Obama appeared in front of a "feisty" crowd in St. Petersburg, FL, this morning. Midway through his opening remarks, three young, African-American men stood up behind the senator with a banner that read, "What About the Black Community, Obama?" The men heckled, the crowd booed, and Obama turned to engage with them telling them to be courteous and that they'd have their time to ask a question during the Q&A.
He kept his word. One of the hecklers asked this question:
Why is it that you have not . . . one time . . . speak to the issues and even speak on behalf of the oppressed and exploited African or black community?
Though the crowd jeered, Obama said: "I want everybody to respect him . . . he has a legitimate question."
To see Obama's response,
I think you're misinformed about when you say not on one. Every issue you spoke about, I actually did speak out about. I've been talking about predatory lending and in two years in the US Senate and worked to pass legislation to prevent it in the state legislature. . . I may not have spoken out in the way you would have wanted me to speak out.
The exchange continued, Marc Ambinder has the rest — and he says though Obama handled it well, that "McCain still corners the market on dealing with protesters at his townhalls."
McCain might have an opportunity to show this skill, appearing in Orlando, FL, at the National Urban League Conference.
Did the hecklers make a valid point?