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. v. ashford

    RUDE, ignorant, disrespectful, you can see the contempt for OUR President all over his face, This is the only President of this United States that has had to put up with such disrespectful, ignorant people. Let HIM do his job instead of trying to disrupt, or block this President has attempted to do for the American People. Republican and Democrats alike need to take a good look in the mirror at themselves. United we (Americans) stand, divided we (Americans) will fall. Not because of his policies but because of the American people and ther lack of respect, therefore other countries are treating him like the Americans treat their President. How many other countries citizens can get away with disrespecting and interrupting their leader just because of their color. I rather have a lleader that thinks than one is moved by their emotions. OBAMA 2012

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. KAJD

    That reporter (if that is what you can call him) was just totally disrespectful to the office of the President. What a j+erk. They should ban him from the grounds and put him in time out. He actually looked pretty pathetic after being put in his place.

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Big Al

    It's time to make ALL illegals, legal. They have the right to benefits provided by the US government.

    Amnesty for ALL!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. acura2010

    Teabaggers are bigots

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Ashamed to be an American anymore.

    OK so, as long as you got away with being a criminal for 5 years, we'll give you the perks of being an American/ Really?

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Michael Brown

    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."

    Idk about that. Bush went through a lot....and the attacks on him were quite personal at times.

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. KAJD

    That reporter (if that is what you can call him) was just totally disrespectful to the office of the President. What a j+erk. They should ban him from the grounds and put him in time out. He actually looked pretty p=athetic after being put in his place.

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. LJ

    Utter disrespect and disgusting!!! So what if he's from a different "party" and you disagree w/ his politics? You show RESPECT FOR THE OFFICE. I don't get what the ho hum about illegal immigration is. "It's a drain on the taxpayers, they take our jobs, blah, blah". Really? If they were unemployed and homeless, yes. If they work, and everyone who is paid a wage and works is TAXED, how is that a drain? They take your jobs? Yeah, that same job you want picking fruit in the hot sun. That same job you want cleaning hotel rooms, washing dishes in a restaraunt, being a bus boy, etc. Get over yourselves America. If you want that job sooooooo bad, go apply for it yourself...

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. alpg49

    So, when will we see Romney on "Meet the Press"? He can't even get through an interview on Faux "News".

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. 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. Maybe the reporter should have hacked the teleprompter and asked the question there? Face it, this President can't handle criticism, he wants adoration and worship, not questions. He should try and do a set at the Improv and learn how to get tough. Uh oh, is that a drone circling my house?

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Matt

    I'm sure all liberals applauded this kind of crap when Bush was president, just as all you crazy conservatives are appluading this idiot for disrespecting Obama. The truth is all extremists are driving this country into the toilet while moderates like me are left without anyone to represent me on either side.

    June 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. kurgen99

    How professional. This is what happens when bloggers become "reporters."
    Tucker Carlson has always been a TOOL, so no surprise that this is his organization.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. jon

    The guys mixed up. It was Romney who hired foreigners.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |

    How many more days till we get rid of this terriost President. He is opening the doors for Terroist to cross the border since most of them are college age.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Indiana Voter

    Wasn't it the President who told his supporters to get up in their faces? Or does only apply to Democrats getting up in Republican's faces? He doesn't like it so much when it happens to him. As for those Democrats whining about disrespecting the office of the President, where were you all when Bush was President? Oh yeah, that's right... you were the ones calling him names and disrespecting him as President. Somebody needs to start standing up to this President, because the mainstream media sure isn't doing it.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Bob

    I am a democrat and believe something needs to be done to solve this problem, however, this new policy will only lead to more illegal immigration. Illegals will arrive in ever increasing amounts if they know their children will be able to stay and work in this country. This needs to be a one-time thing only or it will increase the problem.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. martin

    typical onservative, thinks it all about him, all the time.

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. BlackDog

    He was too busy to help out his FRIENDS in Wisconsin, now he's too busy to answer the media. As far as I can tell, nobody in Washington is doing a god da mned thing, so what is he so busy DOING?!

    June 15, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Ashamed to be an American anymore.

    I commend the reporter for taking on a question everyone knew he would avoid. Did anyone really see an justifiable answer come from Obama?

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. greasemonkey

    The complaints coming from those on the right seem a little odd considering that Romey is ABSOLUTELY REFUSING to answer reporters questions at any time.........more selective outrage from the right.....

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. gramma nance

    He was totally out of line...and by doing this got his 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. The Truth

    Respect for the White House and office of the President went out the window when GW Bush was in office. You can't totally disrespect Bush as President and the demand respect for Obama. Read what you sow......

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Canto

    A lot of folks think they are above the social contracts of etiquette, manner, decorum, and respect. They are in fact outcasts whom civil society must condemn regardless of context. We do not tolerate bullies in schools or the workplace. Why should the media be exempt?

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    The Obama Dictatorship has no clothes. The Obama Dictatorship is getting the level of respect it deserves. The truth hurts.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Yankee patriot

    kevin u are awesome. i am a northerner stuck in the imbred south. i witness, everyday, how disgusting the "rebels" are in the south. if the race card isnt constantly being pulled then somebody is suing somebody else. people down here dont work for thier money. they either file lawsuits, mooch Off relatives or collect from the government that they all seem to have a strong negative opinion of. its pathetic. the south will probably never 'rise again' becuase they arent smart enough to know where they are going. I support our president becuase im a real american.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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