Obama Shakes Hands Outside Piedmont Dinner

Several Piedmont residents, including children, were thrilled when the president made an unscheduled stop on Mountain Avenue to greet bystanders.

President Barack Obama arrived in Piedmont a little after 5 p.m. Monday, waving from behind the darkened windows of his limousine and delighting a group of bystanders when the car stopped, the president got out and shook the hands of several local residents, including some children.

"I'm really happy he's in Piedmont," chorused sisters Anna and Isabel Cumbelich, students at the Bentley School who shook the presidential hand. Their brother Joe, a rugby and football player who's transferring from de la Salle High School to Piedmont High this fall, also received a handshake.

The brief stop, near the home where President Obama attended a $35,800 a plate fundraising dinner, was the only close-up glimpse for Piedmonters who weren't guests at the private event. The gathering raised an estimated $2 million for the President's reelection campaign.

Security was tight for the occasion, with several blocks near the home of dinner hosts off limits to both vehicles and pedestrians. Secret Service personnel, many wearing sunglasses, were augmented by a number of Piedmont police officers and some California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County Sheriff's deputies.

Residents who lived inside the barricaded area were allowed to remain in their front yards to observe the President's arrival, while police cars led what appeared to be the vehicles of invited guests past the barricades.

Piedmonters did suffer some inconvenience from the visit. A number of drivers heading home from work were turned back, and a U.S. Postal Service carrier said he was unable to deliver mail to some homes on his route.

Still, most bystanders appeared thrilled by the President's motorcade, led by a squad of Oakland Police Department officers on motorcycles. The President rode in the second of two limousines, followed by long line of other official vehicles.

Many people brought their children — and their dogs — to see the President's arrival. They lined Highland Avenue and a stretch of Mountain Avenue below the security barricades, the route the motorcade took for the President's arrival.

The Piedmont dinner was the second of three appearances in Oakland today by the President. Earlier, he attended another small gathering of supporters at the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland, and he spoke at Oakland's Fox Theatre at 8 p.m.

Near the Scottish Rite Temple, police blocked off parts of Oak and Madison streets prior to the President's arrival. Dozens of people, including a few protesters, lined nearby streets to catch a glimpse of President Obama. Inside the Temple, the President met with about 30 supporters, who paid $35,800 apiece for tickets.

Earlier in the day, the Piedmont Fire Department responded to a call in the vicinity of the Delaney-Jordan home. However, PFD Capt. David Swan said the incident was near, but not at, the site of the fundraising dinner.

In downtown Oakland, over 100 protesters marched in the streets near the Fox Theater. Oakland police said three protesters were arrested throughout the day, including one suspected of assaulting a police officer with an air horn, and another suspected of battering an 11-year-old girl.

Obama concluded his speech shortly after 8:30 p.m. and was expected to spend the night in San Francisco before departing for Oregon and Washington in the morning.

The original version of this article ran on Piedmont Patch.

Bay City News contributed to this article.

Voter with an ID July 25, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Did these people ever recover their wallets/purses after obama shook them down?
WC-Independent July 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
It's a government by the people and for the people... if your the people that will by $35,800.00 for dinner.


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