Who Is Medea Benjamin, and Why Is She So Good at Heckling Public Officials?


CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin is surrounded by security as she shouts at President Barack Obama during his speech on national security, Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. She was removed from the auditorium.   (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Medea Benjamin heckles. A lot. Not only did she interrupt the president during his speech on national security issues Thursday, she has also abruptly stopped the speeches of Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, and the confirmation hearing of CIA administrator John Brennan. If there's an Occupy rally or a Republican convention, she'll probably be there, to speak out on antiwar issues.

Today, while being "escorted" by security out of the building, she shouted these questions, to which the president actually stopped talking to listen: "Can you tell the Muslim people their lives are as precious as our lives? Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA?" The Huffington Post was there and recorded video:

"I'm willing to cut that young lady interrupting me some slack, because it's worth being passionate about," Obama said.

Medea Benjamin does not lack passion. Here's what to know about her:

In 2002, she cofounded CODEPINK: Women for Peace, which is strongly against war and gun proliferation. The group is known for its high-profile actions, such as staging a four-month long vigil in front of the White House, heckling George W. Bush's second Inaugural Address, staging a "sit-in" in Nancy Pelosi's office, and attempting a citizen's arrest of Karl Rove.

Benjamin was born Susie Benjamin, but changed her name to Medea during her freshman year at Tufts University. The name is a reference to a character in Greek mythology best known for killing her children.

She ran for the California Senate in 2000 on the Green Party ticket.

She writes often for the Huffington Post.

She makes a great photobomb (see below).