Last Thursday, the president paid a surprise visit to show his support for California State Senator Ted Lieu, a politician who is best known to pro-family activists for spearheading a bill to ban reparative therapy, and boasting that an “attack on parental rights” was the “whole point” of his bill. 

Lieu, who is now running for the U.S. House of Representatives, hopes to replace the retiring Henry Waxman, a Democrat who has held the seat for decades.

As a California state Senator from Torrance, Lieu authored a 2012 bill that would forbid minors from seeking therapy to overcome unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction, labeling the treatment “unprofessional conduct” and “therapeutic deception.”

“This is not a matter of forcing a child to do something against his or her will,” Dr. Michael Brown, the host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Line of Fire,” told LifeSiteNews at the time. “This is a matter of forbidding parents, professional therapists, and young people to have the right of choice.”

In promoting the bill, Lieu affirmed that this was, indeed, his purpose.

“The attack on parental rights is exactly the whole point of the bill,” Lieu said, “because we don’t want to let parents harm their children.”

“We have these laws to stop parents from hurting their kids,” he said. “Preventive therapy hurts children, so this bill allows us to stop parents from hurting their children.”

The bill passed the state Assembly, and Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law in the fall of 2012.

Obama made the unscheduled stop at Lieu's campaign headquarters in Venice, California, en route to a fundraiser in Brentwood. Obama encouraged the volunteers to work non-stop to put Lieu in the Capitol.

“If I'm not directly shaking your hand, you should be on the phone,” Obama said, telling them his election was based on grassroots activism like their own.

Obama joked that he and the 45-year-old legislator, who was born in Taiwan, had a lot in common, including their service as state senators. 

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Politico reports, “After reporters were led out of the room, the president shook hands and took pictures with every volunteer.”

“I was surprised and thrilled,” Lieu told the Los Angeles Times.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Politico the visit would make a big difference for the campaign. “President Obama has an unmatched ability to motivate our base so having him out here as we’re pushing early vote in California is a huge help,” 

Lieu is favored to win the heavily Democratic district.