When a heckler interrupted Obama’s speech in Jerusalem, he discouraged the audience from booing, and ended up getting a standing ovation for embracing the’lively debate.’
The president said, “I see the same spirit in the young people here today. And given the ties between our countries, I believe your future is bound to ours.” He was then interrupted by a heckler, who according to press reports was protesting the imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard. (The American who was convicted of spying for Israel in 1997.)
The crowd started to boo the heckler, but Obama said, “No, no.This is part of the lively debate that we talked about. This is good.” The boos became mixed with clapping and cheers. The president then won the crowd over with a quip, “You know, I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home.” He got another standing ovation after he added, “I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.”
It was a display of the president’s ample political talents that he didn’t allow the crowd to turn ugly. Republican politicians during the Obama years have seemed to step back and enjoy the nastiness of some of their audiences. It is almost as if they feel that their beliefs have been validated when their audience turns into an unruly mob to shut down any disagreement.
The president appears to understand that images crowds booing protesters at his speeches would only serve to fuel the right wing narrative about him. Barack Obama looks determined not to give the right any ammo for their propaganda machine. Moments like these demonstrate why Obama is a president that Americans can be proud of when he is representing us abroad.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association