Obama says Boxer asked for 'help'

President Barack Obama flew across the country Tuesday to help an old colleague he'd once bonded with in a "foxhole."

"On every fight that needed to be fought, Barbara [Boxer] was there, standing right there next to me, and sometimes we were in a foxhole together and shots were being fired," Obama said at an evening fundraising reception in San Francisco.

"That's just a figure of speech," he added. "I don't want the Secret Service getting excited."

Ahead of the visit, Boxer called Obama and said, "I need some help," according to the president. She's expected to face a tough reelection fight against either former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) or former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R).

"When it comes to Barbara Boxer, I'm a lot like many of you, which is if she calls and she says, 'I need some help,' then we’re going to give her some help, because she has helped millions of Californians and millions of Americans all across the country," Obama said, according to a White House transcript.

But with oil still spilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the final venue for the evening's three fundraisers was notable.

After two events at the Fairmont Hotel, which were expected to raise at least $1.7 million for Boxer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Obama went to an exclusive VIP dinner at the mansion of wealthy oil heir Gordon Getty and his wife, Ann, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gordon is the son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. The event at his home required a $35,200 donation per couple.

Obama, who has been criticized for not taking a tougher approach with BP, will make a second trip to the Gulf region on Friday.