Periodically in every presidency, a mere mortal interrupts the president at a public event, giving voice to the relatively powerless people who don't like him. George W. Bush was interrupted most famously by the Iraqi shoe thrower, who became a hero among American liberals and many Iraqis. On Friday, President Obama got interrupted far less dramatically by a man wearing sunglasses and a lanyard who nevertheless seemed to give voice to the many people unhappy with this adminisration. But not all voices of the conservative people are created equal. Here, we've graded several of the most successfully rude Obama interrupters.
Interrupter: Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro
Event: Obama's Rose Garden speech announcing an executive order suspending the deportation of young immigrants were brought to America as kids.
Interruption: "Why’d you favor foreigners over Americans?" and "Are you going to take questions?"
Immediate apology: The Daily Caller characterized the interruption as a simple misunderstanding. Munro said in a statement, "I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States. I know he rarely takes questions before walking away from the podium. When I asked the question as he finished his speech, he turned his back on the many reporters, and walked away while I and at least one other reporter asked questions."
Reaction: "The only problem with the @DailyCaller's version of events in the Rose Garden today: reality," The Wall Street Journal's Neil King tweeted.
Rating: Munro gets points for visibly annoying the president and picking a slow news day. However, his line is not much of a zinger, and he looks dumb with his sunglasses and bangs. Always dress your best for a presidential interruption. C
Interrupter: South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson
Event: Obama's special address to a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009.
Interruption: "You lie!"
Immediate apology: Right after the speech ended, Wilson put out a statement: "This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility." Later, his campaign aired an ad in which his wife confessed, "Joe called me after the speech on Wednesday night and I said, 'Joe, who's the nut that hollered out, "You lie" or "You Liar"?'"
Reaction: Wilson was booed, and the House voted to admonish him for breaking decorum. Two years later, Wilson and some conservatives said he was right when he said Obama was lying when he said illegal immigrants wouldn't benefit from Obamacare.
Rating: It was short and sweet. Wilson got his point across in just two words, and they were caught by the TV microphones. Sure, he was parodied on Saturday Night Live, but he was made to look like a clueless buffoon, not a monster. And he raised tons of money off it. A
Interrupter: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
Event: Air Force One lands in Phoenix, January 25, 2012.
Interruption: We can only guess based on that finger. Obama and Brewer talked "intensely" for several minutes, and their aides told reporters the subject was Brewer's book Scorpions for Breakfast. Brewer's version: She interrupted because, "It wasn’t long before I realized I was hearing the president’s stump speech… Only I was supposed to listen without talking." Obama's version: "The president said he’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book." (Photo via Associated Press.)
Immediate apology: None. Brewer gloated.
Reaction: Liberals called her tacky, her finger-pointing image was printed on T-shirts.
Rating: The image was good. But there's no classic line from the event. B
Interrupter: Bill O'Reilly
Event: Interview on Fox News during the 2009 Super Bowl.
Interruption: The number of interruptions (48!) was bigger news than what O'Reilly interrupted with. But one stood out: "Does it disturb you that so many people hate you"
Immediate apology: No apology. O'Reilly recapped his interview on his show the following day.
Reaction: O'Reilly was mostly mocked for being arrogant, as he was on Saturday Night Live.
Rating: It was a prolonged episode, showing O'Reilly really sticking it to the president, but he delivered no immortal zinger. C
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.