowd of about 80, saying “Let's put our hands together for the greatest leader in the world.”
Obama praised Johnson for changing the way people think about HIV and for being a leader in business. He suggested Washington politicians have a lot to learn from Johnson, who was known as a team player. "Nobody played a team game better than he did,” Obama said. “And that's what we need in this country more than anything."
Obama blamed partisanship for holding up action on important issues including immigration reform, which he says has broad support and is the right thing to do. “What's stopping us a failure of our politics and a lack of ambition,” he said in the White House pool report provided by LA Times reporter Kate Linthicum. “Our politics all to often encourages people to think selfishly or short-term.”
The fundraiser, which benefits Democratic candidates for the Senate and Congress, was attended by several members of Congress and celebrities that reportedly included Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Keaton. Obama spoke for 17 minutes, then the presidential party moved over to the nearby home of Haim and Cheryl Saban for another Democratic fundraiser. That one was attended by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Eli Broad, among dozens of others.
Cookie and I are both honored and privileged to have hosted President Barack Obama at our home tonight.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 26, 2013
At the second funder, Haim Saban revealed that he was at the White House on Friday for a “very small intimate dinner” with the Obamas. “And we had a wonderful time — great food, great company, very inspiring,” Saban said, per Variety's Ted Johnson.
Saban showered Obama with praise, notable because he had previously been guarded about his support.
“Some so-called fair and balanced media and charmers like Mr. Rush Limbaugh have been having a field day with the technical glitch on the Obamacare website and this has clouded some of the most remarkable achievements of this administration,” he said, before mentioning some of his accomplishments “so that you can all see things with perspective without allowing the caffeine that’s in the Tea Party’s rhetoric to keep us awake at night worrying.”
Saban also praised Obama’s foreign policy and the negotiations with Iran. Saban noted that the military and intelligence “cooperation with Israel — our staunchest ally in the Middle East, arguably the world, has never been deeper and the president’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been stronger. And if the Iranians are at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only as a result of President Obama’s resolve in striking down the most strict sanctions ever.”
The Obamajam issues were pretty much confined to the Cheviot Hills and Century City areas during the president's arrival, then in Beverly Hills. Traffic snarls definitely radiated out from those areas, but everybody is getting used to this — it was Obama's 16th visit to the LA area as president. Also, commute traffic seems to be incrementally lighter during the days before Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday Obama is scheduled to attend a fundraiser at the Hancock Park home of TV producer Marta Kauffman and her husband Michael Skloff, with Melanie Griffith a co-host. Obama then heads out to Glendale to speak about the economy at DreamWorks Animation, the company headed by top Obama money bundler Jeffrey Katzenberg. Police have issued some guidance to drivers.
TwitPic photo of Obama helicopter landing at Rancho Park: Kate Linthicum
* Updated post