President Obama exits Air Force One on a trip to California. Photo by Chris Stone
President Obama exits Air Force One on a trip to California. Photo by Chris Stone

Jammed traffic in the Los Angeles area due to President Obama’s two-day visit is finally over.

Now we can return to our usual rush-hour jammed traffic, but we can no longer blame the president.

After 23-hours of temporary street closures and restrictions, President Barack Obama wrapped up his visit to the Southland Tuesday.

While making his rounds of appearances, police made multiple driving suggestions for motorists in the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills areas to avoid congestion.

Before departing, Obama attended a fundraising roundtable discussion at the Beverly Hills home of television producer Ryan Murphy before heading to the airport for a trip back to Washington, D.C.

Tickets for the morning fundraiser were $33,400, with the proceeds benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Murphy, a writer, director and producer, is best known for “Glee,” “American Horror Story” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Obama arrived at the event around 11 a.m. and left about an hour later. After a motorcade to Santa Monica Airport, Obama was flown by helicopter to Los Angeles International Airport, where he boarded Air Force One and departed shortly before 1 p.m.

Obama landed aboard Air Force One at LAX early Monday afternoon and was greeted by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas. The three spoke for several minutes on the tarmac before Obama boarded a helicopter en route to his first destination.

Garcetti told reporters at the airport the conversation focused on some of the issues that will be facing local voters in November, including a bond measure to combat homelessness and a transit sales tax extension. He also noted that federal funding has played a key role in expanding the area’s transit system, including the recent Expo Line extension from Culver City to Santa Monica.

After leaving the airport, Obama’s first stop was Hollywood, where he taped an appearance on the ABC late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” praising Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and criticizing Republican candidate Donald J. Trump.

He later spoke at a $100,000-per-person evening fundraiser in Beverly Hills on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign at the home of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn. The event was closed to reporters.

The Katzenberg event was the fourth Clinton campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area in seven weeks with a $100,000 price tag.

On “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Obama said Clinton “is smart as a whip, she does her homework, she works really hard, she cares deeply about working families in this country.” He added that Clinton’s pragmatic brand of politics “may not attract as much attention, it’s not something that goes into 140 characters as easily, but I think she will be an outstanding president.”

Obama also told Kimmel his staff woke him up three or four times because of an emergency during his presidency. Turning to sports, he said that although he is a fan of the Chicago White Sox, he is happy that the Chicago Cubs had reached the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Like he did in his previous appearance on the show in 2015, Obama participated in the “Mean Tweets” segment, including one saying he couldn’t negotiate ordering a Whopper without pickles.

Another said, “Barack Obama, bro do you even lift?” drew the response “I lifted the ban on Cuban cigars, that’s something.”

The last tweet he responded to was an Aug. 2 tweet from Trump that said: “President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!”

Obama’s response: “At least I will go down as a president.”

The visit is Obama’s 26th to Los Angeles and Orange counties as president and the fundraisers, his 42nd and 43rd in the region. He conducted fundraisers during 22 of his past visits.

The trip is his first to the Southland since April 8 when he spoke at two fundraisers during a roughly 17-hour visit.

–City News Service 

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