President Obama was heckled by a reporter during his immigration remarks on Friday.
Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security will stop deportations and grant work permits for students who meet certain requirements. The policy change will apply to those who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16, who have been in the country for at least five years, and are under the age of 30.
During his remarks, Obama suddenly addressed a person in the crowd, telling him that he was not yet taking questions. "Excuse me, sir, it's not time for questions, sir," Obama said. "Not while I'm speaking."
At the end of his speech, Obama referred back to the person who interrupted him. "And the answer to your question is sir, and the next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question, is this is the right thing to do for the American people...I didn't ask for an argument. I'm answering your question," he said, speaking over the man's protests. "It is the right thing to do for the American people."
The camera flashed to a man in a suit wearing sunglasses. He was quickly identified as The Daily Caller's Neil Munro, who wrote about the news of Obama's announcement on Friday.
ABC's Diane Sawyer, who was anchoring the network's breaking news coverage with George Stephanopoulos, described the man who interrupted Obama as someone who was "clearly considered a heckler." Former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto tweeted, "Reporters don't interrupt presidential statements. Period. @NeilMunroDC should be banned from WH. #fb."
According to the site's masthead, Munro is the White House correspondent at The Daily Caller.
Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller, defended Munro in an interview with The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone shortly after the incident.
"This is what reporters are supposed to do," Carlson said by phone. "They're supposed to get their questions answered."
"It's hard to know what's wrong with asking the president a question," he continued.
When told that Sawyer referred to Munro as a "heckler," Carlson said he "doesn't remember anyone saying that about Sam Donaldson," the aggressive former ABC News White House correspondent, if Donaldson interrupted the president. Carlson suggested Sawyer would probably describe Donaldson as "being a tough reporter."
"Politicians don’t get to make a statement and then retreat to a fortified castle," Carlson said, adding that "our job is to find out what's going on with federal government on our time-table."
As for those criticizing Munro for interrupting Obama, Carlson responded that the Daily Caller's "critics ought to make it official and take a gig at the White House."
Munro spoke out about his actions in a post published on the Daily Caller's website.
"I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president. I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States," he said.
Later, Munro published a piece about Obama's remarks and reported that the president "declined to take any questions," even though two reporters called out questions to him.
"The president has often used this no-questions strategy when making important or poll-boosting announcements," he wrote.
The full exchange between Obama and Munro was cited in the official White House transcript. When Obama responded to Munro's first interruption, the Daily Caller reporter was quoted as saying, "No, you have to take questions."
The Daily Caller
Patrick W. Gavin
Rep. Keith Ellison