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. Jack from Illinois

    Republicans have embraced this sort of boorish behavior.

    With any luck, it will backfire on them.

    June 15, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. FatBobMob

    To those that have no Idea about this subject here are the facts. We LEGALLY let 1 person every 12 seconds in this country and only 13 percent are job creators and over 50 percent will need government assistance (i.e. our tax money). It would be WAY WAY WAY less expensive to close the flood gates and legalize the people that are already here working. So you high horse just stumbled.

    June 15, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. tgrigsby7

    Obama handled that in a classy fashion. The "reporter" is a clown, and he illustrated the kind of childish games the teabaggers in this country are willing to play. And to the person that equated being rude to the president during a presidential statement to having someone - whose friends and family were tortured and/or killed in connection with a war he lied to instigate - throw a shoe at him, I would argue there actually is a difference, and it's simply this: Bush is a war criminal. Get over it. But that doesn't make all presidents valid targets for rude outbursts.

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Past one week right wing didn’t respect President of United States Obama or Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder but they were having romance with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on hearing
    Do The Math

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Jewels

    I'm proud of the president. There's certain etiquette that should be displayed w/ the president. And, I like seeing the president fired up. He's a good man with the right intentions.

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. yogi

    This is sickening, another example of classless republicans, rude, and disrespectful. Imagine what we have to endure from the right the coming months, civility is gone and they always will justify anything they do or say whether it is garbage, or lies or misleading statements. Vote all of them out of office, everywhere!
    Obama 2012!

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. BeatriX

    How rude! UGH! People know NOTHING about manners nowadays. I wish WH staff had showed him out. The President of the U.S.A was giving a statement at the Rose Garden, not some drunk at a pub.

    And to his question, his name sure sounds foreign too...

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. John D Horgan

    Has the right wing of the republican party have no shame?

    How many times can this President be publicly humiliated before the mainstream media has the b-s to to take these jerks to task

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Louis H Drake

    I turned 68 today, and in all my years on earth, I have never seen the office of the president so rudely disrespected by the populace. It is especially crude that most of these folks hide behind first amendment rights that have previously been denied to people of color. This sort of action would have led to arrest and ostricision.

    June 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Mona

    He better get used to it, he really opened a can of worms with this.

    June 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. alyssa c

    people opposing this are obviously showing they're true colors. i'm sorry but there are many AMERICANS who are just living off the government not even attempting to find jobs. how dare you say we will suffer. these people mostly work jobs that us americans wont even touch because we want higher paying jobs, don't want these kind of jobs and much much more. those complaining are just racist! point blank RACIST! i don't even see how this is the land of the free when we have trash like you who oppose every single thing this man is trying to do. lets not forget it is you who voted BUSH who is really the man the screwed us over. how quickly you forget that disaster when a black man enters office. Obama i back you 100 and look forward to voting for you to try and make a POSITIVE change to this country that is quickly falling.

    June 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. A

    A farmer in CO made a conscious effort not to hire (legal) seasonal migrant workers from foreign countries, instead extending his job offers on his farm to fellow citizens.

    Several people answered his advertisement. About 80% quit by the end of the first day, many of these as the day was progressing, not even waiting until they completed one full days work. Face it: the vast majority of you crying that "illegals" and "foreigners" are taking your jobs wouldn't bother trying to most of that labor that was supposedly stolen from you.

    I worked in the fields for 2 years. It was no picnic and I'm much happier where I am now, but if it's between being unemployed and working the fields I'd return. Apparently a lot of people don't think this way, yet still somehow blame foreigners for stealing their jobs. Yeah, right.

    June 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Starvin Marvin

    I love thd argument that real Americans need jobs blah blah...how bout getting off your lazy a$$ and educate yourself via college, trade school, etc then you can get one. High school education won't get you that dream job making $100k.

    June 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. MRK

    rude and ignorant behavior from any reporter shouldn't be tolerated. If this guy acts like a child, he deserves to be scolded like one. He did nothing with his questions other than embarrass himself, and the company he represents.

    June 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. davecu

    The office of the president deserves more respect than either of these two show it!

    June 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. California

    Obama has never been able to compromise only dictate.

    June 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. rogerpredactor

    I do not agree with the President's policies on many of issues. i have voted both republican and democrat in the past.
    I also understand that the President is not king...he is accountable to the people.

    But you must respect the office. Shouting out attacks at inappropriate times...screaming out "Liar" during a Congressional speech is very disrespectful to our nation.
    It's the office of the President. Republican or Democrat you should respect and dignify.

    June 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Doc

    "A spokeswoman for The Daily Caller, Nichole Roeberg, said "he was doing what reporters do" by asking a question."

    Um, no. The vast majority of reporters have pride in what they do and don't interrupt the President of the United States during an address. They wait until the Q&A portion – then they jockey for position. This nitwit probably cost the other reporters there the chance to ask questions later since the President left immediately after addressing the heckler (that's what he was – not a reporter).

    June 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Ashamed to be an American anymore.

    Don't be mad at the reporter for bringing up a topic Americans what an answer to. That is the problem now days with Journalist, they are puppets. I am not proud to be an American anymore. When the man who is suppose to look out for the country's "legal" citizens, put the illegals first in the job market (by trying to gain votes) it becomes a joke. He should be relieved of his duties for putting the people who pay his tab and salary first.

    Obama, It is time for you to go. The middle class is tired of you bringing us down further to make you self look good in the eyes of the lower class voters. Remember Mr. President, the middle class is who makes the world go round and funds most government money. Tell me how the government plans to operate when all you have is the rich and lower class.

    One day soon people will start to remember that the government works for the people and not the other way around. I hope to see them toss today's politicians right out on the A**. the people will get fed up with all these policies designed to help those who broke the law to enter this country. – You are REWARDING criminals. Way to go, lets give them even more reasons to cross the border.


    An American with no dreams left to find.

    June 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. chucklestheclown

    man, don't people hate it when their god is challenged. As you know there are many false gods-this is shining example of another one.

    June 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Simon

    Typical rude Republican redneck!

    June 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. just wondering

    at least he did'nt throw a shoe..... same principal but he did'nt

    June 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Thorne

    Wow ... it's amazing the ignorance I see here. Go do a little research on what the President actually DID today. These are people who already LIVE in the US and it does not allow for people who have not lived here for a minimum of five years AND met other criteria to receive this deferred action. Here: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/06/6_things_dream_act.html
    Try educating yourselves THEN blast your opinion. The Dream Act is actually supported by about half of all Americans and pathways to citizenship for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US is supported at a greater rate, though how to go about that naturalization varies wildy. Research folks. Research.

    June 15, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Rubia

    Amazing the lack of respect! The president is talking for God's sake, SHUT UP! Questions are made during "time for questions" not in the middle of his speech! Complete moron!
    And I am ashamed of some of the comments made by some.....go to school people, learn the issue first before making stupid comments.

    June 15, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. QS

    The only thing I took away from this story, is that the bar is set extremely low at the Daily Caller for what is considered a reporter.

    June 15, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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