President Obama was met with protests from two groups with starkly opposing ideologies on the war as he prepared to head into his only scheduled fundraiser in San Francisco on Friday afternoon.
The chants ranged from “Stop ISIS, save Kobani” to “Obama, Obama, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” as the opposing groups chimed in together in hopes of getting their messages across to POTUS.
At the W Hotel in the South Market Street area, Obama addressed a partisan crowd consisting of approximately 200 Democrats in a 15-minutes speech that blamed Republicans for inhibiting his efforts to rev up the economy and help working families.
San Francisco residents opposed to the war, including a group of Code Pinkers, shouted over a loudspeaker their disapproval and disappointment with how Obama has handled the situation in the Middle East. Code Pink members held up signs which read “stop killer drones” and “peace,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A replica drone was reportedly even set up by the protesters.
“I expected Obama to be a peaceful person,” said Nancy Manicas, 44, who was accompanied by Bobbie Raymond, 86. Both individuals told the Chronicle that they have been part of the antiwar Code Pink group since 2003. “We’re here to tell Obama to stop the war, stop the killings and violence. It’s immoral and wrong,” Mancias said.
Code Pink was created in 2002 to protest against the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq. On their website, the group writes, “The name CODEPINK plays on the former Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signaled terrorist threats. While Bush’s color-coded alerts were based on fear and were used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for people to ‘wage peace.'”
The Obama Administration has faced equal, if not greater, disapproval of President Obama’s decision to prematurely withdraw troops from the highly-volatile region. Many have blamed the growing prowess of Islamic Jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State) on the vacuum that was created as a result of the withdrawal. “We’re here to protest the military presence back in Iraq, and we are outraged at the use of killer drones in countries we aren’t even at war with,” Mancias said to the Chronicle.
Posters of Gwyneth Paltrow being depicted as an “Obama Drone” surfaced in Los Angeles ahead of a fundraiser the actress held at her home for the president on Thursday evening.
On the opposite side of the of the street from the antiwar protesters stood a group that disapproved of President Obama’s slow-moving and insufficient efforts with regard to ISIS’s spread in the Middle East. “Stop ISIS, save Kobani,” were chanted while holding up signs that read “Stop Kurdish Massacre,” the Chronicle notes.
The battle for the Syrian border town of Kobani has been strategic in the aerial bombardment efforts aimed at rolling back and eventually destroying the extremist ISIS group. It has also strained ties between Washington and Ankara over the long-term U.S. strategy in Syria.
Meanwhile, inside the W Hotel, President Obama was apparently met with some disapproval even within the confines of a safely-Democratic haven, as he reportedly told his group of supporters “don’t boo…vote,” the Chronicle notes. Many Democrats seeking election in “unsafe” districts have been distancing themselves from the president lately, out of fear he might hurt their chances.
He repeated the same message he’s been giving his party since almost the beginning of his second term as POTUS, in which he said Democrats have a “congenital problem” (prior to that he had called it a “congenital disease”) of a failure to turn out for midterm elections.
“It’s nice that some of you took a picture with me; I’m glad to do it,” Obama said to those who had paid $5,000 to take a snapshot with the Commander in Chief. “But the main thing I need right now is votes.”