May 24th, 2013
12:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama heckler: 'Don't call it heckling'

Washington (CNN) - She repeatedly interrupted President Barack Obama by screaming during his national security speech Thursday, but don't call her a "heckler."

"I don't call it heckling, I call it speaking out because the president is not implementing policies that we need to see changed," Code Pink Founder Medea Benjamin said on CNN's "Newsroom" Friday.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']
Benjamin disrupted the president multiple times, before she was escorted from the room, to express dissatisfaction with the administration's drones policy and its failure to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She was so insistent that the president addressed her multiple times from the podium, while speaking at the National Defense University. He repeatedly asked her to let him finish, but also said he was "willing to cut the young lady who interrupted me some slack because it's worth being passionate about."

Benjamin said she interjected when she did because she "didn't hear what many of us thought we were going to hear" and defended her attendance. She said she received an invitation for the event and therefore should not be considered a heckler.

Benjamin, who co-founded the progressive group Code Pink, is a regular at rallies and events protesting the use of armed drones to target terrorists and the existence of Gitmo, which Obama pledged to close when he was elected president.

Obama reiterated that call for closure during his speech Thursday and elaborated on his criteria for the use of drones, which have increased significantly during his presidency.

But Benjamin is not yet satisfied.

"The time for words is over. It's time for action," she said. "He is the commander-in-chief. He can do this on his own."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. schaz

    The President is the Commander-In-Chief, not the dictator. He cannot "do this on his own."

    May 24, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Luke

    I'm not a supporter of Code Pink or her in general but I have to tip my hat to her. I've ALWAYS thought it was fake,m stupid and fascist to insulate the president from answering TOUGH questions. They are NOT kings!! Why shouldn't our elected officials have to hear questions that make them uncomfortable? They are surrounded by yes men, hangers on and bootlickers. How are they EVER going to hear what people think or say??? Obumma is a fraud and he SHOULD be berated whereever he goes.

    May 24, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Seriously

    I saw the video and what is heckling then? Making a statement is one thing but constantly interrupting and not allowing a commentary back is "heckling". She even went limp and forced security to carry her out all the while ranting on. And NOW she can say with a straight face – I wasn't heckling. Are you serious? Really?

    May 24, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. JacksonAction

    "Code Jerk" is more like it. Liberals are diluted.

    May 24, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Dan

    Some people will do anything for attention...

    May 24, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    @smith, dream on about the first two years of the Obama Administration.
    Your repugs filibustered 112 times vs 10 against the village mental midfet. Makes it hard to get anything done in DC.
    BTW, Olivia Snowe was on the Daily Show and she confirmed being in a cloak room while the President was being sworn in and how the repugs made it their lot in life not took with him on any issue (except the FAA furloughs) but that directly affects them, of course.

    May 24, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Lando

    Hey Benjamin...I hope the government close Gitmo and build a jail adjacent to your bedroom...what do you say

    May 24, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Pete

    Where was she when in 2001 with Bush as president he ordered drone strikes on Osama BinLaden,Al Qeada,or where were these posters here that are so ignorent of the truth that Bushs MIC started using drones well before Pres.Obama did..O I forgot its blame everything on our first africanamerican president right and he deserves it like with everything else that Bushs,Cheney did and hiding,refuting it on Pres.Obama because its more convient that way passing the buck so to speak but republicans been doing that for years haven't they,at least the debacles.!!

    May 24, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Mel Stricker

    The only point she succeeded in making was that she was obnoxious and the President seems to be excellent at extemporaneous moments.

    May 24, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. M.V.

    Obviously, it was heckling. The video is clear. If you're going to choose to heckle to raise awareness for your cause, ok – but have integrity and be honest about what it was that you did. When you try to deny it, it only weakens your credibility.

    May 24, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Bill

    OK heckler.

    May 24, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
1 2 3 4