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Obama takes off for Phoenix after Los Angeles visit

President Obama
Obama is set today speak at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the focal point of a nationwide scandal over delayed care for veterans, falsified wait time data and other management failures in the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Thinkstock/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is scheduled to leave Los Angeles this morning, bound for Phoenix, following an 18-hour visit consisting of an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

Obama used his first appearance as president on the ABC late-night talk show Thursday to condemn the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and called for marginalizing “folks who disregard and disrespect the other side, people who resort to violence.”

In an appearance featuring light-hearted questioning on subjects like visitors from space and whether he goes to the White House kitchen in the middle of the night in his underwear, Obama made extensive comments related to the continuing unrest in Ferguson, initially triggered by the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a police officer.

“Obviously, we don’t yet know what happened,” Obama referring to Thursday’s early morning shooting of the two officers.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the officers and their families, and thankfully, as you said, they’re going to be OK.”

Obama then made reference to his speech Saturday in Selma, Alabama, on the 50th anniversary of the march that helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

“What was beautiful about Selma was reminding ourselves that real social change in this country so often has happened because ordinary people are willing in a nonviolent fashion to make their voices heard,” Obama said..

“And I think that what had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest, but there was no excuse for criminal acts. And whoever fired those shots shouldn’t detract from the issue. They’re criminals. They need to be arrested.

“And then, what we need to do is to make sure that like-minded good spirited people on both sides — law enforcement who have a terrifically tough job and people who understandably don’t want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that we’re able to work together to try to come up with some good answers.”

In a standard bit on the show, Obama also read mean tweets about himself and responded to a question about his mobile device habits — “I don’t text. I email. I still have a Blackberry.”

Following the taping, Obama headed by motorcade to Santa Monica for a Democratic National Committee roundtable with about 25 supporters contributing up to $33,400, the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a national party committee in a year, according to a DNC official.

The fundraiser at the home of Chris Silbermann, a co-founder of the talent agency ICM Partners, and his wife, Julia Franz, the producer of such television series as “State of Affairs,” “Men at Work” and “Made in Jersey,” was closed to reporters, unlike many of his other fundraisers, where one reporter was allowed to attend, then share the resulting notes with the rest of the news media.

Obama told Kimmel the main purpose of the fundraiser was “to make sure people turn out” to vote.

Again recalling his Selma speech, in which he discussed how people risked their lives for the right to vote, Obama said, “We give our power away all the time. Everybody’s so frustrated with Washington, including yours truly.

“The reason Washington does not work is because two-thirds of us who should be active aren’t active, and as a consequence, special interests and big money ends up moving a lot of the agenda and driving gridlock.”

Obama has attended fundraisers during 18 of his 21 visits to Los Angeles and Orange County as president. He has attended 32 fundraisers in Los Angeles County during those trips, occasionally attending multiple fundraisers during the same visit.

Through the seventh years of their administrations, Bill Clinton conducted 42 fundraisers, George W. Bush nine and Ronald Reagan eight, according to research by Brendan J. Doherty, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy, for his book “The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign.” George H.W. Bush conducted 10 and Jimmy Carter six during their single terms, according to Doherty.

Obama arrived at Los Angeles International Airport aboard Air Force One at 4:05 p.m. Thursday and descended the plane’s stairs with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, and freshman Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, nine minutes later.

Obama was greeted on the tarmac by Mayor Eric Garcetti. He then boarded a helicopter to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, where a motorcade took him to Hollywood to tape his first appearance as president on  “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Obama is set today speak at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the focal point of a nationwide scandal over delayed care for veterans, falsified wait time data and other management failures in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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