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Obama Gets Heckled By Crowd at Townhall in St. Petersburg

Obama Gets Heckled by Crowd at Townhall in St. Petersburg

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,


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?

Join The Conversation
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Not only did I already admit to making mistakes, typos and creating my own words in a previous post..but I also Apologized here. But you had the Audacity to state this- " come off as ignorant. Just trying to help you out. Try using the elnglish language instead of making up your words as you go along." Out of all happen to miss spell ENGLISH! And also state that you are trying to help me Out! Now it seems to me..that you are the one thats miss informed here! How stupid does that make you look?!!
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Ya know....Undave. You are starting to sound like McCain, hiding from major facts...searching for typos! Its art...theres logic behind what I do!
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
I thought I gave you the definition for Fo Show already! Its For Sure!
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Yep! My name is a typo! Fo Show! Atleast I can make a timely Apology! Didnt I already state that I invent my own words... like when I said I was spreading Obamatism! My points are still stronger than yours!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
For Show - Was it a typo here too?
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 8 years
azulsky azulsky 8 years
Matamoros, Wow, really. Are you serious? I feel so sorry for you (and anyone else) if you believe what you just stated. I am at a complete and utter loss of words, but sadly not surprised. Oh and the black community has many other things to accomplish during the day than worrying about enslaving white America by chaining up white people and forcing them to picking cotton.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
The Heckler, Matamoros- Well....according to that New Yorker cover, thats what they claim Obama will do! Atleast we'd have the courage and dignity to make a timely opology!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
I thought Obama handled the situation well. He was respectful and gave the man his say; I found his answers to the questions spot-on.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 8 years
Obama is such a waste of time.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
These kids were misinformed and its not Obama's fault that they were. Yes, it would be great for him to travel to these areas and speak to people directly as I stated in an above post but he simply can't go to every community in the US in three months. Can't be done. If they wanted to know more about Obama's stance on issues, they really could have gone to their local library and read up on them. There, they could have accessed the interent to watch his speeches, check out his books, read magazine and newpaper articles and just enlighten themselves. Information doesn't have to be delivered to you. If you care, you can seek it out. (Sorry but I work in a public library so I know this imformation is availible even in inadaquately funded libraries. No excuse! ;)) I do think it is a good idea for him and Mac to plan visits, but at the end of the day, every citizen is responsible for how informed they are on the issues. Obama has been speaking about the aforementioned "black issues". Btw issues like "predatory lending, inadequate health care, substandard education, racial profiling, unfair sentencing practices, closing the digital divide" are issues that effect every color and race. He doesn't specify these issues are "black" issues because that effect everyone.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Thanks for the link Krradford! This Heckler is asking the wrong candidate....I hope he doesnt think that McCain is going to actually help Minorities!
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
what are you talking about talkto yes there are secret black issues :sneaky-evil: Just kidding! Have a good weekend :WAVE:
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
I was getting ready to post about customizing your message for specific segments and how there are ways to do so WITHOUT specifically labeling them as, this message is for blacks, this message is for whites, Asians, and so forth. I guess you have to do it in order for some people to hear it. But whatever . . .I'm tired of multi-tasking today :-) Truth is we're going to have a new president in three months and both candidates better get on the ball!
talktotisha talktotisha 8 years
@torgleson - I think you are right. we are like mccain and bush - saying the same thing, only different ! LMAO! LOL! there are no "secret" black issues (at least to my knowledge) but there has definitely been a lack of publicized Obama speaking specifically to the black community about known issues. But it is his "fault", his campaign's "fault" that these hecklers have a valid point. again - I apologize for upsetting you with my initial comments...mmkay?
Bettyjane Bettyjane 8 years
Like I said in the previous post about Obama "playing the race card", no matter what he does he will be criticized. He is in a tough position, but I think he handled this one well.
lula29 lula29 8 years
What I hate is that there are Black people who assume that certain issues only affect the Black community and if not highlighted as such, the issue isn't being addressed.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I see. I think there's a big difference between saying being a member of a group gives you more insight and saying someone who is not a member of a group can't speak acccurately about the group's issues, but we're about to descend down a spiral of rhetoric when I suspect we only disagree a little on that matter. That said, are there secret black issues I don't know about? Because I thought you were saying that these are some issues that affect black people: "predatory lending, inadequate health care, substandard education, racial profiling, unfair sentencing practices, closing the digital divide etc" And Obama has spoken about all of them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
“those kids were totally misinformed about what Obama has done." I agree. However, IMO the reason that they are misinformed is brings us right back to their charge. I believe their misinformed because Sen. Obama has not been speaking (to them) around them and over them yes, but not to them and this is the problem. The good thing is it’s a very correctable problem you simply address it and there you go their happy now.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
Hecklers Put Obama on the Spot in Florida:
talktotisha talktotisha 8 years
I think the point is that they haven't seen Barack Obama - as the presumptive democratic nominee (that cracks me up!) - speak on those issues.
talktotisha talktotisha 8 years
@torgleson ...I disagree with the point that you made initially - that he has spoken on "black issues". My point is that unless you are _______ you cannot accurately speak on what the ________ issues are!!!! I promise you my intent is not, was not to discount your opinion at all!! ( I apologize if my words made you feel that way!) I agree you do not need to have first hand experience to be for or against something. All I am saying is being __________ gives more insight to the issues that directly affect ____________. Being on the outside looking in gives only high level perspective.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Oh, where is that video? I was hoping to see it. All I saw on CNN was the interruption of his speech.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
I agree with popgoestheworld that those kids were totally misinformed about what Obama has done. He's worked much of his entire life to address issues that impact minorities. Just b/c Obama doesn't speak out in the way those young men preferred doesn't mean that Obama hasn't been working on behalf of the black community. I watched a longer clip of the townhall meeting, and Obama gave the young man some great advice - if he doesn't like the way Obama is framing certain issues his options are to: one - vote for someone else and/or two - run for office yourself. I personally want to see more minorities get involved in the political process.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
If your view is I "cannot ACCURATELY speak on something" and I'm making "some assumptions based on interaction, reading about it on the internet" then yeah, I'd say yes, you're discounting my opinion. I can't tell you how it feels to be a single black mom with no healthcare facing foreclosure on a home without the skills to gain a better job while her children's father is in jail due to mandatory minimums. Do I really need to, though, to be able to speak "ACCURATELY" on the need to "end predatory lending, inadequate health care, substandard education, racial profiling, unfair sentencing practices, closing the digital divide etc;"? I can still accurately say these are problems and accurately know that they are problems affecting a disproportionate amount of black people and accurately say I'd like to vote for politicians who will do their best to address them. I don't need the first-hand experience of losing my job to support unemployment, and I don't need to go through the emotional turmoil of an unplanned pregnancy to be pro-choice. I don't need to be murdered to have an informed opinion about the death penalty.
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