President Barack Obama was in San Jose Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but you most likely missed him.
Obama, making his first event appearance in San Jose since he announced he was running for president four-and-a-half years ago, had a $35,800-a-head roundtable event with the Asian-American/Pacific Islander community Thursday at the Fairmont San Jose downtown.
With all 20 participants paying full price, the San Jose event would have raised $716,000. His campaign wouldn't disclose what was talked about during the closed-door event.
It followed two fundraising events in Atherton and Redwood City Wednesday night after he arrived at Moffett Air Field in Mountain View, though it was unclear exactly how much Obama garnered for his re-election campaign and other Democrats during his entire 16-hour stay in Silicon Valley.
A bunch of joggers and business people walking through Plaza de Cesar Chavez park, next to the hotel, stopped to take pictures of the Secret Service and Obama's huge entourage. But there weren't any protesters, sign holders or well wishers during the morning event at the Fairmont, where Obama had spent the night after his motorcade slipped into the basement of the hotel about 11 p.m.
The impressive, quick-moving motorcade that left after the event was a bit of a hit, however: A few dozen people corralled into the center plaza to wave and cheer on Obama and take videos with their cellphones. Chefs, restaurant
In a flash, it was over.
Just before the 8:30 a.m. event, some people just walked on through the area outside as if nothing was happening. And anyone who could get through a metal detector could enter the grand lobby of the hotel, but not much farther -- unless they had a hotel room key or dared to confront intimidating-looking security guards.
Inside the elegant hotel, guests checked in, sipped coffee and worked on their laptops next to Secret Service agents.
The lack of attention was probably due to the fact that Obama's re-election campaign moved the event Wednesday from a Palo Alto hotel to the Fairmont. In addition, the event was closed to the public and press, so there was little to no chance anyone could catch a glimpse of Obama without a badge or seriously deep pockets.
There were, however, dozens and dozens of cops, lots of traffic congestion and several streets shut down around the busy financial corridor during rush hour. The California Highway Patrol and K-9 units helped San Jose police patrol the park, streets and nearby freeway ramps.
After the event ended just a bit behind schedule, the president's motorcade, including black town cars and SUVs, whisked up a closed Highway 101 to Moffett, where Air Force One was waiting.
In the shadow of a stripped-down Hangar One, there were police atop the flight operations building with binoculars, close enough to yell hello to air traffic controllers. Many, many more police officers, Secret Service agents, Moffett emergency vehicles and aides waited.
Obama arrived just a few minutes late, at 10:09 a.m., jogged up the massive plane's steps, turned and waved to a small group of journalists, flashing his trademark smile. And with that, he was gone. Air Force One began rolling at 10:16 a.m. and was in the air at 10:20 a.m.
Next stop for the president: a grass-roots event in Iowa.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/rosenberg17.