June 15th, 2012
02:28 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama to interrupter: 'I didn't ask for an argument'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama did not respond kindly Friday to an interruption during his Rose Garden announcement of new immigration rules, telling the man shouting that it was neither the time nor the place to field questions.

The reporter, who was wearing a temporary press badge, was identified as Neil Munro from the conservative website the Daily Caller. He later told CNN, "I have to ask the questions you all won't ask," referring to the reporters gathered who regularly cover the White House.

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"Excuse me sir, it is not the right time for questions sir," Obama said as Munro shouted questions. "Not while I'm speaking."

"The next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask your question," Obama said later in his remarks. "I didn't ask for an argument, I'm answering your question."

Munro asked Obama, "What about American workers who are unemployed while you employ foreigners," suggesting the policy change would lead to the employment of illegal immigrants.

Immigration shift sparks reaction from both sides

"Here's the reason: because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society," Obama replied at the end of his remarks. "I've got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom. The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense. If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that's the right thing to do."

When the president finished his comments, he turned and headed back into the Oval Office ignoring any further questions.

In statements published together, representatives for the Daily Caller portrayed the incident in several ways. Munro wrote that he miscalculated the ending of Obama's speech, while the site's editor-in-chief and publisher praised their reporter for his dogged attempt at an answer.

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"I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president," Munro wrote. "I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States. I know he rarely takes questions before walking away from the podium. When I asked the question as he finished his speech, he turned his back on the many reporters, and walked away while I and at least one other reporter asked questions."

Tucker Carlson, the conservative cable news pundit who in the Daily Caller's editor-in-chief, said his organization was proud of Munro.

"A reporter's job is to ask questions and get answers. Our job is to find out what the federal government is up to. Politicians often don't want to tell us. A good reporter gets the story. We're proud of Neil Munro," Carlson wrote.

Obama interrupted: Disrespectful or latest in 'era of incivility'?

The Daily Caller's publisher said Munro's questioning was not intended to be "heckling."

"The President today announced a very controversial policy and does not want to answer tough questions about it," Neil Patel wrote. "Neil Munro is a veteran Washington reporter who today tried his best to time his question to be first as the President was wrapping up his remarks. He in no way meant to heckle the President of the United States."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. Mitch

    To 'D. Gaston' and your comment: These illegal immigrants takes away from the economy with billions of dollars sent back to there countries. That's billions of dollars that is not in circulation in the US, less taxes collected, less sales for stores and less american workers with jobs. Now interchange the words "illegal immigrants" with the top %1 and 'there' with 'other countries' like switzerland or singapore bank accounts. Amazing isn't it?

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. jnpa

    How rude! That reporter is a total and complete fool. It just goes to show what the GOP is all about these days. To show such disrepect for the President of the United States is shameful. The audacity of that man. Nichole Roeberg of the Daily Center said he was just doing what reporters do...WRONG NICOLE! Think again....that is NOT was someone does the President. Sorry, you have it wrong!

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Sailor101

    Very bad form on the reporter's part, but a very valid question. The President is a sleeze bag but don't drop to his level in order to point it out.

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Moderate Independent

    I was watching CNN when the jerk did this. Some people have no respect for anyone, he was so unprofessional. I hope he is not allowed near the President again. There are some people in this country that are uncivilized and it has nothing to do with free speech.
    @D. Gaston: not many of us want the dirty low paying jobs that illegal immigrants do. Ask Romney why he, his father or sons never served in the military.

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. TeaPartyPat

    Kudos to the reporter for calling Barry Soetoro out on his blatant lie! Expect 30 million Mexicans to flood the border now to get their amnesty. And these illegals are now eligible for Obamacare ("You Lie!", remember?)

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. jeff george

    These wingnuts recognize no depths to which they won't sink. Daily Caller is not a real media outlet to begin with. And D. Gaston, if you're worried about a job, perhaps it would help if you weren't functionally illiterate. I rarely read such pathetically written posts.

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Right Wing don’t have any class

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. CAL USA

    He was only following the model laid out by Bill O'Reilly when he interviewed the President in the White House and repeatedly interrupted him. These people are not journalists. They are propagandists, in the spirit of Joseph Goebbels...

    June 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. becool 1981

    D gaston...and Gaston is french by the way, so if that is your real name ...shut the hell up because you, your parents or grandparent where immigrants not too long ago, blame yourself if you cant find a job, not 12 years olds that where born here or had no choice in thematter

    June 15, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Bob the Janitor

    It's time to impeach this clown for setting a policy in direct violation of American law that was duly passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by a president.

    Who does he think he is???? Next thing you know, he'll be using the military to spy on private citizens...wait a minute, he is already doing that with drone aircraft. When will it end???

    VOTE NOBAMA IN 2012!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Moderate Independent

    I was watching CNN when the jerk did this. Some people have no respect for anyone, He was so unprofessional. I hope he is not allowed near the President again.

    June 15, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Celeste

    Neil Munro should have been slapped and kicked out! These guys need their disrespectful teeth knocked out!

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Independent

    "What about American workers who are unemployed while you employ foreigners?"

    That's called outsourcing. And it's a key tenet of the Republican base- sending jobs offshore. Get your parties right.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. SokrMom

    Even Bush got respect, and he was a liar and an idiot.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Drew

    Full disclosure: I'm a young conservative. But antics like this are what turns off the majority of independents to either party. The word here is RESPECT. We all should have respect for the office, respect for our leaders, respect for our bosses, respect for our elders. Politics like this is ridiculous and is not how to get things done in Washington, regardless of what party you're on... and both parties are very guilty of it.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. GL

    alan

    you have to earn respect;;obama has not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why because Obama is black. You are just mad that White power is over.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Greenspam

    I don't mind reporters asking questions, but heckling is just rude, and heckling the President of the USA is very very rude. Such disrespect for the office of the Presidency. BTW, Daily Caller is a right-wing website, so that explains why reporters are so rude.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Debby

    The guy was a rude jerk. He could have let Obama speak and then blurt out the question.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Carl Haberl

    How dare this loudmouth interrupt the POTUS as he makes an important policy statement! The right wing has absolutely no respect for President Obama or the high office he holds. Obama handled the situation firmly and cooly. Had this been Bush, we would have watched the Secret Service drag the guy away. When will we finally be free of the haters? Perhaps after the President is re-elected and serves an additional 4 year term... He will have the solid vote of Latinos who see Mitt Romney's plan for "self deportation" as crazy and out of touch...much like the cardboard candidate himself.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. California

    Democrats showing their anarchy as usual. Ignore laws is what democrats do best.

    June 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Sailor101

    Very bad form on the reporter's part, but a very valid question. The President is not a good person but don't drop to his level in order to point it out.

    June 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. juncospuertorro

    @ D. Gaston. The issue here is the rudness of this so called reporter. You keep talking about the need for jobs and how immigrants have taken said jobs from true Americans. I assume you mean Native Americans, because at one point or another all our ancesters were illegal immigrants in this country and they took it from the natives. Having said that, the immigrants are the ones that perform the jobs that some Americans will not. If you don't believe me ask any landscaper.

    June 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. betterdays

    Ok, this is rude, but when Bush had a shoe thrown at him, that was funny. I get it.

    Hey, where are all the comments about how nearly everyone here is "illegal" because Europeans took the land from the natives? You do realize that many natives retaliated with arrows, knives, tomahawks and any other weapons at their disposal. Is that what we should do now? Attempt to slaughter the invaders? Is that the moral high ground? Because if not, then the argument doesn't hold water.

    June 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. a ased

    Politics at play – BIG TIME.

    June 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. PTBarnumboy

    But another example of the lack of civility and decency beging offered up by the rabid right wing. What's next?

    June 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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