President Barack Obama will be back on the campaign trail this week with events in the Los Angeles area starting Wednesday, February 15. He'll be joined by the Foo Fighters, Will Ferrell and others at back-to-back early evening fundraisers in Beverly Hills followed by an early morning breakfast in Corona del Mar in Orange County. Tickets cost as much as $35,800.
As usual, presidential visits can produce significant traffic delays - a 2010 visit caused enough problems that they are now locally referred to as "Obamajams." "The good news this time is that he won't have to travel as far as usual, so the traffic impact should be lighter," explains TotalTrafficLA, a website that is tracking Obama-related closures to the best of its ability (for security reasons, exact routes are not publicized). "Also, most closures are expected to be 'rolling' which means police pick up the barricades as soon as the President's motorcade has passed."
As for Thursday's 7:00 a.m. breakfast in Orange County, it's unclear if the President will arrive by car or air, according to the website.
The visit, his ninth since taking office, comes after a pair of anti-piracy bills - supported by Hollywood big wigs and not so much by the Obama Administration - were stopped last month. "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," said White House officials in a statement.
Now some are speculating that it means trouble for Obama's fundraising efforts among the Hollywood elite, but it's not absolute. Ted Johnson, who follows the intersection of Hollywood and Washington politics for Variety, wrote this week that Republican candidates also came out against the bills, SOPA and PIPA, and that there was no sign of waning support when Michelle Obama was in town fundraising two weeks ago. "Hollywood undoubtedly leans left," he said, "But it doesn't march in lockstep, particularly when it comes to its own issues."