First lady Michelle Obama confronted face-to-face a heckler who interrupted a speech she was giving Tuesday night at a fundraiser.
About 10 minutes into a speech at a Democratic Party fundraiser, Ellen Sturtz, a lesbian activist, stood up and demanded President Barack Obama sign an anti-discrimination executive order, The Washington Post reports
According to witnesses, Michelle Obama stopped and looked straight at Sturtz.
"One of the things that I don't do well is this," she said while receiving applause from most of the crowd, according to a White House transcript. "Do you understand?"
A pool reporter covering the fundraiser said Obama "left the lectern and moved over to the protester," and said to Sturtz, "Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."
The White House transcript did not include the comments suggesting she would leave.
The audience, according to the reporter, asked Obama to stay. A woman nearby said to Sturtz: "You need to go." At that point, Sturtz was escorted out.
According to Politico
, as she was leaving, she shouted, "Lesbian looking for federal equality before I die."
In an interview later, Sturtz said she was stunned by the first lady's response.
"She came right down in my face," she said. "I was taken aback."
Sturtz claims that she responded to Obama by saying she would be happy to take the microphone and make her case, which, she said, seemed to surprise the first lady.
"I said I want your husband to sign the executive order," Sturtz said. "Her husband could sign this order tonight and protect 22 percent of the work force in this country."
The Democratic National Committee fundraiser was held at the Washington home of Karen Dixon and Nan Schaffer -- lesbians who married in Vancouver in 2008. The 200 guests paid between $500 and $10,000 to be there. Sturtz said she paid $500.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sturtz donated $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
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