President Barack Obama got more than he bargained for while speaking in Syracuse, New York, on Thursday night, as shouts from a heckler prompted a deteriorating situation that the President couldn’t control.
Obama’s speech at Henninger High School was his second stop on his bus tour about college affordability. And while the POTUS received a warm welcome from the crowd, partway through the talk, one member of the audience loudly voiced her displeasure — apparently over the sentencing of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, according to The Hill.
“I hear you,” Obama responded as the female audience member shouted. “I got you.”
The crowd began to boo, and Obama was unable to bring things back under control for several moments as the woman was escorted from the room.
“No, no, no, that’s fine,” he said. “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We’re okay. We’re okay. That’s okay. Hold on a second. Hold on. Hold on. Hello, everybody, hello.”
Finally, Obama seemed to get a handle on the situation and laughed it off by saying the woman was “polite” as hecklers go.
“And she brought up an issue of importance, and that’s part of what America is all about,” he added, before smoothly moving back into his prepared remarks.
On Wednesday, a military judge sentence Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Government transparency advocates have praised Manning for his actions, but prominent national security experts have denounced his disclosures for apparently endangering American interests worldwide.
Earlier on Thursday, Obama also gave a speech at the State University of New York Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York, touting his so-called new plans to make higher education more affordable.
Watch a segment of Obama’s speech below: