Obama heckled but repeats DADT promise

President Obama, appearing at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles Monday, April 19, seemed initially irritated when his speech in support of Boxer’s re-election was interrupted with shouts that he do more to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

An Associated Press video of the proceeding shows him trying, at first, to talk over the protests, then trying to respond to them, saying “We are going to do that.” When the protests continue, he raises his hand and says, “Hey, hold on a second. Hold on a second. We are going to do that.”

By then, the full audience had begun chanting, “Yes, we can,” drowning out the protesters. The president stood quietly at the podium until the crowd began to quiet and then he beckoned them: “Now, listen. What the young man was talking about was we need to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, which I agree with and which we have begun to do.”

“But let me say this,” continued the president, “when you’ve got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you’ve got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don’t know exactly why you’ve got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it.”

President Obama resumed his speech, after the first protesters were escorted out, but then additional protesters began to shout, “It’s time for equality for all Americans!” Obama repeated that he and Boxer “are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ so I don’t know why you’re hollering.”

Frontiers in LA editor Karen Ocamb reported the protest was carried out by five activists with the new LGBT activist group GetEqual. The protesters paid between $250 and $500 each to attend the event.

One of the protesters, Dan Fotou, told Ocamb: “I know he heard us. It’s now on his radar. And we’re not going away. We’re going to keep showing up and showing up until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed.”

Meanwhile, today, six uniformed protesters chained themselves to the White House fence to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” According to CNN, the protesters included Lt. Dan Choi, who was arrested last month after chaining himself to the White House fence in a similar protest.

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