President Obama returns to Los Angeles again today for two late-afternoon and early evening Hollywood-centric 2012 fund-raisers that once again are raising concerns of rush-hour traffic snarls.
Obama is scheduled to appear at an event at the House of Blues, where tickets start at $250 per person and the lineup includes B.o.B, the Gay Men’s Chorus, Adam 12 and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He’ll follow that event with a high-dollar event at Fig & Olive on Melrose Place, with tickets at $17,900 per person.
West Hollywood city officials have been sending out notices to residents warning them of possible street closures, but as has been the case with Obama’s previous visits, the Secret Service keeps information about motorcade routes closely guarded. Nevertheless, the city is closing parks and city offices early in anticipation of bottlenecks, and some schools were planning to end the day early to avoid the traffic.
Obama’s last fund-raising swing in April, when he appeared at late-afternoon and early-evening events at Sony Studios and the Brentwood eatery Tavern, was pulled off with relatively few complications. A visit in August 2010 had caught many commuters off guard as major arteries like Olympic Boulevard were closed at rush hour.
The president has been on somewhat of a fund-raising tear to make up for a dormant period over the summer, as he wrangled with Republicans on a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
His events also will give him a chance to try to energize his Hollywood base of support, as some figures like Robert Redford and Matt Damon have expressed disappointment on issues like the environment and education.
Given that it is still early and there is no Republican nominee, it is difficult to gauge at this point the impact on fund-raising in an industry that has been one of the most loyal bases of support for Democrats.
Hollywood sources have contributed $6.8 million to Democrats this cycle, to $2.7 million to Republicans, a split of 71% to 29%, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Lynton are among Obama’s campaign bundlers, and Harvey Weinstein hosted a fund-raiser for him in August. Katzenberg, Steve Bing and J.J. Abrams have been among big donors giving to independent expenditure groups supporting Democrats next year.
Obama himself has acknowledged frustration, and it is expected that in his appearances on Monday he will take a more populist tone and highlight the differences with Republicans on issues like jobs and taxes.