President Obama tonight got a dose of something he’s not terribly used to – heckling.
The president is waging a tricky juggling act trying to please various Democratic Party factions while keeping his ratings like, above 40 percent. With the Senate having failed Tuesday to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” one of the traditionally more vocal and colorful factions is not happy.
Here’s the pool report out of a New York Fundraiser, where Obama is raising money for the House and Senate Democratic campaign committees.
Shortly after the president began speaking at 6:45 p.m, a woman began shouting, “President Obama, President Obama” and two or three men held up signs that said “Broken promises,” and “No retreat, fund AIDS.”
The president addressed the demonstrators, saying, “Apparently you’re interested in funding AIDS … We have increased aids funding,” and went on with his remarks.
The woman shouted again, and the president replied, “We listened to you, we heard your point . . . It’s a conversation I’m happy to have.” The woman stopped interrupting but the men held up their signs, printed out on letter-sized sheets of paper.
Later, on the other side of the room, a man shouted out, “Don’t ask don’t tell,” twice, interrupting the president a second time. The president also addressed him directly.
The crowd chanted “Obama, Obama” to drown out the speakers, and someone tried to snatch the signs, but the demonstrators were ultimately quieted after Obama spoke to them and their remarks directly.
“That’s why we need your energy and enthusiasm,” Obama said. “This young lady here, she wants an increase in AIDS funding … I”m sure we could do more, if we’re able to grow this economy again. That young man shouted, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ . . . As president, I said we would reverse it … “