Obama4-21-11.jpg3:55 PM (Bay City News): President Obama has left the Bay Area after a quick visit for a campaign fundraiser in San Francisco this 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 today from Southern California, where he also had fundraisers planned. 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 this morning that will air tonight.

When he arrived at SFO this 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 today.

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.

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.
This afternoon, Obama is flying to Denver, and on Wednesday he will head back to Washington, D.C.

LauraDixon/PatriciaDecker, Bay City News

2:16 PM (Bay City News): Several hundred protesters have gathered outside the W Hotel in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, where President Obama is making an appearance at a campaign fundraiser this afternoon.

Police have blocked off the area in front of the hotel, located at Third and Howard streets, and Third Street has been shut down to cars. The intersection is closed to pedestrians.

The crowd stretched for half a block in each direction away from the hotel.
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.

Air Force One touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:55 p.m., and the presidential motorcade arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m.

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 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.

Police said several SOMA streets will remain shut down until 4 p.m., including Third Street from Folsom Street to Mission Street; New Montgomery between Mission and Howard streets; Hawthorne Street between Howard and Folsom streets; and the intersection of Third and Howard streets.

Obama is scheduled to leave the Bay Area shortly after 3 p.m. today for Denver, and will head back to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

He flew to San Francisco today from Los Angeles, where he also had fundraisers planned. The president made a surprise visit to a Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles on Monday night, then taped a segment for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this morning that will air tonight.

1:39 PM (Bay City News): President Obama has arrived in the Bay Area for a brief fundraising stop in San Francisco this afternoon.

Air Force One touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:55 p.m.
The president waved to a small crowd that had gathered for his arrival from the door of the aircraft, then walked quickly down the 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.

The president is scheduled to attend a lunchtime fundraiser at the W Hotel in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, with tickets starting at $5,000.

The motorcade arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m.

An Obama campaign official said about 200 people are expected to attend the event, where attendees will watch a performance by singer Jack Johnson.

A number of groups are protesting outside the W Hotel this afternoon, hoping to draw attention to issues including U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, a recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana providers, and the government’s treatment of Bradley Manning.

As of 12:45 p.m., several hundred people had gathered outside the hotel.

Several streets in SOMA will be shut down until 4 p.m. for the presidential visit, including Third Street from Folsom Street to Mission Street; New Montgomery between Mission and Howard streets; Hawthorne Street between Howard and Folsom streets; and the intersection of Third and Howard streets.

Obama is scheduled to leave the Bay Area shortly after 3 p.m. today for Denver, and will head back to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

He flew to the Bay Area today from Los Angeles, where he also had fundraisers planned. The president made a surprise visit to a Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles on Monday night, then taped a segment for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this morning that will air tonight.

1 PM: According to Bay City News, Air Force One touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:55 PM.

As of 12:45 PM, they report, several hundred people had gathered outside the W hotel, where President Obama is expected to attend a lunchtime fundraiser, with event tickets starting at $5,000.

An Obama campaign official said about 200 people are expected to attend the event, where attendees will watch a performance by singer Jack Johnson.

9:40 AM: As you already know, President Obama will be having lunch at San Francisco’s W Hotel this afternoon, as part of a private fundraiser that the Chron is kind of pissed it can’t attend. But the Chron isn’t the only one pissed at Obama today — you can also count those who have to deal with traffic in SOMA, and at least one protest group as others who might be grumbling about the President today.

Ticket prices for the event — which will feature a performance by Jack Johnson — start at $5,000 and roughly 200 people are expected to attend, according to White House officials. But none of those 200 will be Chron reporters, as they and other Bay Area reporters are reportedly blocked from the luncheon.

“Fundraisers are not private events in this post-Watergate era,” the Chron argues in an editorial decrying how “only Washington-based journalists were allowed in the pool – continuing a disturbing trend by this White House to severely limit access to fundraisers.”

Less press shy, however, is protest group World Can’t Wait, which says that any and all are invited to a “Rally & Protest” today at 11 AM at the W (Third and Howard Streets).

According to a release sent by organizers, “Protesters will rally outside the $7500 per plate campaign fundraiser when Obama speaks,” In addition to World Can’t Wait, “Cindy Sheehan, and activists ranging from Code Pink to Occupy SF and anti-war U.S. military veterans” are expected to participate.

Their complaint? According to organizers, “crimes of our government” including “expanding wars, occupations and the related torture policies, after 10 years of war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, suppression of whistleblowers (especially now in the cases of Bradley Manning, and Wikileaks), the now-legalized (by Obama) executive power to order assassinations of U.S. citizens such as Anwar Al-Awlaki.”

Then there’s the Axis of Love SF, Students for Medical Cannabis Protections, Patient Advocacy Network, Black and Brown Just Cannabis Policies and the San Francisco Patient Union “rally and patient speak-out” planned for 1 PM at 3rd and Howard (so make it fast, anti-war folks!)

According to Shona Gochenaur, executive director of medical cannabis center Axis of Love SF Community Center “We are calling upon our Commander-in-chief (to) set up diplomatic talks between patient advocates, elected officials and law enforcement to create clear and caring regulations that will prevent profiteering and patient exploitation.”

Perhaps the street closures in the area will make it easier for the protesters to assemble — according to SFPD, several roads in the area will be closed from 11:30 AM-4 PM:

Northbound 3rd Street from Folsom Street to Mission Street
Southbound New Montgomery from Mission to Howard
Westbound Howard Street from 2nd Street to 4th Street
Hawthorne from Howard Street to Folsom Street
The intersection of 3rd Street and Howard Street will be most impacted

And be careful where you park in the area, as SFPD says “media vehicles with a valid permit may park on 3rd Street between Mission and the Museum of Modern Art crosswalk, along the westside. Only media carrying appropriate credentials will be allowed and is subject to search of their person and equipment.”

Air Force One is scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport at 12:45 PM today. He is expected to depart from SFO shortly after 3 p.m.

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Sausalito Sam

    Barack Obama has stabbed the environmental movement in the back!

    I don’t know why he’s going around to $35800-a-plate fund raisers — no one I know is going to volunteer to work on his campaign again, much less vote for the liar.

    Thank goodness more and more of us have finally had our moment of clarity, and are waging war on him like he’s doing to the environment.

  • Sausalito Sam

    Barack Obama has stabbed the environmental movement in the back!

    I don’t know why he’s going around to $35800-a-plate fund raisers — no one I know is going to volunteer to work on his campaign again, much less vote for the liar.

    Thank goodness more and more of us have finally had our moment of clarity, and are waging war on him like he’s doing to the environment.