By Ken Stone
Silas Gross didn’t have to travel far to see Barack Obama again. Just to MCAS Miramar, where the World War II veteran spoke with the president a few moments before he sped off for a fundraiser.
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The Navy veteran, accompanied by his daughter, Dorothy McCray, reminded Obama of the last time they had met — at the 2010 White House Christmas party. (He recalled meeting Michelle Obama as well.)
“All I can say is he was a good president, a wonderful president,” said Gross, wearing a sharp suit and using a walker. “He did his job.”
Had Obama known that Gross lives in the Muirlands neighborhood, he might have given him a ride. Obama was headed to a La Jolla event just north of Gross’ home.
How did Gross and McCray — aided by Gunnery Sgt. Tyanna Tolson — get an invitation to see Obama come off Air Force One? Gross says his grandson, cameraman Eddie Gross, works for CNN.
The elder Gross worked as a janitor for The San Diego Union-Tribune for 33 years, he said.
Obama made what’s likely to be his final trip to San Diego as president.
Sunday night, he traveled to a reception and dinner at the La Jolla home of Christine Forester — costing $10,000 and more a ticket per person benefiting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.Obama was joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico. Also attending were San Diego-area Reps. Scott Peters (who welcomed Obama at Miramar) and Susan Davis.
At the La Jolla event, Obama called North County GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s “primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere,” according to a Union-Tribune report.
“This is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me,” he said at the event attended by Issa’s Democratic opponent, Doug Applegate. “That is the definition of chutzpah.”
About 65 people attended the event hosted by Forester, one of 35 private members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and a former vice chair of his national finance committee.
Obama also will speak at a Hillary Victory Fund reception Monday at an undisclosed private location. The event will reportedly be limited to 45 attendees, and costs $10,000 per person to co-host or $33,400 per couple to be co-chairs.
Air Force One is scheduled to depart the base Monday for a short hop to Los Angeles, White House officials said.
The president’s last trip to San Diego County was last October, when he spent just over two days in Rancho Santa Fe and played a couple of rounds of golf.
Late Sunday, the “climate change action” group SanDiego350 vowed to protest at the corner of La Jolla Shores Drive and La Jolla Farms Road from 7 a.m. to noon Monday.
“Dozens of San Diegans, including members of local Native American tribes, the California Nurses Association … will rally to call on President Obama to use his last months in office to act on climate change and keep fossil fuels in the ground by stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline permanently and not signing any new leases for oil, gas and coal extraction on federal lands,” the group said in a statement.
Earlier Sunday, the San Diego County Democratic Party issued an advisory saying some media outlets mistakenly reported that Obama would be visiting the local Democratic Party’s office in Kearny Mesa on Sunday.
“We will be hosting House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi … Monday, October 24, at 10:00 a.m. She’s visiting the Democratic Party office to cheer on volunteers working in support of Democratic candidates. That event is open to the media.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.
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