OLYMPIA — If you're coming to Seattle for the weekend and hoping to catch President Obama, who'll be there for just over three hours on Sunday, bring cash. Not much chance of seeing him in the flesh without it.
Obama has two campaign stops on this visit to the Puget Sound environs. He'll attend one fund-raiser at the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle. Tickets start at $100, they're expecting as many as 400 people. The Robert Cray band is playing, so if Obama's a little late — good bet, considering he's coming from another gig — there will be something to keep the crowd occupied.
First on the agenda is brunch at the Medina home of Jon Shirley, a retired Microsoft board member, where tickets go for $35,800 per couple. (Not clear if there's a discount if you go solo.) They expect 100 folks at that, so if they're all coupled up, the event would raise just under $2 million. But the campaign has to split the take with the Democratic National Committee, and actually gets the short end of the stick: Campaign rules limit an individual contribution to $5,000 per election, so the Obama campaign gets the first 5 Gs, from each person, and the DNC gets the rest, up to $30,800, which is the maximum donation allowed to a campaign committee.
So Obama could come away from Seattle with a chunk of change for the campaign. If you go to Seattle for the something other than a campaign event — like, say, the Seahawks game — you could come away with a bit of a headache for the traffic delays. They'll briefly shut down traffic between Boeing Field and Medina, and from Medina to downtown Seattle, and then from downtown to Boeing Field, to get the motorcade through. Throw that into the mix with Seahawks traffic and the fact that some stretches of road are closed or restricted for repairs, and Seattle media are already warning people of long delays and asking anyone who doesn't have to go anywhere to stay home.
It's not quite car-mageddon. Yet.