Protester during Obama’s “I can’t close Guantánamo” speech: “You are commander-in-chief”

A Code Pink protester interrupted President Obama repeatedly today during his big “Why I can’t close Guantánamo,” plus Drone Transparency, speech. There’s video below. But first, from the White House Press Office and a pool reporter via email (my emphasis and paragraphing):

White House Press Office wrote:

Remarks are open press but some color from inside the room, including the protester, who interrupted POTUS in the middle of his speech. The crowd–about 300 people– was quiet throughout the speech. Some took notes, some took photos on their smartphones.

Towards the end of POTUS speech, the protester, from Code Pink began screaming. Her name is Medea Benjamin. She has strawberry blond hair and was wearing a black and white dress and blazer on top.


Obama, as the Code Pink protester was yelling.

You are commander in chief. You can close Guantanamo today!” The woman began.

POTUS urged her to let him finish several times. “You should let me finish my sentence,” he said one time. Several security officials gathered around her and let her stay.

“It’s been 11 years!” She said later.

“Let me finish,” Obama said.

Finally, she was escorted out. “I love my country. I love the rule of law… Abide by the rule of law. You’re a constitutional lawyer,” she shouted at POTUS as she was escorted out.

More civil disobedience and disruption by a nation getting tired of getting had? Seems like it to me. Now the video, courtesy of CBS News. There are several versions of this out there; this one seems to be complete.

More comment at BuzzFeed. Note the laughter by the press corps as Obama jokes with them as soon as the woman is escorted out. (Shades of “no WMDs here”? You decide.) Then Obama frames his Gauntánamo-prisoning self as the friend of civil liberties. Nice speech, though at odds with his deeds, clearly. But why this new tone? Where’s the guy with Osama on the point of his spear and hippie-hating in his heart?

Like Clinton during Lewinsky-gate, Obama now needs his base

I could not have said it more clearly than digby and Joan McCarter did on last weekend’s Virtually Speaking Sundays — it’s second-term scandal season, the IRS dust-up has right-wing legs, Fox is all over “Bengazi”, and Obama now needs his base. Joan and digby made their point in regard to why no more benefit cuts push from Obama, and tied it to Clinton’s abandoned plan to privatize Social Security after a certain blue dress failed to get a cleaning.

But the point is general. Watch for Obama to be lavish with base-friendly words so long as Fox holds all these phony scandals up for outrage. If the outrage or outrages start to take hold, as some have, Obama will pivot to suddenly liking the left, just as he does during campaign season. In my opinion — and also McCarter’s and digby’s — the pivot has already started.

My response? He’s still Obama, and we have way too much history with him. Don’t . be . fooled.

Posted for your amusement and his discomfort. After all, she’s right. Despite his framing, he really can close the place anytime he has the courage or the will to do so.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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