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. carlos

    are you kidding me? That reporter had every right to be disrespectful! Obama is thinking only of politics and not the people. Obama is destroying this country and you people only care about how he is being disrespected? You people are jokes.

    June 15, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. GMAT74

    Is this interruption on World Television designed to stifle the president, show superiority over the president, show the world lack of respect for leadership, pronounce presence of discontent, or is this man only willing to respect a white leader? If the White House were on the west coast these types of people would have to travel much further to promote disrespect and intolerance the civil war mentality is abolished not thriving like in Union County Georgia

    June 15, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. monetz

    I think its a good decision! They are young and deserve a chance.

    June 15, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Lar5

    You cannot disrespect the office of the president with impunity because he happens to be a black man. Pathetic!

    June 15, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Cindy

    It reminded me of an old saying the old folks said about 75 years ago. – "There is an @sshole in every crowd and today the right-wing blogger was the @sshole.

    June 15, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    Really? Was Bush ever described as "uppity", as Phil Gingery of GA called him? Did a governor wag her finger at him? DID he have his patriotism questioned, his humanity questioned? Please, Bush got off easy.

    June 15, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. ernestopena

    Am very proud to an American. We have a good and sincere president

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Jan

    Conservatives, Republicans, Tucker Carlson, Neil Munro are an embarrassment to the American People.

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Como

    It is not respectful of the reporter or his organization to interrupt Obama. But some of you who say Obama is the first to be interrupted are wrong. Bush II was continuously verbally interrupted, burned in effigy, hanged, and even a movie depicting his death, all wrong and absolutely disrepectful of the man and his office at the time.. How quick you libs forget and deny that you are grossly guilty of far worse. The offending reporter and his organization are being roudnly criticized, even on Fox recommending he not be allowed back into the Presidential Press Corp.

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. bear

    Once again it proves you cannot ignorance.

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Chris

    Obama got off lucky... Bush had a shoe thrown at him.

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Limitles

    If someone did that to Bush, the republicans would be outraged.

    June 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    I would say this is rude but after ever since I saw how you liberals treated Bush it's just fine......you get what you give....so deal with it.

    June 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. n

    Go ask Mr. Hit and Run Romney those fake questions, if you can find Mr. Hide and Seek. Ask him tough questions like why, didn't at least on of your five sons serve in the armed forces during that crucial time of Bush war on WMD? And why are you hiding your money over seas. And why are you begging like a dog to be the next president of these United States? Yeah, Start with those.

    June 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Always Concerned

    More disrespect has been shown to President Obama than any other sitting president...how sad it was to watch what occurred today...it almost took away from the purpose of the speech. Munro got his 15 minutes of fame and will get accolades for being rude! Its obvious what the right wants and will make sure someone is always in place to create controversy as this journalist did today. Embarrassing for the U.S. as the whole world witnesses the decline in our values everyday. The majority factors in Congress are holding back progress to assure that Mr. Obama is a one term president at the risk of republicans and democrat alike...especially those without jobs at this time. Its a good thing that most voters are intelligent and can see through the BS. Everyone who has a job today (citizen and non-citizen) is contributing to the financial health of the country...we pay taxes everywhere we go! Another reason we can't save!

    June 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Jablonski

    "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"

    I don't recall a single incident of a credentialed member of the press openly disrespecting the office of the president during President Bush's time in office. Perhaps you can correct me if I am mistaken in that?

    June 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    How dare a reporter ask a question of our Supreme Leader. He does not know his place. Round up his entire family and to the leftist re-education camp with them. Obama's Supreme God status must never be questioned.

    June 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. J Emerson

    The reporter was deliberately rude. He not only interrupted once but repeatedly as seen on the video.

    June 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. blake72

    The president ignores the rule of law, yet again, and a reporter asks a question at a press conference. The liberals and complicit media react like it's the wreck of the Hindenburg. Oh the humanity!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Mark B

    >The Real Tom Paine – The idea that somehow, real, high-paying jobs are being taken by illegals, is ludicrous.

    You don't know what you are talking about sir. I work in the IT field and there are thousands of foreigners here as contractors (mostly Indian) taking very high paid jobs that Americans could fill. It makes me sick as I know Americans in the IT field that were laid off while these people raked in well over $100K a year, much it going back to India.

    @ Bill...Apparently you don't know what you are talking about -please don't confuse legal immigration with illegal immigration. There are many foreigners in the U.S. who work in both low and high-paying professions. Believe it or not, there are americans in foreign countries who are also high-paying employees. The movement of people (across borders) legally cannot be stifled just because some one like you is angry because "these people" i.e. foreigners with the neccessary educational background are able to immigrate and earn a good living in the U.S. .

    June 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Orchid333

    Lots of folks saying it but I'll say it again. So disrespectful. I don't recall ever seeing a President interrupted by a member of the media during a speech like that. How rude! Obama answered his question and it comes as no surprise that member of the press came from a conservative media outlet. He should be removed from all future initiatives.

    June 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Nuihc

    With this policy Obama just combined being a socialist with fitting the definition of a facist dictator.

    June 15, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. blake72

    The president ignores the rule of law, *yet again*, and a reporter asks a question at a press conference. You tell me which is the real story here. The liberals and complicit media react like it's the wreck of the Hindenburg. Oh the humanity!!!!

    June 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Mrs. Springfield

    The reporter, Neil Munro, was wearing a temporary press badge. That should tell you his lack of reporting courtesy. People against the Dream Act lack educational knowledge and always turn it into a political situation. The Act is needed to support the hard work teachers play in making a difference on all of their students and communities.

    June 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  25. Juan

    He probably saw the O'reilly interview before Superbowl 45 and thought he could disrespect Obama.

    June 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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