April 20th, 2010
08:44 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama Heckled over Don't Ask Don't Tell

(CNN) - Call it another sign of the frustration by opponents of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" over President Obama's efforts to repeal the controversial military policy.

Protesters interrupted Obama's speech Monday night in Los Angeles at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and the Democratic National Committee.






As the president was praising Boxer, a fellow Democrat and three term senator who is facing a tough re-election battle this year, demonstrators in the crowd interrupted, asking Obama what he is going to do about the policy - implemented during the Clinton administration - that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the country's armed forces.

Obama, who has called on Congress to lift the ban, responded by saying: "What the young man was talking about was we need to - we need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which I agree with and which we have begun to do."

Read a transcript of the incident after the jump:

THE PRESIDENT: She's (Sen. Barbara Boxer) passionate about fighting for jobs, jobs with good wages, jobs with good benefits. She's passionate about fighting for California's families. She is -
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!"
THE PRESIDENT: We are going to do that. Hey, hold on a second, hold on a second. We are going to do that.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: Here we go. All right - guys, guys, all right. I agree, I agree, I agree. (Applause.) Now -
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no, listen. What the young man was talking about was we need to - we need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which I agree with and which we have begun to do. (Applause.) But let me say this: When you've got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you've got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don't know exactly why you've got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? (Applause.) I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it.





soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. patience.....

    To my fellow gay brother's and sisters...BE PATIENT! do you really think the President doesn't want don't ask don't tell revoked?! get a clue! it takes time! that's the problem with this country, people are way to selfish, impatient and spoiled! shut up, sit down, and wait dang it!

    April 20, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Shawn Williams

    I'm glad he's listening. Most politicians, regardless of party, would've had that heckler tasered...but still, we need to allow gays to openly serve their country YESTERDAY. If you are willing to serve, than you should be allowed to. He needs to push harder for this. I understand why he hasn't issued an executive order (if the GOP gets into power, it would be on their list to overturn), but he needs to browbeat congress and get them to pass this.

    April 20, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Jack Fl

    I say we repeal the term gay and call a homosexual a homosexual. I mean if we are going to be open and honest let's call a cat a cat and a dog a dog.

    April 20, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. JIm,VIRGINIA

    O'bama uses gays just to get their support.He throws them enough crumbs so that they want make too much noise but in the end he can always count on their votes.

    April 20, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Ryan

    Lemme guess , the comment came from a redneck. Grow up people, gays have always served in the military and hid thier status because they believed in protecting thier country and putting thier lives on the line for YOU. ALL VETERANS more than deserve your RESPECT. If that's too much for you to handle then pack your bags and go somewhere else because you don't deserve to sit at our table or the scraps that fall off it. Pigs.

    April 20, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. rdepontb

    So what was the drama? The unidentified audience member wanted to ensure this cause, gay rights, was brought up in the context of the President and press, and the President responded in a way that satisfied everyone. This must be a slow news day, when the President answers a query or concern--

    April 20, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Bobby

    "What we have begun to do." How long does this take? BHO was talking about doing this the first few days after he was in office. "Jobs, jobs,jobs". His number one priority, right? Where? Is he creating jobs at these fundraisers? Are we going to get a bunch of jobs out of turning Wall Street into another government corporation to go along with our car company, our healthcare company, and our mortgage company? This president is not serious about jobs. He is more interested in the lazy folks that will not work. Why is he not out in the private enterprise world talking to company leaders and working with them to see what we can do to create jobs? Why is he not talking to industry leaders of the world to form new partnerships for productng goods in the US that would produce jobs. This 'sit and wait and it will get better" approach is not happening this time. We do not actually have the jobs to support it. We need JOBS JOBS JOBS.

    April 20, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Stacie

    This president has done more than any other to promote equality in our society. I know some are getting impatient, but we've come a long way in 1 1/2 years. We will get this done!

    April 20, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Former Democrat

    "President Obama's efforts to repeal the controversial military policy?"

    "Efforts"?

    All the so-called Commander-in-Chief has to do is instruct his Secretary of Defense to not enforce it. End of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    Do a search for "Larry Sinclair" to learn more.

    April 20, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. j

    The debate really isn't necessary. Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be changed so that gays can server openly in the military. It's a no brainer.

    April 20, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Alex

    I have to agree with Obama - this was a case of preaching to the converted. Odds are the Party of No will put up their usual roadblocks, so the protesters should be targeting GOP events.

    April 20, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Anonymous

    This only shows people will protest for all the wrong reasons.
    This President and Senator Boxer have both opposed Don't Ask Don't Tell yet these people wasted their time disrupting a fundraiser.
    It shows even liberals have a fringe element as unimformed as the Tea Party members

    April 20, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. frank in valparaiso indiana

    Its time its repealed. We need the translators that have left the service, we're in a time of war. Society has changed. Those who can't deal with it can get out of service, though I doubt any will. There are always loudmouths in the military when push comes to shove shut up.

    Times have changed, those getting in in their 20s, no longer see the need for this.

    When it happens, it will be, what took so long.

    April 20, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Liam

    Who cares. Do something important. Treat everyone fairly but realize not everyone is always going to be happy. This is exactly why Boxer is going to be toast, history, gone – and none to soon. Have a Nice Day.

    April 20, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Thomas

    Man that audience member was a tool. Why heckle the people who agree with you??

    April 20, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I am tired of the "in-your-face" stance of preverts on this policy. They are a small minority of military personnel who are not being asked to "deny who they are" but simply are ordered to stop doing what they do while in the service. Sexual "diversity" may be the civil rights issue of the future but most normal people wish they would get a life which revolves around something more than their own peccadilloes.

    April 20, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Padraig

    He will only act on this when he can benefit from this politically.

    April 20, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Padraig

    The transcript sounds like this was staged. Again, pollitical benefit.

    April 20, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it.
    



    -------------------------------–

    Where have people's manners and common sense gone? You've got people "hollering" at the "government" for trying to take away their guns, and raising their taxes. Both points are false. These things are NOT happenning.

    Way to turn it around Mr. President! I swear, sometimes people just want to get on tv or get their picture taken screaming at the Prez.

    April 20, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Dar

    This is news?

    April 20, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Ann

    Wow, look at his eyes and his hand.. scary.. Sure, you are the good guy..

    April 20, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. geecee

    Impetuous malcontents in both parties. Obama can't do everything in his first two years in office. Please people – you have waited a long time, no doubt, give it another year or so. Just vote in 2010 for the Democrats. Don't be complacent and apathetic in the mid-terms. It is extremely important that the Democratic voters get out there and vote for their candidate!! Just Vote, and the problems will get resolved!

    April 20, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Wisconsonite

    "When you've got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you've got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don't know exactly why you've got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? (Applause.) I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it."

    That's right, Mr. President!

    April 20, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. DagnyTag

    Such stifling, blinding hypocrisy from the left. If anyone other than a lib group "heckled" 'the chosen one' (a.k.a. Baracula) we would have libs in the street gouging their eyeballs out with fear and outrage, screaming for someone's head on a platter. SUCH HYPOCRISY LIBS.

    Anyone in the center, independent, tea party, right, conservative, liberatarian, etc. We're all "angry" and "incite violence" with our "dangerous rhetoric" if we suggest that Baracula SUCKS BUTT MUD. Jobs anyone? America anyone?

    April 20, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Jerry

    Too bad these folks are not asking really hard questions.

    April 20, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
1 2 3