For Oakland activist Naomi Pitcairn, money was no object in making sure she and others got to serenade President Barack Obama today -- and they did it a capella.
Pitcairn and about half a dozen other protesters unhappy about treatment of a Wikileaks suspect disrupted the Obama fundraiser this morning at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel, reports Chronicle colleague Carla Marinucci.
Pitcairn said she personally paid $76,000 for the progressive group -- which calls itself freshjuiceparty.com -- to attend the high-priced breakfast fundraiser to protest what they called inhumane treatment of Pvt. Bradley Manning, Marinucci wrote in her pool report from the event.
"Mr. President, we actually wrote you a song -- can we sing it?" one of the protesters said about five minutes into Obama's speech.
The song's lyrics included, "We paid our dues -- where's our change?" but make clear the group isn't about to back Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney.
"We'll vote for you in 2012, yes, that's true," the protesters sang, as captured in this YouTube video from the event. "Look at the Republicans -- what else can we do?"
"All right, guys," Obama told them after they finished, according to the White House transcript. "That was a nice song. You guys have much better voices than I have. OK, thank you very much, guys."
"Thank you for listening," a protester said. "We love you."
Obama seemed a bit thrown off his game, then recovered.
"Now, there's an example of creativity that we saw during the campaign," the president said to laughter before launching back into his speech.
Pitcairn was escorted out but was not arrested or cited by San Francisco police, Marinucci reports. Outside, the protesters said they had worked for Obama and voted for him but were disappointed not only with Manning's treatment, but with Obama's policies on war as well.
According to Marinucci, the group included UC Santa Cruz art professor Elizabeth Stephens, songwriter Craig Casey, activist Jane Sullivan of Santa Cruz, writer Greg Archer, and David Schiller of Berkeley, as well as organizers from Tony's Circus, all Bay Area locals.