During his speech about the ACA today, a group of protesters chanted against Keystone XL. The president stopped the crowd from booing them, and joked that the protesters had the wrong rally.
The President was discussing how Democrats and Republicans came together in Massachuettes to make healthcare reform work, when a group of protesters started chanting for the president to stop the pipeline. The president turned the boos of the crowd into laughter and applause by saying, “That is the wrong rally. We had the climate change rally back in the summer. This is the healthcare rally.”
If I am big oil, the Koch brothers, or a certain Speaker of the House who stands to benefit financially from the approval of the pipeline, the president’s answer to the protesters made me nervous. The president tied KeystoneXL to climate change. This could unintentionally signal which way the president is planning on going with the KeystoneXL decision. It has always seemed like a longshot that Obama would approve the controversial part of the project.
The way President Obama handlers hecklers and protesters is different from the way Republicans tend to respond to hecklers and protesters. A Republican in the same situation would have let the crowd boo, and then inevitable U-S-A chants would fill the room.
The president turns boos into cheers, and never let’s control of the room get away from him. The protesters got their message out, Obama handled it with ease, and looked like a no harm, no foul situation.