President Obama was heckled and interrupted by gay activists -- shouting "broken promises" and "fund AIDS" -- during a campaign-style speech in New York where he was raising money for the Democratic Party.
The president told his critics -- a handful in an audience of several hundred at a midtown Manhattan hotel -- that the government has "increased AIDS funding." But he was interrupted again by the same woman. "We listened to you, we heard your point," he said, according to a White House pool report. ". . . It's a conversation I'm happy to have." But he could have added "not right now, please."
Obama faced similar disruptions during speeches at fundraising events for Sen. Barbara Boxer in California
last spring. In New York, demonstrators for years have loudly demanded more government money for AIDS treatment and research at events for politicians from both parties.
On Wednesday night, Obama also dealt with a man who was apparently angry over the Senate's failure to repeal the military's ban on gay men and lesbians openly serving in the armed forces. "Don't ask, don't tell," the guy shouted during the president's speech. Others chanted "Obama, Obama" to drown him out. At that point, the president departed from his stump speech. "We need your energy and enthusiasm," he said. "This young lady here, she wants an increase in AIDS funding. . . . I'm sure we could do more, if we're able to grow the economy again." As for DADT, "I said we should reverse it."