Last night, it was Michelle Obama shunning the hostile and dangerous territory of South Carolina.
The White House’s fear of protests from Code Pink and other left-wingers has put the brakes on President Obama making any public appearances during his visit to San Francisco this week.
Obama is scheduled to parachute into Liberalville on Thursday afternoon and pick up a cool $2 million for the Democratic Party at a fundraiser at the St. Francis Hotel – then spend the night, before checking out early the next morning and heading to Houston for a community service forum hosted by former President George H.W. Bush.
The St. Francis event is about all the public will see of him here. Concerns about big and loud protests over the war in Afghanistan, the prohibition on open gays and lesbians in the military and other issues have squelched any thought of a trip to a local school or high-tech manufacturing plant that often accompanies such visits, said a source involved in the planning.
“You’re always sensitive about having your San Francisco moment here,” said former White House spinmeister Chris Lehane.
He still recalls a news conference he organized here in 2000 for then-presidential candidate Al Gore. It turned into a near-disaster when a “transvestite kept asking if he would support public funding for sex changes.”
“No matter how you answered, you get in trouble,” Lehane said.
Run, Barack, run!