Obama to AIDS, DADT Hecklers: Take Your Signs to Republicans
September 23, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)— President Obama was puzzled last night when sign-carrying AIDS and DADT hecklers interrupted his remarks at a New York Democratic fundraiser. Considering that the Obama administration increased funding for AIDS prevention and the entire Republican caucus in the senate voted against the repeal of the onerous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, President Obama told the hecklers they were at the wrong venue. “And folks should be hollering at the other folks’ events because the choice in November could not be clearer,” said Obama.
There is certainly a lot of frustration out there in our country right now, with both Democrats and Republicans. But for “Don’t ask, don’t tell” activists to heckle President Obama, just days after Republicans filibustered a defense appropriations bill, because it contained a repeal of DADT, is difficult to fathom.
Do AIDS activists and members of the LGBT community really believe they have a better shot with Republicans?
After the AIDS hecklers held up signs and loudly heckled President Obama, he stopped speaking to address them.
THE PRESIDENT: Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second. Hold on. Hold on, it’s okay. You don’t need to yell. Apparently you’re interested in funding AIDS. We’ve increased AIDS funding. I don’t know why you’re putting the sign up — (applause) — we’ve increased HIV/AIDS funding. But your message was delivered. We have increased AIDS funding at a time when the budget is going down.
Now — but we are here to talk about what’s at stake — we listened to you, we heard your point. And as I said before, we increased AIDS funding. Now if you want to have a conversation later about how we can increase it even more, it’s a conversation I’m happy to have.
But what I want to do is talk about what’s coming up. I want us to talk about what’s at stake in this election, because the people that potentially will take over if we don’t focus on this election I promise you will cuts AIDS funding — (applause) — so don’t — so this is not the time or the place to do what you’re talking about.
And later, Obama paused to address DADT hecklers, by reminding them who really has their back.
THE PRESIDENT: But no — but I want to make this point. This young lady here, she wants increases in AIDS funding. That’s great. We increased AIDS funding. She’d like more. I’m sure we could do more — if we’re able to grow this economy again and if we continue on the policies that we’re on.
Young man back there shouted “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As President, I have said we’re going to reverse it. I got the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I got the Secretary of Defense to say that we’re going to reverse it. (Applause.)
But hold on a second. But hold on a second. Think about — think about what happened in Congress two days ago where you got 56 Democrats voting to debate this issue, and zero Republicans. And as a consequence, some of those signs should be going up at the other folks’ events. (Applause.)
And folks should be hollering at the other folks’ events because the choice in November could not be clearer. A choice about what you want for the next two years — what you want the next two years to look like in this country.
You know what the other sides offer. It’d be one thing if the Republican candidates looked back at the last decade and they said, “You know what? Our policies didn’t work. We ended up in a terrible recession. Let’s try something new.” If they were championing your issues. Right? And you said, well, you know, maybe — maybe we’ve got an option here.
President Obama warned his audience that the greatest threat to the continuation of his policies and his vision for a better America, can be found within the Democratic Party.
“When I see all the polls, hear all the pundits, here’s what I take away from it,” Obama said. “The single biggest threat to our success is not the other party. It’s us. It’s complacency. It’s apathy. It’s indifference.”
The full text of the President’s remarks can be found here.
Photo Source: White House Flickr