June 15th, 2012
02:28 PM ET
9 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. Deb

    No President in the history of our country has been so disrespected. Never. And I can think of only one reason why. Can you?

    June 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Must be nice to be a Republican who works so hard to harm our country and then complains loudly about the damage they did.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice for our future

    June 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Gene Cole

    Hmmm... President Obama's actions remind me of Richard Nixon in the last days of his Presidency.

    June 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. mk045

    W was never this "rude" because those that opposed him at least had the civility to respect the office. The ignorant moron that interrupted the President insulted all Americans, not just the one the reds love to hate.

    June 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Bayousara

    NHMan, I think the President DID handle this situation. Apparently you didn't read the story. Your blahing goes on into things that this article didn't even discuss. Why not stand out in the middle of your own street and shout out what you have to say? Brainwashed by FAUX and the Big Fat Pink One.

    June 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Patricia Bee

    CNN is no showing a long enough version of the clip. The clip on livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com clearly shows the President had to stop the reporter not once but twice, so the story about "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" is just that: a story. I hope Jay Carney will make him pay, but oh so subtly.

    June 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    @NHMan: You obviously only watch Fox and listen to Limbaugh. I feel sorry for you in your ignorant, hateful bubble.

    June 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Jim in Houston

    President Obama cannot stand answering questions that do not agree with his beliefs. The people above that think this is the first president that has been heckled, they sure have short memories. Every President has been heckled at some point.

    June 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. gwill

    Can we not even agree that the president of the United States should be treated with respect as he speaks? Why the heck do even common sense things like this end up being an arguement. Whether you support the president or not you should show the office the respect that it deserves. Anyone making comments here in which you throw in politics is missing the point completely. It is possible to disagree and still show respect. Although some of the people making comments here probably don't respect anyone or anything just like Neil.

    June 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |

    Why don't you ask that clown romney a question ,the bafoon hasn't answered any questions and won't even speak to the press unless its on dope news ,fox,unfair and unbalanced, nobody even knows what he's runing on . Good luck getting elected ,all we no is if president Obama is for it your againest ,screw the American people ,and he's stalking the pres,laws againest that in most states .

    June 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. OMG

    What an idiot that Neil Munro person is.. Where is the reporting etiquette? And there is no evidence he tried to "time" or wait for the president to finish his speech. He clearly meant to embarrass the POTUS. Why am I surprised? The Repubs have brought up against the POTUS and his administration lately many things that could be handled more civilly just to embarrass Pres. Barack Obama. Just spiteful.

    June 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Kate

    There are very few actual reporters left. Mr. Munro and his ilk are journalists instead and are indeed looking to inflame and argue. A true reporter will cover a story, get the facts, ask hard questions if necessary to discern the facts, and then report them. At that point it becomes the reader or viewers prerogative to make a conclusion or create an opinion. The fact that so many 'news organizations' think we are too stupid to create our own opinion and feel the need to give us their's instead is insulting at best. This is why I never take a story from a single source and instead dig for all the facts to be able to intelligently opine on an issue.

    June 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. rs1201

    Obama is pandering to the hispanic vote by this new immigration rule. The fact that he refuses to answer questions is absurd. I guess he smells defeat in Nove 2012 and he's peessed...tough nooggies!

    June 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Steve

    After obama's decision on amnesty, he derves no respect just as his disrespects all those immigrants who worked hard, paid their fees and waited for the right to be here. This man just disgusts me. Just when I think he cannot get worse, he does.

    June 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Jbates

    What you call disrespect; I call Right to FREE SPEECH. Of course Americans need to challenge what the President says, this isn't some third world country where if you disagree with the government you get beheaded and stoned. Not everyone has to agree, not everyone has to respect the president, a lot of people don't BUT everyone has the right to express their opinions including this guy. Bravo for speaking up

    June 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. SCOTO

    Civilized educated black man versus disrespectful, white ignoramus. Look at the sneering contempt on his face.
    Disgusting that our President be subjected to this.

    June 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Alejandra

    Seriously that reporter needs to face consequences for rudely disrespecting the President of OUR United States!!!! Where was the secret service??? Who lets this man in??? He's a disgrace to JOURNALISM!!!! Pathetic excuse of a man and conservative as well.

    June 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Jack

    What a pathetic & desperate president; first he changes his position on gay marriage after consistently being opposed to it & now he rams through a new policy for immigrants in an attempt to get more votes - both acts come within months of re-election (what a coincidence) ! What's next ? Supporting legalized marriage between humans & pets to get the 'pet lovers' votes ?

    ROMNEY 2012 !!

    June 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. linefeeder

    These sniveling little shills make Obama look good, so bring em on. They must get it from Romney. If you listen closely, he always sounds s like he's whining, not debating.

    June 15, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Cheryl Jefferies

    I believe it was about a year ago, when a reporter asked him about this exact matter, Obama said: What we have now is the law. I CANNOT MAKE LAWS MYSELF. His OWN WORDS. This tyrant will do anything to win and have his way. Even if it means taking what few jobs there are (and, if there are any, it is NO thanks to him; it's IN SPITE OF HIM) away from LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS, INCLUDING LEGAL IMMIGRANTS! Congress had already voted the Dream Act down. Obama will do anything he wishes to win an election, by-pass Congress and be a dictator.

    June 15, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. travis

    Who let the teabagger in?

    June 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Alexa Lastowski

    What ever happened to plain old respect? Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or a member of a party that disagrees with Obama's policies, there still needs to be a certain level of discretion and respect toward the president of the United States. That man was completely out of line.

    June 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. not in WI

    Enough words. Vote him out! Vote him out!

    June 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Matt wrote:

    I'm sure all liberals applauded this kind of crap when Bush was president,
    Nope, they didn't. Liberals have more class than to descend to such shameless and disrespectful acts.

    They way it works is that reporters raise their hands, in silence. The POTUS points and chooses reporters to ask questions. Reporters do not simply shout at questions like they are the papparazzi chasing after a reality show star.

    June 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Jimmy

    I am so NOT a fan of our President, and even I thought this reporter showed some pretty intense disrespect, not just in his behavior. Tighten up your tie, button your shirt, comb your hair, and act like a professional. Don't look angry, don't argue. You are a reporter. Report the news, don't create it.

    June 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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