The president’s speech was interrupted by AIDS hecklers at a stop in Connecticut yesterday, prompting him to address them directly.
‘Let me just say this,’ he said, addressing the hecklers. ‘You’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing. ‘We’re funding global Aids,’ he continued defensively. ‘And the other [Republican] side is not. ‘So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take,’ he finished, jabbing his finger angrily in the direction of the hecklers. The crowds boos turned to cheers as Mr Obama – who was in the state campaigning for Democrat Richard Blumenthal – spoke. ‘So, what we would suggest,’ he added, ‘I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global Aids and shout at that rally. Because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed.’
Then he turned to another group of hecklers on his other side, adding: ‘You guys same thing.’ As more chants filled the rally, he said: ‘Alright, you guys have made your point, now let’s go.’ Fighting to regain the momentum of the rally, he held his hands up saying: ‘Everybody – we’re alright. ‘Come on guys,’ he said. He then fell silent again, watching with pursed lips as the crowd booed the hecklers once more. The President waited nearly 20 seconds for the noise to stop, then attempted again to continue with his speech.