Updated: July 17, 2012 12:43PM
As President Barack Obama tried Friday to explain why ending certain deportations was “the right thing to do,” a reporter did the wrong thing, at least in the president’s eyes.
He shouted out a question, mid-speech, leading to a testy retort from the president.
Neil Munro of the Daily Caller, a conservative website, asked: “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?”
It appeared to throw the president off. He looked at Munro and said: “Excuse me, sir, it’s not time for questions, sir.”
“You have to take questions,” Munro responded.
“Not while I’m speaking,” Obama countered from the podium.
Obama continued his speech and later addressed Munro again.
“And the answer to your question, sir — and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question — is this is the right thing to do for the American people.”
Munro responded with an inaudible comment, according to a White House transcript, leading Obama to say: “I didn’t ask for an argument. I’m answering your question.”
Munro continued to ask questions, including after Obama finished speaking and walked away.
“What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?” he asked.
After the speech, Munro explained what happened.
“I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president,” he said, according to the Daily Caller. “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. “I know he rarely takes questions before walking away from the podium. When I asked the question as he finished his speech, he turned his back on the many reporters, and walked away while I and at least one other reporter asked questions.”
Neil Patel, publisher of the Daily Caller, said his reporter tried to time his question to be first at the end of the speech. “He in no way meant to heckle the President of the United States,” he said on the website.
Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of the website, added: “I don’t remember Diane Sawyer scolding her colleague Sam Donaldson for heckling President Reagan. And she shouldn’t have. A reporter’s job is to ask questions and get answers. Our job is to find out what the federal government is up to. Politicians often don’t want to tell us. A good reporter gets the story. We’re proud of Neil Munro.”