President Met With Shouts to Repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell”

Protesters shout it out during the president's LA visit

President Barack Obama was met with hollering gay rights protesters Monday night at the California Science Center.

Obama left LA Tuesday morning, a day after being interrupted  multiple times at a fundraiser by opponents of the "Don't ask, don't tell"  policy.

The president's motorcade might have prompted some shouts from motorists early Tuesday as it interrupted the morning drive on the 405 Freeway . The president arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at 8:15 p.m.

Monday night, though, anger centered around the fact that President Obama has not yet repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military.

"Repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell,'" an audience member shouted at the  second of two receptions Monday night at the California Science Center  benefiting the Democratic National Committee and Sen. Barbara Boxer's re- election campaign.

"We are going to do that," Obama said, repeating a pledge he made at  the State of the Union Address Jan. 27. "Hey hold on a second. We are going to  do that."

Other members of the audience then broke into shouts of "Yes we can," Obama's slogan during his presidential campaign.

"Let me say this -- when you've got an ally like Barbara Boxer and  you've got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don't  know exactly why you've got to holler because we already hear you," Obama  said, drawing applause. "I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that  at the people who oppose it."

Another protester later yelled, "It's time for equality for all  Americans."

Obama responded, "I'm sorry, do you want to come up here?'' drawing  applause. "Can I just say again Barbara and I are supportive of repealing  `Don't ask, don't tell,' so I don't know why you're hollering.''
The protester kept yelling, bringing Obama's remarks to a halt.

The crowd responded by again shouting "Yes we can!"

"Be quiet," someone yelled.

The protesters were members of GetEQUAL, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and  transgender group that also organized protests near the fundraiser and a  protest last month at the White House where Army Lt. Dan Choi and former Army  Capt. James Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to a gate.

Repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy would require congressional approval.

In his first visit to Southern California since May and his third since  taking office, Obama also spoke at another reception at the California Science Center and a dinner at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

About 1,400 people paid $250 to $2,500 per person to attend the second  reception. Those paying $2,500 were also admitted to the initial smaller  reception.

The lower-priced tickets were offered through the Democratic National  Committee's Gen44 program, which encourages students and younger professionals  to participate in politics.

A ticket to the dinner was $17,600 per person, a figure arrived at by  combining half the maximum $30,400 contribution to a national party committee  combined with the maximum $2,400 donation to a candidate. All the events sold  out.

Obama was scheduled to leave California on Tuesday. On his trip back to Washington, D.C., the president will probably receive briefings, read, call world leaders and watch the latest episode of HBO's "Treme," according to the Washington Post. The Post has a look at what the president does during long flights.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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