January 7th, 2008
09:25 PM ET
8 years ago

Protestors disrupt Obama rally

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - A group of about a dozen anti-abortion protestors interrupted one of Barack Obama's New Hampshire rallies Monday night.

The group shouted in unison, "Abortion is abomination," forcing Obama to pause in the middle of his speech.

When the noise erupted, Obama first paused and looked up into the balcony where they were standing.

"Alright," Obama said, attempting to squelch the commotion. "Alright."

The rest of the crowd soon got angry with the protestors.

"No need to boo. We appreciate [their] point," Obama said, adding that he'd be happy to talk to them afterwards but that shouting "isn't going to solve anything."

The whole incident lasted about two minutes before they were escorted out by police.

Before leaving the room, one protestor yelled, "True change is ending abortion!" Change has been a major theme of Obama's campaign.

Once the audience calmed down again, Obama said, "Let me just say this, though... Some people got organized to do that. That's part of the American tradition we are proud of."

"That's hard, too, standing in the midst of people who don't agree with you," he added.

- CNN's Chris Welch

soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. justwaitandsee

    WomanWithHope, so sad, so pathetic....What would you have him do or say.....You support Hillary because she is a woman no more no less. She has never made an decision on her own...Her decison are always based on what someone else does......And that my dear is not being a leader.......

    January 8, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. Jonathan in Chicago

    Senator Obama's response to this disruption is exactly why I am voting for him! We have had 7+ years of bully politics - we have had leaders that fear difference and conflicting views - who would prefer to curb liberties. We need leadership that preserves and protects our constitution, and has the courage of his convictions necessary to withstand the protests and arguments from opposing views. This is discourse, this is dialogue, this is the foundation of our political freedom. This, quite simply, is just some of what the true enemies of freedom and the US, fear and despise and seek to destroy with bombs and terror.

    It takes more strength of character and courage to remain true to your principles and values - to act with integrity - in the face of opposition, than to lash out or respond with anger or indignation (was President Bush demonstrating leadership when he threatened the world after 9/11 with 'either you're with us or against us'?)

    So, good on you Senator Obama. Please continue to demonstrate the strength of your character, your integrity, and your leadership.

    January 8, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Pavan Sapra

    That was an organized protest in the midst of supporters of Obama whom obviously support a womans right to choose (most of them anyways). Here in Canada, we call that real politics, the real way to get things done. We believe that the US of A needs to elect a president who will Unite, not divide, Mediate, not take sides. I think this is just a small sample of what everyone can expect from an Obama President.

    January 8, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. BR

    I happened to watch this incident on CSPAN earlier, and I have to say – it's these sorts of moments that show you whether a candidate is all talk or whether they actually believe what they say.

    This answered the question of whether Obama is the real deal or all talk.

    The fact that Obama showed respect for them while disagreeing with them, and asked the audience to allow the protesters some dignity was classy.

    It showed me that he actually believes in listening to people and bringing the unlike minded together to settle their differences with civility, no matter how different their views may be.

    January 8, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. Kyle

    Wow. What a class act. This man has what it takes to be president.

    January 8, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  6. Amanda

    Finally! A president who is willing to meet and speak with protesters! Unlike GW who never speaks with the moms of soldiers who have died for HIS war.

    January 8, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. Norm

    To WomanWithHope. Maybe there's a reason he took "your" promotion.

    January 8, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  8. Keith, Chicago

    WomanWithHope – perhaps you should display a little less bitterness and a little more hope, like your name implies 🙂

    Obama handled the incident with a lot of class, and yet again is showing why he would make a fantastic president – one that we can be proud of!

    January 8, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  9. Jarratt Willis, Nacogdoches Texas

    "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW HARD IT IS TO GET ANY THING DONE WHEN PEOPLE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU. YOU ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT………. GO GET SOME EXPERINCE FIRST.
    DON'T BE LIKE THE YOUNG GUY WHO TOOK MY PROMOTION"
    -WomanWithHope

    What does age have do to with anything? And why are you suggesting that "somebody" is stealing something that belongs to another "somebody" you fail to specify? At least he opened the table up to talk first, unlike Hillary – who goes straight for the kill, which many DEMOCRATS, Independants and Republicans alike are finding to be tasteless and of poor character.

    You know, its fine if you wanna use age and 'experience' as reasons to go after this man, but look at who you are supporting in his stead; An woman, who in calling Obama's presidency a 'risk' and in resorting to using smear tactics in N.H., is using what are essentially scare tactics to rally support around her. The same dang thing that the Republicans used against Kerry in 2004. It's ironic that she talks about being the only candidate who can withstand the Republican attack machine; she is, after all, the only candidate they have actively pursued. So it would only make sense she learn how to defend herself. The kinds of criticisms aimed at Obama are nothing compared to the attacks aimed at Hillary by the Republicans, if only because they honestly know better than to attack someone who has given them no reason for such attacks (and who, in his popularity and overwhelming public support from people from all demographics is a greater threat to THEM than Hillary ever could be). This is far more compelling when remebers how this attack machine and its members are the ones responsible for warping public opinion and producing one of the most disastrous presidency's in this nations history. The radical Republicans and Hillary want to play games with each other, and thats fine. But Obama wants to get down to the core of the issues at hand, and forego this petty tit-for-tat philosophy that has dominated washington for almost two decades now.

    Hillary may be 'experienced', but whatever she is experienced in will not bring peace. She's just too hostile. Now I am not at all doubting her ability to produce change, but if she wants to be a militant and force that change into being, then she really does need to stay in the Senate, where that kind of behavior can actually make a difference.

    It's like what Robert Kennedy said about his Senate election in 64:"Now I can go back to being ruthless". Well Hillary, you can go back to being ruthless in the Senate. But do us a favor and save some civility for the presidency.

    January 8, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  10. Dan

    WomanWithHope, I believe you misread the article/situation. Obama was referring to the fact that it was hard for the protesters to stand in the midst of the pro-Obama crowd. He was making a point that the people protesting were making their voices heard, even when unpopular to do so. I would be proud to vote for a man who wants to hear from both sides for a change.

    January 8, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  11. Vote SMART America

    Mr. Obama always manages to display such grace even in the most precarious of predicaments.

    And FYI – despite catch-phrases motivated by BIGOTRY which try to indicate otherwise (and only sway the IGNORANT) Sen Obama is an incredible INTELLECT… in fact he is a MAGMA cum laude graduate of Harvard Law. I’m not suggesting that formal education is the sole form of education or a lone determining factor, but I am underscoring that surely such a superbly
    prudent individual understands the difference between ARTICULATING change and EFFECTING it. Considering her scholar self-label and the fact that her supporters unwaveringly emphasize her purported brilliance, I thought it interesting that Hilary FAILED to earn a cum laude degree.

    Follow Iowa’s lead… they don’t have the highest literacy rate for nothing.

    Don’t be blinded by BIGOTRY… vote SMART America !!

    D, FL

    January 8, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  12. shane, Grand Junction, CO

    so a young guy took your promotion?
    Well let me say that I am a young guy who has always tried to better myself and one thing I've learned is that not everyone with experience is ready or wants to lead!! I've done a fine job in filling In. I don't know what your experience or job is so I not judging you but Obama said nothing wrong in his comment (like Rich said they were taken care of with dignity) and in fact does have enough experience to make good opinions. Im democrat but honestly there no other Democrats running for president that I would vote for.

    January 8, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  13. ijeoma

    Woman with hope you really don't sound like someone with hope..... Get this straight....The young man obviously got the promotion not because of his EXperience but because he brought change. So forget about your beef with Obama and be more open minded!!

    January 8, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  14. forestpal

    I agree with Richard. Obama kept his cool and acknowledged the right of those protesters to their opinions. But he did not yield an inch on his opinion. He just made sure the protest did not erupt into something bigger. That takes dignity and real statesmanship. LEADERSHIP.

    January 8, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  15. Mile High Girl

    "True change is ending abortion."

    The sad thing is, abortion will never end. It's a grand idea, but abortion's been around for hundreds of years (even St. Augustine wanted his lover to have an abortion, but she refused, and he later abandoned her and his son).

    We can certainly do things that will lessen the number of abortions, though; for example:
    1) abstinence and birth control education,
    2) better support and conseling for women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy,
    3) parenting teenagers with a style that is neither too autocratic nor too permissive, and
    4) higher employment rates for women in the "at-risk for unplanned pregnancy" category
    are all strategies that can lower the number of unplanned pregnancies.

    Making abortion illegal won't stop abortion, just like making murder illegal hasn't stopped homicides from taking place in America. It just allows us to punish the perpetrator if s/he is caught and is proven to have committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Making women and doctors into criminals is not some easy solution to ending abortion. We all need to work a lot harder to solve this issue, because it's much, much deeper than some anti-abortion law would fix.

    January 8, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. Zac

    Nicely handled Senator.

    January 8, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  17. cew0625

    Is that What Obama says the first time people don't agree with him — DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW HARD IT IS TO GET ANY THING DONE WHEN PEOPLE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU. YOU ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT………. GO GET SOME EXPERINCE FIRST.

    DON'T BE LIKE THE YOUNG GUY WHO TOOK MY PROMOTION.

    First off, please take off your caps lock... sounds like you are shouting, too.

    Secondly, I am sure Mr. Obama knows what it is like to deal with people that don't agree with him. He was a church organizer (activist... very similar to the abortion protesters that he faced tonight), served in the State Senate and is a member of the US Senate. I promise you he has come along folks that don't agree with him. It sounds like you are bitter about some one taking your job. I understand that frustration, but Mr. Obama was not the cause of that. In my opinion, he handled that with dignity and class, and reminded us all that while folks may not agree with each other, it is your right as an American to loudly and boldly disgree. Very similar to what I am doing with your comment.

    January 8, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. Vote SMART America

    Mr. Obama always manages to display such grace even in the most precarious of predicaments.

    FYI – Despite catch-phrases motivated by BIGOTRY which try to indicate otherwise (and only sway the IGNORANT) Sen Obama is an incredible INTELLECT… in fact he is a MAGMA cum laude graduate of Harvard Law. I’m not suggesting that formal education is the sole form of education or a lone determining factor, but I am underscoring that surely such a superbly prudent individual understands the difference between ARTICULATING change and EFFECTING it. Considering her scholar self-label and the fact that her supporters unwaveringly emphasize her purported brilliance, I thought it interesting that Hilary FAILED to earn a cum laude degree.

    Follow Iowa’s lead… they don’t have the highest literacy rate for nothing.

    Don’t be blinded by BIGOTRY… vote SMART America !!!

    D, FL

    January 8, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. Karen

    I did not like to see Obama to be president because Obama has no experience at all!

    January 8, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. SOUTHERN BELLE

    Everyone has their own personal opinion about abortion. Personally, I am against it, that is simply the Christian in me. But the woman in me does not want the government to intervene with my personal affairs. Senator Obama handled that situation very well by tactfully acknowledging them. And as far as experience goes, no one said anything about Bush. He was supposed to have experience, he was in the military, his father was President, etc., and look where that has landed us. We are in a war with no realistic end anytime soon, we(America) are so far in debt that it is a complete and utter disgrace, and no one is profitting from any of it. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE, GIVE OBAMA A CHANCE!!!

    January 8, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  21. Jonathan in Chicago

    Senator Obama's response to this disruption is exactly why I am voting for him! We have had 7+ years of bully politics — we have had leaders that fear difference and conflicting views — who would prefer to curb liberties. We need leadership that preserves and protects our constitution, and has the courage of his convictions necessary to withstand the protests and arguments from opposing views. This is discourse, this is dialogue, this is the foundation of our political freedom. This, quite simply, is just some of what the true enemies of freedom and the US, fear and despise and seek to destroy with bombs and terror.

    It takes more strength of character and courage to remain true to your principles and values — to act with integrity — in the face of opposition, than to lash out or respond with anger or indignation (was President Bush demonstrating leadership when he threatened the world after 9/11 with 'either you're with us or against us'?)

    So, good on you Senator Obama. Please continue to demonstrate the strength of your character, your integrity, and your leadership.

    January 8, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. Kelly

    Now this will be a real change!!

    The Muslim revenge! Bush took down SADAM HUSSEIN and still hunting OSAMA and the desperate Democrats will elect BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA. Is this the Islamic Republic of the USA????

    January 8, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  23. Sam

    WomanWithHope, he was talking about the protestors, not himself...

    January 8, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. Delaware Ind.

    I have finally found a candidate that I can believe in. Someone that can diffuse a situation without causing more harm than good. Although it may hurt me financially to vote for Obama – he is what America needs. Go Obama – the last few days you have won my vote...

    January 8, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  25. Robert Bell

    GW has been in the White House for 8 years – has abortion been outlawed yet?

    When are these "issue" voters going to realize they are being used?

    Abortion, Gay Marriage, the war in Iraq, whatever. The parties use the "single issue" voters to elect scoundrals.

    "Elect me and I'll legalize or outlaw __________, while at the same time stealing all your money!"

    And they fall for it every time!

    January 8, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
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