President Barack Obama responded to a disgruntled heckler during a national speech earlier today (May 23, 2013).
The POTUS was repeatedly interrupted by the heckler, whose taunts slowed the delivery of a major national security speech in the Washington, D.C. area.
The unidentified heckler began shouting at the president toward the tail end of his highly-anticipated address, when he touched upon U.S. policy toward detainees suspected of terrorist acts.
Obama was forced to pause three separate times and talk over the protester, interrupting the flow of the closing section of the speech at National Defense University.
“I’m about to address it ma’am, but you’ve got to let me speak,” Obama scolded the woman. “Why don’t you sit down and let me tell you exactly what I’d do.”
“Ma’am, let me finish. Let me finish ma’am,” said Obama. “This is part of free speech is you being able to speak but also you listening?
And me being able to speak. All right?”
Though the president appeared somewhat irritated by the interruption, he said he was willing to cut the woman “some slack, because it’s worth being passionate about.”
The POTUS added after another interruption from the woman:
The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.
Obviously I do not agree with much of what she said. And obviously she wasn’t listening to me and much of what I said.
But these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong.