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. Two Of AKind -

    Unfortunately Obama doesn't command respect because he doesn't EARN it.

    The truth is, he is such a selfish man, he wants 100% all of the time. George Bush or Bill Clinton would have reacted with humour and respect for the questioner and turned it round – Obama gets uppity and gains nothing because he really doesn't CARE what other peole think.

    He lost ground here.

    June 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. kayla

    don't worry mr president, just show how ignorant these people are.
    si se puede again

    June 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. sharky

    I don't agree to the interruption no matter who is President. But the press also knows Obama never answers questions, he runs away, which is not good for him.

    But for those ranting over this interruption, I am sure you all cheered with glee when a shoe was thrown at Bush.

    June 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Bill

    >The Real Tom Paine - The idea that somehow, real, high-paying jobs are being taken by illegals, is ludicrous.

    You don't know what you are talking about sir. I work in the IT field and there are thousands of foreigners here as contractors (mostly Indian) taking very high paid jobs that Americans could fill. It makes me sick as I know Americans in the IT field that were laid off while these people raked in well over $100K a year, much it going back to India.

    June 15, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. robert

    what is up with the fingerpointing – how rude of the president to point – honestly, as much as there are many bush haters out there – I can not recall GW being as rude as this president....in fact the more I watch and listen to this president and the things he has said about and blamed GW for...I am starting to think this president really must think he is GOD – given the things he gets away with......WE ALL KNOW WHAT HE AND HIS ADMIN JUST DID WAS TO GET LATINOS TO VOTE FOR HIM (however this is one Latino that sees it for what it is) PANDERING and this president does not get my VOTE.

    June 15, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    @duffey, this wasn't a question and answer session, the teapublikkkan reported was out of line PERIOD!!

    June 15, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. yogi

    Anthon1, you are part of the problem. It is the way we interact and there is a place and time for civil discourse, your justification of this rude behavior sets civilization back. Enough already!
    Obama 2012

    June 15, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. TiredODaCrap

    Totally disrepecting the office of the presidency is talked about in many comments. Who has done that more over the past few years than Obama himself?? Respect can (and is) lost when you show that you do not deserve it. Just because he holds a position in our government does not mean that he has earned the respect of that position.
    Or do all of you think that those in either house of Congress or on the Supreme Court also get unlimited respect because of where their office is located, or the type of robe that they wear????

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Brian Fejer

    You have to feel sorry for the Grand Old White Party! They have not been intellectually or factually well served by the biased and powerful echo chambers of Fox News, Talk Radio, and The Drudge Report. They have no sense of reasoning or critical thinking. They have devolved. The extreme left has the same problem. What ever happened to 'Country First'? Partisans on both sides are a cancer on the Republic. As for the POTUS, he's not a socialist, the dood is a centrist.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Michael Brown

    Unprofessional? Of course. However, his point remains valid. Our nation is shipping all of our jobs overseas because it's cheaper. The death of this country will come from this issue amongst others to include illegal immigration which only furthers our decline as a nation. Sad thing is people think voting for one political party will be what fixes things. Both political parties are contributing to the death of this nation in their own ways. Also, it's not even just the government. It's the banks and corporations which have fueled the recession and began the economic crisis to begin with! Our nation has also become so shallow and indifferent to the reality of the situation. The few people who are actually intellignet and realize the severeness of the situation are almost powerless...or else they don't care because they are the ones profiting off of it all. There's no reason for me to have called up Travelocity the other evening and to get someone who is obviously not from the United States and can barely speak English well enough for me to understand. If I wanted to deal with that, i'd go back to Afghanistan where all the ANA (afghan national army) just get high all day and harass our females.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Impeach Obama... Impeach obama NOW before he usurps every last bit of power granted our elected representatives. This dictator must be stopped.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. David

    teabagheadnazilunatics surely miss the incompetence of that moron w. They prefer their leaders to be the stupid drunk next door like that moron w. They cannot stand intelligence. I didn't know they called themselves reporters at the daily call. What fools.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Johnny

    There's a right time and place to ask a question. If a press from the left had done the same to GWB, all republicans would have been up in arms, accusations of unpatriotic behavior flying, and even treason (arrested on the spot or at least hustled out of there by two or four bouncers). The right establishment is obnoxious and the left are wussies. Speak up and calmly express that this is inapropriate and unacceptable. And lets get back to our collective interests, not power grabbing and obfuscation.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Will

    Tea baggers should be HANGED for treason.

    June 15, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    Just wondering would it not be the EMPLOYER to blame if they were to hire some of these youth over as they want to say "regular Americans". They fill out resumes and applications just like the rest of us and the employer and interviewers make that decision not Obama. But then again to the right I guess it sounds better to blame Obama for it.

    June 15, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Goodtymes

    This will not help black umemployment.

    June 15, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Matt

    How do biased websites get press passes for the white house anyways?

    June 15, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Bill

    Yet another example of conservative values and the outright disrespect and beligerance of the right wing nut jobs of the GOP. The entire GOP/Tea Party belongs in another country like North Korea, Russia and/or Iran where they can successfully implement Sharia Law, legally act upon their prejudices in the name of religion and form their own dictatorship.

    June 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. pabloinbama

    kudos to that reported for calling out this pathetic leader who occupies the White House.

    June 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. anoel2005

    Obama shuts up all dissenters.

    June 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Libs Are A Disease

    This is Obama's fascist utopia where free speech is silenced and shunned. This reporter was a true American patriot trying to get the information that the liberal media will not cover. I wish we had more courageous journalists like that! Hopefully Obama won't order a drone strike on him!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Bill

    The GOP/Tea Party is as good for America as the Taliban

    June 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. chedar888

    President Obama you have all the right to not entertain any question from this punk. They should never allowed him to enter the whitehouse. Get rid of him!

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. acura2010

    Hatred men in the republican party. No other President in this country was disrepected nor challenged what these bigot doing President Obama. Hatred in your heart will destroy you. These clowns will destroy themselves.

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. TONYNYC

    Another right wing idiot, put in his place by The President..

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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