Opinion: Amid wannabe presidents, the real one visits L.A. today too

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The remaining field of presidential candidates are congregating in Los Angeles today for a pair of debates co-sponsored by The Times, one for the Republicans tonight at the Reagan Library and one Thursday at the Kodak Theatre for the Democrats. (Both debates will be streamed live here starting at 5 p.m. Pacific.)

Meanwhile, this morning the sitting President Bush flies into LAX for an almost full day’s visit in and around the airport. Actually, he’ll be the standing president by the time he disembarks Air Force One.

Bush, by the way, did surprisingly well in collecting an audience for his final scheduled State of the Union address Monday night, which was carried live on nine TV networks to an average audience of 37.5 million people, according to ratings released Tuesday. Then again, there wasn’t much else on.

Today, Bush will present Volunteer Service Awards to Marni and Berni Barta, a pair of students from Harvard-Westlake School who founded Kid Flicks to collect new and used DVDs to donate to hospitals and pediatric departments across the country.


Bush will also visit Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance to discuss the economy and trade issues.

He’ll be gone by mid-afternoon to avoid the rush hour. And the debates among those folks who would like to succeed him.

-- Andrew Malcolm