President Barack Obama called a pro-Bradley Manning heckler polite, even as she was removed from a high school in Syracuse N.Y., on Thursday.
The president was speaking about promoting college affordability to a crowd of about 1,355 people at Henninger High School when someone started shouting to free Manning, the Army private was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years for providing classified information to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
A woman shouts at US President Barack Obama as others display a banner asking for the freedom of Wikileaker Bradley Manning as Obama speaks on education at the Henninger High School on August 22, 2013 in Syracuse, New York. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
“I hear you, I hear you,” Obama responded to the heckler. The heckler continued, and much of the rest of the audience shouted her down.
The president’s speech was interrupted for about a minute as he tried to control the crowd that was shouting down the heckler.
“It’s OK. It’s OK,” the president added. The raucous high school auditorium continued.
“Hold on everybody, hold on. Hold on a minute. So, you know, hold on a second,” Obama said.
The heckler was removed from the building, according to the White House pool report.
“Can I just say that as hecklers go, that young lady was very polite. She was,” Obama said to some laughter. “And she brought up an issue of importance, and that’s part of what America is all about.”
He used this to segue to his main point.
“But, what America is also about is making sure that middle class families have a fair shake seat and that people who work hard can get into the middle class,” Obama said.