Obama Defends Clinton Protester, Tells Crowd to “Respect” His Right to Free Speech

“We live in a country that respects free speech.”


Speaking at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Friday, President Barack Obama came to the defense of a man protesting Hillary Clinton.

At first, attendees ignored the president’s calls to stop heckling the demonstrator. “Hey everybody, listen up!” Obama said, trying to regain control of the crowd. “I told you to be focused and you’re not focused right now. Hold up. Everybody be quiet for a second!”

“You’ve got an older gentleman who is supporting his candidate,” he explained. “He’s not doing nothing, you don’t have to worry about him. You don’t have to worry about him. This is what I mean about not being focused. First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks maybe like he maybe served in our military and we gotta respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we gotta respect our elders.”

And then the famous Obama rejoinder: “Fourth of all, don’t boo. Vote!

The moment stood in stark contrast to the sometimes vitriolic scenes at Trump rallies, where attendees have been dragged out and roughed up after protesting. “Get him out of here,” Trump said at one rally last November. “Throw him out!”

At another campaign event in February, Trump said: “So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell—I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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