LOS ANGELES -- Between fund-raisers in California with major Democratic donors on Tuesday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama staged an outdoor rally at a park in the Crenshaw district, a humble neighborhood of homes and strip malls that's a contrast to the glitter and wealth of Beverly Hills.
The rally served several strategies:
• It was the only photo-op of the day to catch Obama. News photographers were banned from his star-filled Beverly Hills fund-raiser Tuesday night, so there were no image- management issues stemming from pictures of Obama hanging with celebrities and not "real people."
• And with a new 2008 presidential primary calendar shaping up that puts California in play, it was only prudent for Obama to start laying the groundwork for a Feb. 5 vote in a delegate-rich state. Watching the Illinois Democrat at the rally were five of the 15 members of the Los Angeles City Council whose backing Obama would welcome.