Obama visits San Diego for 1st time as president
LA JOLLA, Calif. - President Barack Obama came to San Diego Monday for the first time since taking office two years ago in hopes of tapping into some deep pockets to fill his campaign war chest.

The president, who was in Seattle on Sunday, arrived at MCAS Miramar aboard Air Force One just after 1:30 p.m. and stopped to greet dignitaries, Marines and families before heading to a private fundraising event at the La Jolla home of Mason and Elizabeth Phelps.

Mayor Jerry Sanders and Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, greeted Obama after he stepped down the stairs from the aircraft, and the three spoke for about three minutes.

Since his flight arrived several minutes early, the president jogged over to about 40 onlookers -- Marines and their families -- to offer greetings and shake hands. At one point, he picked up a baby dressed in a blue outfit and posed for a photograph.

San Diego resident Adrienne Tacheco said it "was an honor'' to exchange pleasantries with the president, but forgot what was said.

"I can't remember -- it's just a blur,'' Tacheco said. "I think he said 'thanks for coming.'''

Elizabeth McKinnis of San Diego said she welcomed the president to San Diego, and he responded, "It's a nice place to be.''

Obama returned to the Marine air base Monday at 4 p.m.  to fly to Los Angeles. Supporters who shelled out $250 for a ticket -- or much more for a photo opportunity with the president -- will hear Obama at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

His fundraising swing will then move to the Fig & Olive restaurant on trendy Melrose Place. Tickets for the dinner cost $17,900 per person, or $35,800 per couple, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.

Obama is scheduled to spend Monday night in Los Angeles and leave Los Angeles International Airport for Denver at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Obama was last in the Southern California in April, when he took part in three fundraisers during a roughly 18 1/2-hour visit benefiting his re- election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

In his previous campaign, he came to San Diego for a fundraiser at the Birch Aquarium in February 2007, spoke at the California Democratic Convention in April 2007 and to the National Council of La Raza annual conference in July 2008.