Michelle Obama confronts heckler at fundraiser

WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama threatened to leave a fundraiser Tuesday evening unless a protester quit interrupting her speech.

Mrs. Obama was speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Washington.

According to a pool report from a reporter who attended the event, an audience member started shouting in support of an executive order on gay rights halfway through Mrs. Obama's remarks.

Mrs. Obama moved toward the protester and said the person would either, quote, "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving."

The crowd started shouting for Mrs. Obama to stay. The protester was then escorted out of the event.

The Washington Post quotes witnesses as saying the first lady confronted the protester "eye-to-eye."

The New York Times reports Mrs. Obama was about 12 minutes into her 20-minute speech at a home in Northwest Washington when a woman "at the front of a crowd of about 200 people began shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The Times adds that, as she was escorted out, the protester shouted some more, at one point describing herself as a "lesbian looking for federal equality before I die."

According to the Times, "Heather Cronk, a co-director of GetEqual, a group that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, later identified the heckler as one of its activists, Ellen Sturtz. Three other GetEqual activists were also at the event, Ms. Cronk said."
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