Barack Obama's visit Wednesday to the Orange County Fairgrounds will mark his first visit to Southern California since becoming president, the first visit by a seated president to the facilities more prone to hosting gun shows, swap meets and regurgitated cotton candy stains beneath Tilt-o-Wheels, and the first local event in recent memory to draw the attention of the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China.
What began as the Red China News Agency in 1931, before switching to its current name the Xinhua News Agency in 1937 (goddamn focus groups), today carries the story "Thousands Wait for Tickets to See Obama at California Event" on the World page of its website. Perhaps it is a sign of how homogenized news coverage has become (or my own inability inbred at an American journalism school to spot Communist spin between the lines), but the story credited only to the news agency and editor Mu Xuequan is a straight-forward read.
Then again, the Chinese should be as much if not more interested in what at least Xinhua's English-language readers learn Obama is coming to the Costa Mesa town hall to sell: his economic stimulus plan. After all, China holds a lot of our debt and they more than anyone want Americans buying their crap (lead-loaded and otherwise) again.
Xinhua's piece is nuanced enough to note Orange County is a surprising locale given it is traditionally Republican country. Democratic Foundation of Orange County chairman Wylie Aitken -- or Comrade Aitken, to the Red Chinese -- is even quoted saying Obama (Comrade Obama) delivering his economic talk in what the news service describes as "an upper-middle class suburban enclave" plays well to a national audience.
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"If he went to Los Angeles or San Francisco, it would be seen as preaching to the choir," Aitken says. "Orange County would be thought of as a place that's very hostile to him, but it will be very welcoming to him."
(Especially if they bus in a bunch of Democrats from Los Angeles, as they routinely do to such events behind the you-know-which colored curtain.)
As would any American-made piece of hard news, Xinhua's story puts it all in perspective by the end, tossing in the requisite mindless pop-culture references. Steve Beazley, CEO of the fairgrounds, says, "This almost looks like tickets are going on sale for U2." (As if the fair has ever hosted rock bands of that caliber. It would have been more accurate to say, "Damn, there's waaaaay more people waiting for these tickets than for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.") The story's final nod goes to another historic part of Obama's two-day SoCal swing: a first-ever appearance by a sitting president on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Yeah, just try explaining Stuttering John to the Reds.