Barack Obama has landed in our Washington for his first second-term visit as President of the United States, after a flight lasting a little less than five hours from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. As with past visits to our state, the President has no public or official events scheduled, just fundraisers for the DNC and the DCCC, making this just the latest in a series of cash ‘n dash visits.
Unusually, Air Force One touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport instead of Boeing Field, which meant normal operations had to be temporarily paused until the President was off and away in his motorcade. The President emerged from the distinctively-painted Boeing 747 he usually travles in to decidedly nicer weather than what he left behind, as recounted in the pool report:
Air Force One touched down at 4:16 Pacific Time in Seattle, and the President gave a little wave as he walked out of the plane twelve minutes later. The sunset casting a pink glow on Mount Ranier, combined with the relatively balmy fifty degree temperature, made it feel downright tropical compared to that frigid other Washington the president just came from.
We’re en route to the first fundraiser, for the DNC, at a private residence. Expected drive about half an hour.
The President’s first stop will be the home of Tom and Sonya Campion. The event they are hosting will benefit the Democratic National Committee. Around thirty supporters attended, contributing up to $32,400.
Tom Campion is the co-founder of Zumiez, which sells apparel primarily to young people. Aside from being major Democratic donors, Tom and Sonya are also philanthropists and champions of environmental protection. Tom serves on the boards of the Alaska Wilderness League and Conservation Northwest; while Sonya serves on the boards of Seattle-King-Snohomish County YWCA, Whitman College Board of Overseers and Funders Together to End Homelessness.
The President’s second stop will be at the home of Jon Shirley in Medina. This event will benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The White House has indicated it will make available a transcript of the president’s remarks at this event, and reporters will be allowed inside for just that part.
The event at the Campions’ is closed press and no transcript is expected to be made available of the President’s conversation with DNC donors.
SR 520’s Evergreen Point Floating Bridge is expected to be closed by mid-evening so that the presidential motorcade can make it over to Medina for the 7:10 PM DCCC fundraiser. Following this event, the President will return to Seattle and spend the night at the Westin, where he has stayed before.
The President will depart for San Francisco tomorrow at 8:50 AM. His motorcade will be on the road during the 7 AM and 8 AM hours.
If you commute to work on I‑5 or SR 99⁄509 between Seatac/Des Moines and Seattle on weekday mornings, be aware that traffic tomorrow could be snarled, as one of those highways is almost certain to be closed so that the President’s motorcade can get back to Sea-Tac Airport. Traffic will probably also be worse than usual on other highways too due to the domino effect caused by the closure.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM: KIRO just aired a report on the president’s visit. The network’s Chris Legeros reported that many people watching from the windows clapped as Air Force One touched down and snapped pictures.
Legeros asked a few people if they were bothered by the flight delays but apparently no one was upset. One man said he had taken video of the landing and planned to do some work on his laptop before boarding his delayed flight. Another man showed Legeros the pictures he’d taken through the windows with his Canon DSLR, saying he’d never been so close to Air Force One.