Protesters briefly disrupt Palin speech
February 11th, 2012
07:32 PM ET
2 years ago

Protesters briefly disrupt Palin speech

Washington (CNN) - Protesters chanting “mic check, mic check,” a calling card of the Occupy Wall Street movement, momentarily disrupted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as she spoke to conservative activists gathered Saturday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Yelling, “Get out of here (expletive),” Christopher Renner, a 30 year old accountant from Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, leapt from his seat inside the main ballroom and ran in the general direction of the commotion.

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Although Renner identifies himself as a conservative, a supporter of the tea party movement, and, to a lesser extent, a Republican, he said his reaction was not driven by politics or ideology.

“I’m a veteran of the Marine Corps. I served in Iraq twice, deployed there,” Renner told CNN. "I don’t remember what I said in the next five seconds. I just saw something happening...and instinct took over.”

Renner said he was trying to get close to the commotion in case the protest became a physical altercation.

Renner said he was thinking, “If they are a physical threat to somebody else, I’m going to get in between them and whatever they’re doing.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Renner was in the audience in the same ballroom when a group of national tea party leaders participated in a panel discussion about how their movement differed from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“I’ve tried to have a lot of sympathy for them,” Renner said of the liberal Occupy Wall Street movement.

“They have some valid points,” Renner said, talking about the recent government bailouts of various industries that have been perceived by many on Main Street as an injustice when many Americans are struggling.

Renner added, “Among anybody here who self-identifies with the tea party, I think you’ll find a lot of sympathy towards the Occupy movement.” But Renner added that “they lose us” by advocating for more government and for more entitlements. “We’re saying the country is being looted, let’s stop the looting. The Occupy movement is increasingly saying the country is being looted, we want some of the loot. And that’s where they’ve kind of diverged and lost [us].”

For the past few days, Occupy movement supporters have been protesting outside the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel where the CPAC meeting is being held in northwest Washington D.C. Several protestors made it inside the building on Friday and Saturday.

Renner said he arrived at the spot in the ballroom Saturday where the protesters had been “probably about five seconds” after they were escorted out by security.

When he realized the situation had been handled, he quickly returned to his seat in the ballroom and listened to the rest of Palin’s speech without incident. This is Renner’s third consecutive year attending the annual gathering of conservative activists.


Filed under: 2012 • CPAC 2012 • Sarah Palin
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Watching the incident was like watching a Neo-Nazi rally. The crowd mindlessly shouting "U-S-A" as if anybody who disagrees with them is not an American. I guess they all went to school in Texas where the First Amendment is left out of their textbooks and they claim the rich, white, man graciously gave rights to "lesser citizens". Fascists.

    February 12, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  2. Bill

    All those nutjobs in one room. Where's a good case of Legionnaires Disease when you need it?

    February 12, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  3. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The teabaggers get a dose of their own medicine.

    February 12, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  4. DENNA

    Is that a teleprompter in that photo? I thought Sarah made of President Obama's use of them. As to the Tea Party vs. the Occupy Movement, I trust Occupy more. It is not filled with overfed, self-satisfied bigots. Have you seen the Occupy Movement rallies? There are white collar professionals, blue collar workers and poor people together bringing attention to the inequities in our econonic system. The Occupy participates are young, old, employed, retired, unemployed, students. Their group covers most of America. Photos of Tea Party rallies are always overwhelmingly white and their only view is that Obama must go. I think I'd rather side with Occupy. Their supporters cover more Americans.

    February 12, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  5. AndyF

    Tea Party took the gloves off as far as any decorum when it came to stepping on other people's right to free speech during the heated Health Care Reform townhall meetings. So to Palin, well to conservatives as a whole, be prepared to have your events crashed. But unlike the Townhall meetings, conservatives will have to endure being attacked by facts, not the type of BS they spewed when they intruded on my right to free speech, especially the death panel crap idiots like Palin spread like the old manure spreader wagon she is.

    February 12, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  6. ruffruff

    Mad dog! Mad dog!

    February 12, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  7. diridi

    Republican cult, you need to stop this bad witch...

    February 12, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  8. Be_O_Be

    Renner told CNN. "I don’t remember what I said in the next five seconds. I just saw something happening...and instinct took over.”
    So instinct tells you to dive head first into unknown situation, maybe you should reread your training manual.

    February 12, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  9. GI Joe.

    She sure brings out the haters.

    February 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, where was he and the other tea people when George W. Bush was approving bills that were either far too large or not paid for like Medicare part D? Why didn't he oppose the tax cuts when we had debt to pay?

    As for his reaction to the Occupy Movement, I am glad that he does recognize their issues. I just wish he would be less ready to fight physically with them and call them names. We need more civility and respectful dialogue. I just don't see that happening (more from the conservative side than liberal).

    February 12, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. Marie MD

    I am no psychiatrist but by renner's own words . . . "I don’t remember what I said in the next five seconds. I just saw something happening...and instinct took over.”
    I think that high pitch dog whistle (but we can hear it) shrill garbage coming out of the she devil's mouth could drive anyone insane. He probably had an out of mind experience trying to block her out.
    I see that she is now quoting President Obama . . . . we are not a blue america, or a red america, blah, blah. She can't put one sentence or thought together so she continues to steal from none other than the President what she wants to convey to her party of crazies! Priceless

    February 12, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. sensible

    Bull....he's a typical loudmouth republican.....calling out 'you lie' before he knows what is happening....looking for another fight!

    February 12, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. sensible

    By attending CPAC, he shows his true colors!

    February 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. sensible

    He said.....I just saw something happening...and instinct took over.”

    Marine training....ready to kill.

    February 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
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