After arriving in LA at about 4:30 Pacific Time, helo’g to a landing zone in Brentwood and driving the empty freeway for a time, motorcade exited into what looked to be a predominately Latino neighborhood of West Los Angeles for an off-the-record visit to Roscoe’s. Pool had to enter from the rear, to see booths full of early-dining families stretching and craning their necks excitedly to watch POTUS, who already was at the counter ordering for himself and nearby aides, including Valerie Jarrett, Jay Carney, David Plouffe and Marvin Nicholson. With him was Representative Karen Bass, the Democrat who represents the area in the House. Our camera colleagues say POTUS ordered the No. 9, “Country Boy” – 3 wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries ($8.90, according to the menu) – among other things we couldn’t hear. He quickly moved to the cashier.
POTUS, coatless and shirt sleeves rolled, then walked to one side of the restaurant and greeted the diners in each vinyl-covered booth. After he’d shaken hands and chatted with a young African-American boy who looked to be about 10, and moved on, the boy turned to the white man he was dining with and said, “I’m never going to wash my hand again.” For minutes afterward he continued to hold his left hand aloft, fingers spread, as his eyes followed POTUS around the room as if in wonder.
It was a diverse crowd. POTUS moved to a second section, posing for cellphone photos with from one to six diners at a time, and then to a third, larger section to repeat the routine. Pool could not hear all the small talk, but it sounded just so – like small talk. One man with a woman and two children said to them, “He sounds just like he does on TV!” Later POTUS made his way to their table and the Latina girl of about 12 jumped up with a tablet for him to autograph. As the man (her father?) took a photo, he said, “If you work hard, you can be just like him.”
Earlier, after posing with two young girls while a couple, presumably the parents, took photos, POTUS congratulated the adults for having two beautiful daughters and added, “I’m big on girls.” At the next booth, a Latino man jumped up for a hug – diners nearby applauded -- while his female companion just sat there.
The pool was ushered out and onto West Pico Blvd. for a good 10-15 minutes to wait. At one point we could hear chants of “4 more years!” One aide came out with 5 styrofoam food containers, soon another came out with a carton of canned drinks, Pit Bull, and a couple minutes later, after a second round of chants, POTUS and Rep. Bass exited, each holding one plastic and one paper bag of food.
Motorcade traveled a short distance by miles, a longer one by socioeconomic standards, to a manse in Hancock Park for the first fundraiser, at the home of James and Mai Lassiter.