Oil pipeline protesters to greet Obama in San Francisco


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When President Obama arrives Tuesday at San Francisco’s W Hotel for a fundraiser, he may see some familiar faces from his 2008 campaign -- but they won’t be friendly ones.

Several hundred former ardent supporters of the president are expected to attend a rally opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring Canadian tar sands oil through the U.S. heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. The State Department is expected to soon issue a decision on whether to permit the conduit.


The rally, organized by CREDO Action, is a bellwether for the reelection dissatisfaction Obama could face among those who voted for him based on his environmental promises, a number of which have crumbled since he took office -- including the demise of cap-and-trade legislation and the postponement of major air regulations.

“The Bay Area and Northern California were huge sources of grass-roots donations and energy for the Obama campaign in 2008,’ said CREDO Action campaign manager Elijah Zarlin, a former author of the Obama campaign’s fundraising emails who is organizing the rally. ‘If he wants these people back strongly for him in 2012, he needs to hear us on this and seize this opportunity to lead. This is a great opportunity to deliver this important message directly to the president, and to his high-dollar donors who are in a unique position to talk to the president about this issue.’

Rally attendees are planning to use the call of ‘Yes You Can,’ a twist on Obama’s 2008 campaign motto, to suggest that the president can reject the Keystone application and fulfill his promise to end ‘the tyranny of oil,’ as he said during his first White House campaign.

There’s no word yet on how close the protesters will be allowed to get to the president or his supporters, who will be paying $7,500 apiece to attend the dinner.

‘The Keystone pipeline is a desperate attempt to maintain our disastrous reliance on fossil fuels that will be essentially ‘game over’ for climate, which is exactly what President Obama ran against in 2008,” said Becky Bond, political director of CREDO Action. ‘The corruption and conflict of interest that we’ve seen in the State Department’s handling of the review process are exactly the type of insider, closed-door cronyism that President Obama said he would change.’


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-- Geoff Mohan