Midway through the speech, Munro was heard to shout “Why do you favour foreigners over Americans?” to which the President responded “Excuse me, sir, but it’s not time for questions.”
Munro persisted and asked “Are you going to take questions?” causing the visibly annoyed Obama to snap back “Not while I’m speaking.”
When the president finished his speech, he turned his attention to Munro and said: “In answer to your question, sir; and the next time I’d prefer you’d let me finish my statement before you ask that question; this is the right thing to do for the American people.”
Munro is currently a political reporter with online website ‘The Daily Caller’ run by right wing pundit Tucker Carlson who later issued a statement backing Munro’s behaviour after ABC Anchor Diane Sawyer called him a heckler. The statement read: ”I don’t remember Diane Sawyer scolding her colleague Sam Donaldson for heckling President Reagan. And she shouldn’t have. A reporter’s job is to ask questions and get answers. Our job is to find out what the federal government is up to. Politicians often don’t want to tell us. A good reporter gets the story. We’re proud of Neil Munro.”
Munro previously came to the attention of the Democrats after antagonising attorney general Eric Holder last year after alleging there was Congressional pressure on Holder to resign.
After yesterday’s incident, Munro posted a statement to the Daily Caller website denying that he intended to interrupt the president.
“I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president. 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.”
Munro is originally from Ireland and studied at University College DubLin, gaining a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, History and Economics before marrying an American.
On his Twitter page Munro describes himself as “Born Irish then became a cold war bridegroom. I worked at Defence News Washington Technology, then 10 years at National Journal and now at the DC, Lucky Me.”
Obama had announced that the Department of Homeland Security will stop deportations and grant work permits for students from overseas who meet certain requirements. The chance affects people who arrived in the country before turning 16, have lived there for five years and are still under 30. The executive order will affect an estimated 800.000, and commentators suggest that the announcement was designed to divide republicans ahead of the election and court the Latino vote in swing states.
The move caught Republican nominee Mitt Romney by surprise and it took him over six hours to respond, claiming that the President’s plan was a short term measure on an important matter to which Obama argued that his plans were a just thing to do, but did concede that it was not a permanent solution to immigration issue.
Afterwards fellow political commentators slammed Munro’s behaviour. Democratic strategist Julian Epstein said : “ We’ve never had a president like this heckled so disrespectfully” Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling wrote “When I heard someone interrupted the President I immediately wondered if it was Neil Munro. Most unprofessional reporter I’ve ever talked to.” Alex Burns of Politico said “Idiot from Daily Caller only undermines actual reporters with actual questions.”