President Barack Obama was repeatedly interrupted by a 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.
A woman in the crowd yells at President Barack Obama during his address to the National Defense University on Thursday.
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."
The antiwar group Code Pink, which often interrupts high-profile political events with vocal protests against U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy, said its founder Medea Benjamin was the person responsible for the interruption.
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.”
He added after another interruption: “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.”
Thursday wasn’t the only instance in which Obama was interrupted during a high-profile speech. During remarks last year about immigration at the White House, a conservative reporter, Neil Munro, heckled the president with a question about the impact of his announcement that day.