A woman in the crowd suddenly rose from her seat and said: “Mr. President, we wrote you a song,” according to the White House pool report. The president attempted to quiet her, but the woman and her table of donors at the St. Regis Hotel breakfast broke into song and raised signs that read “Free Bradley Manning”–the Army intelligence specialist accused of releasing diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Yesterday, it was reported that Manning had been moved to a less restrictive prison following pressure from human rights groups.
The protesters said they had spent $5,000 donating to Obama. “We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes that’s true. Look at the Republicans–what else can we do?” they reportedly chanted.
“We paid our dues. Where’s our change?” they sang.
You can watch a clip of the protesters below, via the San Francisco Chronicle:
As the protesters sang, the pool report notes that Obama turned to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, to ask if she was responsible for the interruption. “Nancy, did you do this?” he reportedly asked. Her look said she did not, according to the report.
The woman who first addressed the president was escorted out of the room and Obama told the crowd “that was a nice song.”
He quickly resumed his speech.
Adam Martin reports for Atlantic Wire that the song lyrics can be found on the website for Fresh Juice, a group that offers money in exchange for video of people singing its songs in public. “Fresh Juice appears to be linked to Courage to Resist, an activist group that supports members of the military who go against U.S. war efforts,” Martin wrote.