President Obama's Quick Trip to SF Draws Fire

Fundraising trip not without controversy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DCAB115
    The Nobel is nice, but it might not help President Obama advance his foreign policy agenda.

    He won't be staying long and won't be appearing in public but President Barack Obama's visit to San Francisco is not without controversy.

    Obama arrives Thursday afternoon and will head right over to the Westin St. Francis Hotel for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Convention where he's expected to pick up $2 million for the party. He will leave first thing Friday morning.

    No public appearances are scheduled, no visits to schoolchildren, no town hall meetings.

    The visit, designed to bring in cash for the party, is drawing controversy in one of the state's most liberal mainstays.

    Members of anti-war group Code Pink have been planning for Obama's visit and will use the time to express their feelings about the newest Nobel Peace Prize winner. They plan to deliver a sack full of petitions they've collected, asking the government to adopt an exit strategy from Afghanistan.

    "We're not anti-president," Code Pink local coordinator Rae Abileah said, "we just want to say 'do the will of the voters to end the war.' We will be reminding him of what we elected him to do, which is to ensure that health care is a right for all in this country and to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and do something about the illegal occupation of Palestine."

    At least one member of the group has secured a ticket for the Obama event and will try to pass along one of the petitions to the president, the Chronicle's Matier and Ross found out.

    Even though he promised a group of gay rights supporters over the weekend that he will overturn the Clinton-era "dont ask don't tell" policy of gays in the military, he's not panning to mention it in the City.

    "Who's he hiding from," LGBT activist  Gloria Nieto wonders, "is it the active LGBT community?"

    Republican Vice Chair Tom del Beccaro says his party doesn't care if the Democrats are raising money. He says the president should instead concentrate on creating jobs.

    "It's great the president is coming." del Beccaro says, "more work needs to be done in Washington, not just pushing health care reform down our throats of the voters, listening to the times."

    So, even though the visit will be short, it's not going to be a sweet one in the eyes of some of his party's most liberal members.