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.

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"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. alan

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

    June 15, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. macrasta

    the rudeness to this president... is appalling..

    June 15, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Kris Craig

    "He was doing what reporters do...."

    BS! This is a perfect example of how the radical right in this country DOES NOT UNDERSTAND JOURNALISM!

    Reporters DO ask questions. They do NOT, however, pepper those questions at the President of the United States while he's still making his opening remarks. They do NOT interrupt the President during his answer in order to convey their own opinion. They do NOT word their questions in such a manner that they're really just witlessly veiled political attacks.

    What this guy did was what tabloids and paparazzi do. The radical right seems to think that anything short of jamming their idiology down people's throats amounts to liberal bias. In other words, "You're either biased for us, or you're biased for them." The concept of neutrality is completely alien to them.

    This fake "reporter" owes an apology not just to President Obama, but also to journalists and the American people as a whole. He disgraced journalism with his behavior and disrespected the American people.

    I also hope that the White House revokes all the press credentials for that website. They've clearly demonstrated that they're not an actual news organization, but merely a political one like MoveOn.org. It disparages all legitimate journalists to seat them alongside disreputable hacks such as this.

    June 15, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Adan Texas

    Wow, The ignorance and level of disrespect that has been given to our President. Question. If this gentleman
    who interrupted President Obama, was there "covering" the speech, why were his hands in his pockets???
    He was not writing, recording or taking pictures of anything, he was just standing there almost as if he was
    waiting for "his moment". Please ask this question, Please.

    June 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Conservative Radio & TV and Pro Athletes. The two biggest reasons America is now a Nation of rude People.

    June 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. MoRav

    Typical rude inbred right wing trash.

    June 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This is just another example of what is wrong with this country. No manners, no respect. Why are we surprised?

    June 15, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Bruce

    Looks like a lot of people who are posting, have forgotten the PURPOSE of the first amendment. The president works for the people (of and for the people), not the other way around. Credentialing the press no longer makes it a free press.

    June 15, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Rudy NYC

    The parents knew what they were doing when they burdened their own children with the risk of deportation. Why should we relieve them of that risk? I know it is not the kids fault, but we need a deterrent to this type of behavior. I disagree with this policy strongly. I know it is not the kid's fault. But, it is not the taxpayers fault either. Fault lies with the parents.

    Rudy NYC I agree with 80% of what you said. I'm somwhat disappointed with this decision. However, the other 20% of me feels MAYBE just MAYBE if the republicans in Congress had cooperated just a little with our president instead of always rejecting EVERY attempt he makes to accomplish anything, this could have been handled in a different way. Illegal is illegal no matter who commits the crime and bad decisions have consequences and should not go unpunished (sadly, even if a child is involved) but with republicans intimidating voters and "suddenly" taking interest in who votes and who doesn't – maybe he's just finally had enough. Aside from that, the bigger problem is the American taxpapers (such as you and myself) who will have to foot this bill and no amount of "they can become productive citizens" is going to overcome this fact along with the timing – which couldn't be worse with the present economy – but I do hope for the sake of the president this all works out. Just my opinion.

    June 15, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Daniel

    There are certain rules of decorum and respect that accompany the President. No matter whether or not you agree with his policies. It's outrageous and disgusting what President Obama has had to endure at the hands of his conservative opposition that no other President has had to endure. It's sickening.

    June 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |

    One thing is for sure. If Obumma feels the need to hand out the nails for his political coffin, it would be rude of us all not to oblige him. VOTE THIS BUM OUT!!!!!

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

    This is just another example of what's wrong with this country. No manner and no respect. Why are we even surprised?

    June 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Craig McCluskey, Charleston, S.C.

    In 2008, I voted for President Obama, the first time ever voting for a Democrat. In my humble opinion, he has done enough to warrant re-election. In the very least, he warrants respect. This idiot who is trying to make a name for himself could not have been more disrespectful. Today, I am ashamed of the Republican machine which he is playing to. Obama is a good man. PERIOD.

    June 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. switters

    Teapublican ignorance at it's best....

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

    Even Bush got respected while in office, these conservatives have no sense of respect. They think they are the kings.

    June 15, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Yakobi

    So, why did the cameraman keep his camera trained on the reporter while Obama was answering the question?

    When was the last time Obama actually fielded reporters' questions?

    Have you all forgotten how disrespectful the press was to President Reagan when he didn't feel like answering their questions?

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

    At one point after the President addressed him directly, Munro called out, "What about American workers who are unemployed while you employ foreigners?"

    He mean with about us white workers that are unemployed.

    June 15, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. becool 1981

    D Gaston, what is a true american, please define that term...is that someone who is a 1st 2nd 3rd generation american...because besides natives your forefathers where all immigrants..

    June 15, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. vote the Tea Party Out in 2012

    Before reading this I would have bet it was a FoxNews reporter. I was close and more than likley FoxNews will hail this jerk as a hero. You can disagree with the president all you want, you have that right to do so, but show some respect and being rude is not respectful.

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. GL

    White power is over get over it. This country is a minority country now.

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Kareen

    Neil Munro needs to learn about respecting a President before he gets full time employment

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. All for none

    That's right little sheeple. Go back to your stables and let us all knowing masters handle your country. You don't need to ask questions. Just sit there and nod your heads.

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Curt

    To D. Gaston

    Go back to school. Your grammar and spelling indicates a poorly educated individual. Ever think that the illegal immigrants are doing jobs that most Americans would never consider doing? Maybe all the illegal immigrants should go on strike for a month and when the housekeeping, vegetable picking and other jobs are not done you might appreciate them more. I'am so sick of hearing that they are taking jobs from Americans.

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Bob

    Republican Latino

    oohhh Please !!! As if Democrats did not do the same


    They HAVEN'T, they DON'T, and they WON'T. We have more class than that, boy.

    YOU LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Maz San Diego

    I am so sick of people in official capacities being so publicly disrespectful of this president. These people act like snot nosed adolescents and school yard bullies. By undermining the man they are undermining the office of president, which has serious repurcussions for us all.

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