Barack Obama | ENDA | GetEQUAL | Michelle Obama | News

Michelle Obama Gets in Gay Heckler's Face at DNC Fundraiser: VIDEO


Michelle Obama was speaking at a fundraiser in Northwest Washington when Ellen Sturtz, an activist from the LGBT group GetEQUAL interrupted her speech, demanding that President Obama sign an executive order barring workplace discrimination.

The WaPo reports:

Obama showed her displeasure – pausing to confront Sturtz eye to eye, according to witnesses.
“One of the things that I don’t do well is this,” she said to applause from most of the guests, according to a White House transcript. “Do you understand?”

A pool report from a reporter in the room said Obama “left the lectern and moved over to the protester.” The pool report quoted Obama as saying: “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

Obama’s suggestion that she would leave was not included in the official White House transcript.

Sturtz told the WaPo that she was "taken aback" at Obama's response to the heckling: “She came right down in my face."

Added Sturtz: “I said I want your husband to sign the executive orde. Her husband could sign this order tonight and protect 22 percent of the work force in this country.”

Sturtz was reportedly escorted from the fundraiser after the crowd asked Obama to stay.

No cameras were reportedly allowed at the event. At least no video has shown up yet.

Watch ABC News' report on the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade spoke at lenth with Sturtz following the incident.

UPDATE: The GetEQUAL organizers involved in the demonstration have issued the following statement.

"LGBT people in North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio and all over the country are dehumanized in our jobs, and we are forced into the closet in order to participate in the American dream. We value the First Lady's leadership and invite her to lead the charge within the Democratic Party to end employment discrimination. President Obama has an executive order sitting on his desk that can protect a quarter of the labor force in the U.S. from workplace discrimination, we will continue engaging leaders in the Administration and the Democratic Party until President Obama fulfills a promise to our community made five years ago."

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  1. So why doesn't her husband sign it?

    Posted by: ugh | Jun 5, 2013 7:43:06 AM

  2. So why doesn't her husband sign it?

    Posted by: ugh | Jun 5, 2013 7:43:06 AM

  3. Sturtz sounds as rude and disrespectful as Code Pink. Or that woman who used to dog Pres Bush and the media loved - what was the name Cindy Shee-Sheecan-SheeSOMETHING. She's gone now.
    I remember Laura Bush and "Shut up. Or I'm leaving" and everyone was all "oh, you so bad, FLOTUS, you tell them...."

    Posted by: MIke | Jun 5, 2013 7:44:33 AM

  4. This was a small fundraiser in a private home, not some big media fundraising event.

    To be shouted down in front of a small a small room...just plain rude.

    These are the kind of fundraisers in which the speakers mingle...and you can "make your pitch" without being such a jerk about it.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Jun 5, 2013 7:57:30 AM

  5. childish

    Posted by: gomez | Jun 5, 2013 8:01:06 AM

  6. There's a time for "act up" and a time to sit back and wait your turn. It's all in the delivery and timing.

    Simply put: Sturtz blew it.

    I don't blame flotus for getting pissy, I probably would have done worse.

    Posted by: johnny | Jun 5, 2013 8:01:16 AM

  7. Yes, it's rude and inappropriate to shout at a speaker during their prepared remarks. You're just disrupting the event for everyone. If you want to protest go stand outside and do so.

    One of the White House correspondents should ask Jay Carney today why the President won't sign an ENDA executive order. The next time the President does a sit down interview or press conference he should be asked as well.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jun 5, 2013 8:03:17 AM

  8. It's pointless. The protester achieved nothing.Like Michelle controls policy? It's nothing but self-aggrandizement, which is why Code Pink gets little to no respect.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 5, 2013 8:03:23 AM

  9. Ok, the heckler was "taken aback" by the first lady "coming right down in her face", but her actions were completely fine?

    Sounds to me like Mrs Obama was much more civil than she was. Apparently, Sturtz can dish it out but she can't take it.

    Posted by: Laura | Jun 5, 2013 8:07:12 AM

  10. Welcome to the classless way GetEQUAL operates. They claim a lot of victories but really just mooch off the hard work others put in to get these things done. Mostly stuff like this is a soapbox for their organization than really effecting change.

    It's time someone shouts down GetEQUAL.

    Posted by: RBearSAT | Jun 5, 2013 8:07:28 AM

  11. I understand the frustration; however, this was disrespectful not only to the First Lady, but also to the President. Sturtz apparently thinks Obama is the kind of man who will do something just because his wife tells him to.

    Posted by: Chadd | Jun 5, 2013 8:07:56 AM

  12. This piece of trash deserves to have somebody "get in her face". At least Michelle doesn't take that kind of abuse, unlike her husband. Good for her.

    Posted by: Tyler | Jun 5, 2013 8:11:25 AM

  13. This heckler did her cause -- our cause -- no favors, and probably did a bit of harm.

    If you don't know how to protest effectively, keep your damned mouth shut and write a check to aid people who know what they're doing.

    Posted by: K in VA | Jun 5, 2013 8:11:25 AM

  14. How dare these uppity gays demand equality. Haven't we given them enough lip service, do they actual expect action.

    Posted by: Uppity_Gay | Jun 5, 2013 8:11:58 AM

  15. @Mike -- Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Bush's war against the wrong enemy. She thought the lives of thousands of Americans were more valuable than one psycho's Oedipus complex resolution.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 5, 2013 8:26:40 AM

  16. A more effective way would have been for Obama to take the woman aside rather than grandstanding and tell her she empathizes with her feelings and cause and that if she's allowed to finish her talk without interruption, then she and the protestor can talk more face-to-face about her concerns afterward. The way this story is spun, Obama just looks like she lacks the je ne sais quoi to handle life's hiccups.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Jun 5, 2013 8:31:34 AM

  17. GetEQUAL did not help the case, not at all. It is just rude and disrespectful and doesn't accomplish anything.

    There is still a long way to go until we have full equality, but still Obama have done more for lgbtq people than all other Presidents have done together before. so I`m with mrs Obama all the way.

    Posted by: nn | Jun 5, 2013 8:36:38 AM

  18. This was inappropriate and embarrassing for the gay community.

    Posted by: Jon | Jun 5, 2013 8:36:49 AM

  19. "This is something I don't do well." - one of the most succinct phrases I've heard in a long while. I gotta use that, and often, right before I tear somebody a new a-hole. Shelly O, we luv ya!

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Jun 5, 2013 8:37:19 AM

  20. Whiney, childish, vicious, crazy behavior

    Posted by: Javier | Jun 5, 2013 8:42:13 AM

  21. Absolutely embarrassing.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jun 5, 2013 8:43:47 AM

  22. @Sean: That would have been a great way for the President to handle the situation, but Michelle has no political authority. When Michelle got home and told her husband about being heckled by someone who wanted him to sign something, does anyone think that would make him more willing to sign it? Give in to the bullies just so they stop being bullies? Further, Michelle wasn't there to even discuss ENDA, so why should Michelle extend the courtesy to privately discuss an issue with someone who had just shouted her down in public? Dealing with life's hiccups sometimes means not giving in to the person who thinks that they can get their way just by yelling the loudest.

    Posted by: Chadd | Jun 5, 2013 8:45:25 AM

  23. I'm reminded of Wanda Sykes' "Who is the REAL Michelle Obama?" joke. That "this is something I don't do well" line is priceless, I think we almost found out!

    Posted by: antisaint | Jun 5, 2013 8:48:23 AM

  24. Obama needs to stop dragging his feet on enacting ENDA. Do it now, Mr President, or you will lose our support.

    As for Michelle, fancy her saying that there's only one choice. That's something that a tyrant would say.

    Posted by: Adam | Jun 5, 2013 8:52:36 AM

  25. Oh man. Is it up to me to point out that the posters on here calling Sturtz 'trash' and 'disrespectful' would have been delighted if she had done the same thing to Laura Bush or GW himself?

    To those who say it was ineffective, I actually disagree, and think it took balls for Sturtz to be able to get into such an exclusive and intimate setting and confront Ms. Obama. WHY DOESN'T THE PRESIDENT JUST SIGN IT? Huh? He's 'progressive' and says nice things about how he likes gay people and thinks personally they should have all the same civil rights as everyone else.

    Give me a phuking break. These politicians and their partners. Michelle was in this situation was filling in for her husband, the president [she's also an experienced high rolling corporate lawyer to boot], so she absolutely is fair game. SAME GOES FOR ANY POTUS/first lady, regardless of their political affiliations. In the case of the Obamas, they don't get a pass because they're allegedly 'progressive' [they aren't, they work for the same people the Bush's worked for] or because they're black. That doesn't fly, except for a minority [and that's not a racial reference] of people.

    And Sheehan is still around and doing her thing. It's just her 'progressive' so-called friends [at least the Democratic party shills and hacks] have dropped her like a hot potato. When was the last antiwar protest on the scale and frequency that they occurred under GW, taken place?


    Obama was a brilliant pick by the powers that be, the real power in our society. They ran him as a Democratic 'progressive', ran a weak opponent, got him elected, he does their bidding, and the 'progressives' and especially the black folks STFU. They can't criticize him because he's a 'progressive' black man! Brilliant move.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 5, 2013 8:52:52 AM

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