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. Derek

    Mr Obama is by far the most disrespected president in US history.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. DC

    And the democrats are coooommpllleeetteeellyy above this, right? Right........I'm sure "I LUV AMERICA" and everyone else here showed so much more respect of the office when it was occupied by Bush. Maybe when people can stop being hypocrites we can get past this partisan division.

    Guess what reality is? Neither party really cares about you or what they think. Both parties are so out of touch all they care about is them and saying what it takes to mobilize their "base" enough to keep them in their jobs. We're all being played like a fiddle.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. chedar888

    Michael Brown

    "Unprofessional? Of course. However, his point remains valid. Our nation is shipping all of our jobs overseas because it's cheaper........................" Don't blame Obama for shipping the job overseas. Blame it to the GOP who are the buddy buddy of the CEO and wallstreeters to ship those job overseas. You are deluded.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. jbird68

    Tucker Carlson runs a BLOG. Its not even a real bureau! IdiotMunro is stuck reporting for a second rate blog, and it irritates him. I hope he enjoyed that press pass. I'm guessing its his last. Serves him right for not sticking to protocol. BTW, Munro is lucky. The two guys behind him looked like decoy secret service made up as reporters.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Shannon

    IMO...This so call president is deliberately destroying America, so he does not deserve respect.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. MRK

    The guy looks all smug and defiant standing there doing nothing but waiting to argue with the President, when it's not appropriate. He probably was mad he wasn't covering GOP golden boy Marco Rubio, who was uselessly trying to lobby Congress to get anything done for the DREAM act, yet when Obama beat him to the punch he criticized the President for "going around Congress" when Congress is clealy dysfunctional and worthless to act for the American people. Newsflash GOP – it's called executive privilege. You used to know all about it when George W. and Cheney did whatever they wanted.

    June 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. kyactivist

    What I find hilarious is that conservatives like these complain about American unemployment and then bend over backwards for free market reforms that allow big corporations to ship jobs overseas. The right-wing knows no bounds when it comes to hypocrisy, this is a just action to do for people who are granted citizenship by the 14th Amendment.

    June 15, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Dark Knight

    This was incredibly disrespectful to the President of the United States. Where has the consideration of the Office gone? You may have deep disagreemets with the President; Senator; CEO; even a Teacher, however where is the civility? The example we are setting now will become the norm for discourse; America has sincerely lost it's foundation.

    June 15, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. SFM

    That "newspaper reporter" is trying to make a name for himself by interupting the President. He should be barred from all future press meetings. The President was totally correct in how he handled this situation.

    June 15, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. John

    It not because they are taking are JOBS, It Really that the Republican are sending are Jobs Oversea to other Country. Like Mitt Romney For One.

    June 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. jbird68

    Carlson is a mere blog owner. I hope the guy enjoyed his pass.

    June 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Westfield

    So he caved into loud mouth hispanic activists who just want to given everything. I cannot wait to deport Mr. Obama back to Chicago in November. No matter how bad Mitt Romney may be he will at least not sell this country out to illegal aliens. My parents played by the rules and waited in line before they came over. He just insulted millions of us that play failrly

    June 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. nathan

    I am am Obama supporter but I do not support his position nor anyone's position when it comes to giving rights to illegal immigrants or their offspring. It is just not fair and quite frankly unearned...period.

    June 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. eiresicilia

    2012 get ready for a repeat. "Mitt, the election is over, I won."

    June 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Pam from Texas

    He cares. And why in the world would he answer someone who is just wanting to get that all important sound byte? It was an announcement – not a question and answer session. And if he had responded with humor, you would have said he didn't take anything seriously. You need to look alot closer to your nominee's sense of humor – bullying, dressing up as a cop, his singing, trying to tell a joke. His tearing asunder the Affordable Health Care Act when it was copied from Romneycare is what's really hilarious. HA!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. DWAYNE

    Quite sad I am a Progressive and was disgusted when I learned HBO placed a head resembling President Bush on a pike and I find this fake reporters antics while not as disgusting as that just as disrepectful.

    Fox News is a cancer in the body politics of America.

    June 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. jodyroy

    You right wingers had 8 years to get anything about this done, and now this President is doing something. You had your chance, now get out of the way and let progress happen.

    June 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    So exactly what is to stop a flood of illegals and their underage children over our borders right now? Nothing. So you think we were bankrupt before?!! You ain't seen NUTHIN' yet America!!

    Obama or America people.... The Personality Cult or your country?? America will barely survive 4 years of this fool. Can you IMAGINE what another 4 years of this Dictator will bring to this country????

    June 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. JohnK

    Typical bigoted, right-wing clown.

    June 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. gdouglaso

    Nicely handled Mr. President. What an absolutely disrespectful faux reporter and typical of the level of civility generally displayed by the Tea Party faithful.

    June 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. yogi

    @ A – You are making the point loud and clear. What would happen to the economy if all illegal workers would leave at once? Ever thought what the price of your produce would be after that? What would happen to all the businesses would hire illegal workers? Republicans are not willing to answer these questions.
    Obama 2012!

    June 15, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. josh gonzalez

    Romney can't even get through an interview at Fixed NEws.

    June 15, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |

    Claudia, I'm sorry to say that the reporter with the Irish lilt, lack of etiquette and casual dress was backed-up by his conservative (or is it reactionary) employer, Tucker Carlson & Mr. Carlson is quoted as approving of the poor behavior.
    P.S. The rumor mill has it that this guy may have gotten into The White House on a "one-day-only blogger pass" ... makes sense.

    June 15, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -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?
    Haley Barbour recently made comments that pointed out the sheer idiocy of the current GOP position on immigration, which he flat out said was unworkable from any number of standpoints. Do you really want to pay for the cost of tracking down and deporting everyone who is illegal? Its hardly receiving perks when you have met criteria that people from Obaama to Rick Perry agree is reasonable. Its making the best out of a situation, rather than appealing to the knee-jerk ideology of ignorant bigots who cheerfully ignore the facts that illegals do the work they would never do.

    June 15, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Ron

    Revoke his White House press pass.

    June 15, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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