Obama To Gitmo Speech Heckler: ‘Part Of Free Speech Is…You Listening’

President Obama speaks on counterterrorism in Washington

President Barack Obama had a hard time getting through parts of his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University Thursday, thanks to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of left-leaning, female anti-militarism group Code Pink.

Benjamin repeatedly interrupted the President’s remarks, pleading with him to expedite the closing of Guantanamo Bay, where Afghan and Iraqi prisoners have been indefinitely detained for 11 years.

“You are the commander in chief. You can close Guantanamo today,” Benjamin shouted early in the speech.

The President acknowledged Benjamin’s interjections at one point, but after additional cut-ins, he finally told her:

Now, ma’am, let me, let me, let me finish. Let me, let me finish, ma’am. Now, this is part of free speech, is, you being able to speak, but also – you listening. And me being able to speak. [Applause breaks out.] Eh? Thank you.


After further interruptions, security dragged Benjamin out of the room. But she got in one last remark for the President, admonishing Obama to “abide by the rule of law – you’re a Constitutional lawyer.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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