Reporting Doug Sovern
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – President Barack Obama has left the Bay Area after a quick visit for a campaign fundraiser in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon.
Air Force One departed from San Francisco International Airport at 3:34 p.m.
Obama had arrived at the airport shortly before 1 p.m., then headed to the fundraiser, which was held at the W Hotel in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
About 200 people were expected to attend the fundraiser, which was to include a performance by singer Jack Johnson, an Obama campaign official said. Tickets to the event started at $5,000.
The president flew to San Francisco from Southern California, where he also held fundraisers. He made a surprise visit to a Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles in Los Angeles on Monday night, then taped a segment for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno before heading to the Bay Area.
When he arrived at SFO afternoon, the president waved to a small crowd that had gathered for his arrival, then walked quickly down the plane’s steps to the tarmac, where he was greeted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
He spent about five minutes shaking hands and chatting with members of the public who were invited to attend, including about half a dozen children.
The president took a moment to hold a baby a woman had handed to him, and high-fived a boy who was sitting on a man’s shoulders.
After signing some autographs—including one on a toy model of Air Force One that was brought by one of the children—he got into a black limousine and drove off with his motorcade.
Jeanne Carstensen, 61, of Pleasanton, was invited to witness the president’s arrival by a friend who works for the Department of Justice.
“It was an experience of a lifetime,” Carstensen said. “You don’t have to be a Democrat or a Republican to feel the excitement.”
Several hundred protesters gathered outside the W Hotel before the president’s motorcade arrived for the fundraiser.
Police blocked off the area in front of the hotel, located at Third and Howard streets, but the crowd stretched for half a block in each direction.
Many were there to protest Keystone XL, TransCanada Corp.’s proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
They held signs reading, “Stop Keystone XL” and “Another Voter Against the Pipeline.”
There were also protesters from the Occupy SF movement carrying signs that read “We are the 99 Percent.”
Others in the crowd were there to draw attention to the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana providers. One woman carried a sign reading, “Cannabis created more jobs than you.”
Some among that group chanted, “Go away, DEA.”
Dozens of police officers were standing in the intersection with their riot helmets at their sides. A bomb squad truck and a fire engine were parked nearby in front of the firehouse on Howard Street.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
The crowd outside the hotel was starting to thin out by about 2 p.m. as some people who had stopped by to check out the activity on their lunch breaks headed back to work.
Obama was flying to Denver Tuesday, and on Wednesday he will head back to Washington, D.C.
President Obama’s Monday evening fundraisers featured actor Will Smith and basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The President also mingled with actors such as Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas.
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