Eva Longoria, Will Smith, Magic Johnson, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and wings & waffles get Presidential attention...
Immediately after arriving in Los Angeles late Monday afternoon, President Obama made an "unscheduled" stop at Roscoe's House of Chicken n' Waffles, a locally beloved chicken chain restaurant that's been featured in a number of films, including "Swingers." The President, coatless and his shirtsleeves rolled up, strode into the West Pico Boulevard location shortly after 5:40 PM, to fortify himself for the two Hollywood star-laden fundraisers he'd shortly be attending. He was accompanied by White House aides and Congresswoman Karen Bass, who represents the district. (Above: The President orders as Bass, smiling looks on, and staffers snap photos)
Backdropped by a happy crowd of diners, the President placed a to-go order with excited clerks at the neon-lit counter. It was yet another "Don't tell Michelle" moment: Mr. Obama ordered the #9, "Country Boy"--3 chicken wings with a choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries ($8.90, according to the menu). He also ordered for his aides and Bass, and paid with cash.
The President, in the midst a three-day Western campaign swing, was in his usual happy mood when doing an eat n' greet.
He worked the room of thrilled patrons after ordering; it was a diverse crowd, and he moved systematically between the brown vinyl booths to shake hands, pose for photos, and chat.
“I’m big on girls," President Obama told a young couple after he'd posed for a photo with their two daughters. He congratulated the delighted parents for having produced lovely offspring.
Pool reported that after the President shook hands and chatted with a young African-American boy who looked to be about 10, and then moved on, the boy turned to the white man he was dining with and said, “I’m never going to wash my hand again.”
For minutes afterward the child continued to hold his left hand aloft, fingers spread, as his eyes followed the President around the room. (Above: Posing with the two girls)
Fundraising with the stars...
The President's wing action at Roscoe's came ahead of a fundraiser at the Hancock Park mansion of Hollywood producer James Lassiter and his wife Mai, where Magic Johnson, Will Smith and actress Hillary Duff added star wattage to the intimate $35,800/per person dinner.
"I want to excuse if anybody smells chicken on me," The President told the guests. "We stopped at Roscoe’s on the way down. I think I have a spot on my tie from the hot sauce. "
He ticked off his achievements, and urged his backers to rally for him once again.
"Sometimes I think people forget how much has gotten done," the President said, and added that there's plenty more to do.
"This election won't be as sexy as the first one," he said.
Then it was on to the Spanish-style mansion home of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas for another fundraiser, which attracted close to 200 donors who paid at lest $5,000 each, for an event aimed at Mr. Obama's Latino supporters. Actress Eva Longoria, an Obama stalwart, introduced the President. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among the guests. The event was billed by organizers as the “first ever Latino fundraiser’’ for the Obama re-election effort, and he ticked off his achievements once again.
"We've got so much work left to do," President Obama said, adding, joking, "These presidential years are dog years."
That said, he urged the crowd to stay in the fight.
“Don’t get weary. Don’t get tired. Because I’m not tired. I may be gray, but I’m not tired,’’ President Obama said.
California is the President's largest donor state, and he raised $1 million just in the LA area in the first two fundraising quarters, according to an AP analysis. The President was most recently in the City of Angels for fundraisers on Sept. 26th.
Apparently no one from the White House was planning to dine on the Lassiters' lovely spread. At the Roscoe's counter, the President also placed orders for Senior Advisors Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe, Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Trip Director Marvin Nicholson.
(Above: The President exits with Bass, takeout in hand)
They bundled into the the motorcade to travel down Pico Boulevard to Hancock Park, a short drive from West Los Angeles--but worlds away.
Earlier in the day, the President visited Las Vegas for a jobs speech and a fundraiser. He films the Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, where locals both love and dread the Presidential visits, thanks to the Obama edition of carmageddon that routinely occurs. Then it's on to San Francisco and Denver, Colorado for more fundraisers.
Information: The Roscoe's Chicken n' Waffles the President visited is located at 5006 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Phone: (323) 936-3730.