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Obama visit rattles Corona del Mar

About 170 supporters attended private breakfast fundraiser, while protesters and fans crowded intersections along East Coast Highway.

February 16, 2012|By Mike Reicher
  • Holding a life-sized cuttout, Ilese Baeck, left, and Beverly Loney, come out to support President Obama's visit to Orange County for a fundraising breakfast as they joined hundreds of others on East Coast Highway and Seaward Road in Corona Del Mar.
Holding a life-sized cuttout, Ilese Baeck, left, and… (Don Leach, Daily…)

President Obama swept through Corona del Mar on Thursday morning, raking in at least hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters while rattling the sleepy village.

Obama protesters and fans crowded intersections along East Coast Highway, near the entrance to the tony Shore Cliffs neighborhood, the site of a private breakfast fundraiser.

Police said the event went smoothly, thanks in part to their heavy presence controlling traffic and crowds.

People, dogs and a horse named Sinatra started arriving about 6 a.m. at the intersections between Morning Canyon Road and Poppy Avenue.

The scene was distinctly Southern California, as officers tied tape around palm trees to hold back friendly but politically opposed groups.

As the morning progressed, a few exchanges escalated into yelling matches. Chants of "Four more years" were met with "No more years."

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The president's motorcade entered the neighborhood about 9 a.m. Black Chevy Suburbans brought Obama to the home of hosts Jeff and Nancy Stack, a real estate developer and philanthropist, respectively.

About 170 supporters gathered under a white tent, according to a pool report from the Washington Post.

The couple's sprawling yard overlooks Little Corona Beach.

Obama greeted the most generous donors inside, and then addressed the rest of the group seated at tables in the backyard. Tickets to the breakfast ranged from $2,500 to $35,800 each.

"It was unbelievable. He really left me speechless," said Christina Lowry, 21, a UCLA senior who grew up in Newport Beach and attended with her mother, Jill Manly. "He had such a realistic, yet optimistic view of the world."

While Obama praised the economy's gains, he said he had much work left to accomplish, according to the Post report. He discussed closing the debt and reducing the deficit in a fair and balanced way.

"So even as we were grappling with this enormous economic crisis, we did not forget those challenges that led us to start that campaign in 2008 in the first place," Obama said.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) attended, but it is unclear whether any Newport Beach-area politicians attended.

The president's campaigning bothered some outside who raised signs like "Impeach Obama" and the yellow Tea Party banner "Don't Tread on Me."

Some said he was wasting tax dollars to attend a fundraiser, inconveniencing residents along the way.

John Wayne Airport air travel was restricted, as the Marine One helicopter convoy flew in and out, eventually departing about 11 a.m.

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