June 15th, 2012
02:28 PM ET
8 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. Wvazoe

    Right wingers are so freaking rude and never listen. I do not know how they sleep. What kind of soul thinks it is ok to disrespect our President?!!

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. TeaPartyPat

    Kudos to Neil Monroe!

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

    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 attac

    The racist tea baggers are single handily taking down the whole Republicans party. Racist is a disease that can not be cured.

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    At least the President come back with bs like sanatorium did.
    Sonthe teapublikkkans now have press hecklers Nd the bishop's bus stalking Obama at his events.
    Stay classy rethugs!. Good manners are NOT part of these peopled.

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Moby49

    Ignorant action is the best description. Totally disrespected the office of President. He is not a reporter, he is a heckler.

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. anthon1

    Sure lets completely ignore his question. Yeah, how rude. How dare the reporter go OFF SCRIPT and not let the President Blatantly Campaign for the minority vote. Lets not interrupt while the President BYPASSES the Legislative branch. In fact, I think all the Congressmen and Senators who voted against the dream act should also apologize to the President. How dare they go against his wishes. (All Sarcasm aside. Why are you hung up on this clear breach of protocol when the real story is slapping you in the face. Are you that closed minded that you won't even consider having that discussion?)

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. kevin

    Time for a civil war! There will be no compromise, no peace or prosperity as long as this deviciveness goes on. Draw the lines. South...Don't make us come down there again!" signed North

    June 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    Perhaps it would have been preferable for one of the Secret Service agents to approach the NeoCon "reporter" (plant), and slam him in the face with a 2X4. This is the only "language" the worthless NeoCons understand, and I'm sure he would have gotten the point.

    June 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. pkfops

    Staged GOP publicity stunt.

    June 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Dave

    and the Tea bag cult foists another moron forward. The idea is to interrupt or shout down any one the Conservadrones do not like. It's a not so subtle tactic to attempt to discredit the speaker. Voters attention spans are short, and the news will catch their attention MORE from a vocal confrontation that from an easily delivered speech. Tell the Republicants to STOP playing you.

    June 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Dennis

    What has happened to this country? Is there no respect for the President? or the office? It doesn't matter what political party you aspire to. At least these idiots should show courtesy and respect. I hope the White House doesn't let this monkey back on the grounds again.

    June 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Mike

    Is a kid who lives in a drug house eats from drug money is clothed from drug money and is given a chance to make it from a drug run household a criminal?

    June 15, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Nuihc

    All this will do is create more animosity toward latinos, whether they are legal americans or illegal alien invaders.

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

    Simply unbelievable the disrespect. Nothing else needs to be said.

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

    The SOB should be fired. He probably won't be, and there will be those who applaud his rudeness, but interupting a speech to shout out his "question" (really a political statement voicing disagreement thinly veiled as a question) is the height of incivility.

    June 15, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    The sad thing is that a large percentage of people who emmigrated to this country in the late 19th and early 20th century were people who came here, worked for a period of time, sent money overseas, then emmigrated BACK to their countries of origin. This is nothing new. The idea that somehow, real, high-paying jobs are being taken by illegals, is ludicrous. Have any of you recommended to your unemployed family members they take day laborer jobs, or work in a field picking vegetables? Of course not. THOSE are the jobs typically being taken by illegals, the jobs we don't want but expect to be done by someone. The righties will never stoop to doing that themselves, but will hound those who do. As far as this jackwagon who interrupted the president, if it had been done by a left-wing journalist he would have been tasered and the footage run repeatedly on FOX for sheer laughs. Righties are proving what an arrogant buck of sanctomonious clods they really are by encouraging this kind of idiotic behavior.

    June 15, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. anoel2005

    Obama shuts up any and all dissenters. He calls that Democracy.

    Remember when he said to John McCain...."John, the election is over, I WON ! "

    November can't come soon enough.

    June 15, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. duffey

    This is a democracy. I don't agree with the reporters manners; however he should not be cencured.

    June 15, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Virginia

    Everybody in this country ought to remember first and foremost that WE were the original unwanted immigrants to this country. While as a Democrat I would greatly prefer a more stringent immigrant policy moving forward, to punish children who had little to no input or choice regarding where they were going or how they got there... I can understand and am sympathetic regarding this policy. The greater issue is how to curb the ongoing flow of illegal immigrants in the future while improving overall employment rates for everyone.

    June 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. we need a republican senate

    Illegal is illegal.

    What part of the statement doesn't President Obama understand?

    Romney should reverse this on day one of his presidency.

    ROMNEY 2012

    June 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Doc

    "I have to ask the questions you all won't ask."

    Fine, but you don't have to be a rude, belligerent, disrespectful buffoon when you do it. Where in name of everything kind and good did manners go in this country?

    June 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Nuihc


    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ohhh the irony!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. neil

    What percentage of illegals are contributing to this society and what percentage are on streets selling dope?

    June 15, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. joe orns

    I am glad someone is making a stand against this horrible decision....There are US citizens out of work in this country who would be more than happy to have work. How can you reward illegal aliens? I know they were raised here..but isnt there a better way?..Like when they turn 18, they would go straight into military service..then become a US citizen once they completed a 4 year stint? I think this is fair...what do you think?

    June 15, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Fred Smith

    The people who cry "Jobs!" always seem to forget that the illegal immigrants do are often jobs that US citizens don't want to do. You really think there are a lot of US citizens who want to mow lawns, pick up trash, clean toilets, etc? I don't see any applying. And ultimately, if you want to talk about illegal immigrants, I think the only people who can truly speak to it are the native Indians.

    June 15, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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