Obama's West Coast Trip to Test Star Power

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Sunday, 24 Nov 2013 10:05 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama's star power may be waning over the failed Obamacare rollout, but West Coast candidates are hoping he still has enough pull to raise millions of dollars in campaign money.

Obama is leaving Washington, D.C., Sunday for a three-day jaunt to the West Coast, where he plans stops to stump for Democratic congressional candidates in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, reports The Washington Times.

The events will also help bring in cash for the Democratic National Committee, which is still facing a $16 million debt from the 2012 campaign, reports The Times.

By the time Obama's West Coast trip is finished, he will have done 17 fundraisers in November alone for the Democratic Party.

Much of the money Obama's raising will likely go to candidates from his own party whose seats were already vulnerable and now are in trouble over the Obamacare rollout, said Republican pollster David Winston.

"He's obviously going to have to be raising money for these candidates, now that he's given an issue for Republicans to run on," Winston said.

But the president's popularity sounds like it's waning in some parts of the West. Ticket prices for his Monday fundraiser in San Francisco have been reduced  because of slow sales, with the "cheap seats" at the San Francisco Jazz Center being cut from $1,000 to $500.

The president's other appearances, though, are not in public places like the Jazz Center, but in more private-home locations.

Obama will headline a fundraiser at the Seattle home of Tom and Sonya Campion on Sunday afternoon. Tom Campion founded the clothing chain Zumiez, and in 2005, the couple launched a foundation in hopes of promoting wildlife preservation and ending homelessness. Obama plans another fundraiser Sunday at the home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.

The Los Angeles leg of Obama's West Coast tour will likely be the most star-studded part of the trip. The Los Angeles Daily News reports the president will attend a reception at the Beverly Hills home of basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie, Monday night.

Guests will pay $2,500 each to attend, and people who spend $15,000 can have their photo taken with the president. California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, are also scheduled to be at the event.

Obama also plans a dinner later that night at the home of Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban and his wife, author and philanthropist Cheryl Saban, who live in the exclusive Beverly Park neighborhood above Beverly Hills. Tickets to that event are much more expensive, at $16,400 each.

The president will wrap up his tour Tuesday with a roundtable at the home of "Friends" creator Marta Kauffman and her husband Michael Skloff, followed by a tour of the DreamWorks movie studio, where he plans to speak to employees about the economy.

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