Author Topic: 'I'm on your side, man!': Obama meets with Hispanic hecklers who interrupted Texas economic speech with immigration complaints  (Read 199 times)

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'I'm on your side, man!': Obama meets with Hispanic hecklers who interrupted Texas economic speech with immigration complaints
President begged protesters to sit down and promised to hear them out after his speech
Secret Service let them stay and staff whisked them backstage after Obama was done
Obama has absorbed different complaints from the left and right since tens of thousands of unaccompanied children began entering the U.S. illegally

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

Published: 15:39 EST, 10 July 2014  | Updated: 23:17 EST, 10 July 2014 

'Sit down,' President Barack Obama begged – not 'get out' – after two Hispanic hecklers interrupted his economic speech on Thursday with shouts about illegal immigration.

Then, for the first time in his presidency, the Secret Service stood down and Obama promised to meet with them before he left.

'I’m sorry, what are you yelling about now?' Obama said amid the sudden yelling. 'Sit down, guys. I’m almost done.'

'Come on, sit down. I’ll talk to you afterwards, I promise. I’ll bring you back. I’m wrapping things up here.'


Obama spoke to a cheering, partisan crowd on Thursday in Austin, Texas, begging immigration protesters at one point to meet with him privately instead of interrupting his remarks
More than 200 miles from the Mexican border, Obama tried to quiet concerns about the tragic influx of children pouring into the U.S. without adults to watch over them
The White House's transcript of his remarks in the liberal enclave of Austin, Texas omits what the protesters said, but Obama replied, 'I understand. See, everybody is going to start – I’m on your side, man. Sit down, guys, we’ll talk about it later, I promise.'

Before returning to his teleprompter, the president told his security force to take a step back.

'You don’t have to escort them out,' he ordered. 'They’ll sit down.'

And then, again directed at his hecklers: 'I promise I’ll talk to you afterwards.'

Obama had just wrapped up a section of his speech, partially cribbed from earlier fundraising addresses, in which he ripped into Republicans for slow-walking his demands for immigration reform measures.


'On immigration issues,' he said, 'we’ve got – and to their credit, there are some Republicans in the Senate who actually worked with Democrats, passed a bill [that] would strengthen the borders, would help make the system more fair and more just.'

'But the House Republicans, they haven’t even called the bill. They won’t even take a vote on the bill. They don’t have enough energy or organization or I-don’t-know-what to just even vote "no" on the bill.'

'Ronald Reagan passed immigration reform, and you love Ronald Reagan,' he vented at the GOP. 'Let’s go ahead and do it.'

According to a White House press pool report, White House staff escorted the protesters behind the stage immediately after the president's speech was over and he 'began glad-handing with folks in front.'

'The presumption is [that] they briefly spoke to' Obama, the pool reporter wrote, 'but we moved so quickly in [the] motorcade that it couldn't have been for long.'

While Obama pressed the flesh following his speech, White House staffers escorted the hecklers backstage to meet with him

Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in supplemental funding, half of which he has said would help Customs and Border Patrol deal with the humanitarian crisis of thousands of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. illegally every week.

Only about 3 per cent, however, would be dedicated to strengthening America's southwest border with Mexico.

Obama has resisted calls for him to see the crisis up close, saying he has no plan to visit the border.

He has, however, demanded a larger, more permanent overhaul of U.S. immigration law that would give most otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens a path to legal status – and, for some, a path to citizenship.

Obama began that process in 2012 with a move to halt deportations of people brought to the United States illegally as children before July 2007.

He denied on Wednesday that the sudden policy shift is responsible for a deluge of children migrating from Central America and crossing into Texas and Arizona.

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