June 15th, 2012
02:28 PM ET
11 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.

- Romney: Obama immigration move makes long term fix harder

"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. MCJNY

    Trolling has jumped the shark from the net to presidential addresses. The bar is so low now for "journalism" that we will need to really re-evaluate what the word actually means and what it entails. While other no skill/low skill job hunters have trouble finding work, the conservative blogger has been quite busy. Not finding the truth but making sure that the factual and complete data is not going to be shown. Every time, I ask a romney or republican supporter what did they do for you to earn your vote, that don't talk about republicans, it's all about obama. If you don't have a job today, it's not obama's responsibility to get you the skillsets to be employed, it's YOURS. So vote for romney, get the president who looks the part and let's see how your poor job skills and training magically become no problem at all.

    June 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. GMAT74

    Is this person also representing the KKK for highway clean up?

    June 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. cedarrapids

    "NHMan – Even a second rate stand up comic knows how to deal with hecklers. This just tells me our President can't deal with situations that aren't scripted"

    He is the president, he shouldnt have to deal with hecklers. Respect should be shown for the office.

    June 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Reload

    Yes, it's time to make all illegals legal. Why? It's just about election time and Obama wants them to vote. Obama.....The Santa Claus president.

    June 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Alejandra

    This is just like Gov of Arizona waving her finger at the Presidents Face.....tisk tisk tisk c'mon people can't you have common courtesy and decency for our president???! Obama took it well and stood his ground. Put that bigoted "reporter"in his place.

    June 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Expat American

    Incidents like these really get the Conservative Bigots into a froth at the mouth frenzy…so much that they need to go to their “Whites Only’ washrooms and change their pink tweed slacks.

    It’s like they don’t even realize that in 20-25 years, Conservatives will be a forgotten, marginalized minority in the country who will have to beg for jobs mowing the grass of Wealthy Liberal Muslim Americans.

    Enjoy your day in the sun while you can Daily Caller Brain Dead Drones!!!!

    June 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Kris Craig

    Ok guys, we need to make something clear: Not ONCE did a liberal reporter ever, EVER interrupt Bush during a press conference as this right-wing reporter did to President Obama today. So those of you who keep making the, "Well ya guys did the same thing to Bush" excuse, you're just plain wrong. We did not.

    June 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Kris Craig

    The difference between us is that we actually respect the office regardless of whether or not we respect the man. You guys, on the other hand, will disrespect the office if you don't like the man sitting in it. That's just a sign of your own collective lack of intellectual and emotional maturity.

    June 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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