President Obama's carefully written remarks on the fate of the Guantanamo Bay prison hit a major snag Thursday -- a loud and insistent protester.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the antiwar group known as Code Pink, continually interrupted Obama as he talked about steps to close Gitmo, arguing that it should have been done already.
"You are commander in chief," Benjamin said. "You can close Guantanamo today!"
The woman kept shouting as Obama tried with limited success to resume his speech: "Let me finish ... let me finish, ma'am ... I'm about to address it, ma'am, but you've -- you've got to let me speak. I'm about to address it ... Let me address it ... Why don't you let me address it, ma'am? Why don't you sit down, and I will tell you exactly what I'm going to do?"
The increasingly irritated president, who was trying to outline revamped steps to close down the Gitmo prison, re-started, only to be interrupted again.
"Now, this is part of free speech," Obama said. "You being able to speak, but also you listening and me being able to speak, right?"
As security officials began to gathered around Benjamin, she shouted at one point about Gitmo: "It's been 11 years!"
At another, Benjamin began yelling over the death of the 16-year-old son of a terrorist suspect during a drone strike.
"Is that the way we treat a 16-year-old?" Benjamin was heard to say.
Obama said at one point, "You should let me finish my sentence."
Benjamin went on: "Will you compensate the innocent family victims? That will make us safer here at home. I love my country. I love the rule of law. Drones are making us less safe."
As Benjamin continued to talk -- and was eventually escorted from the hall -- Obama said her words and those of other protesters have to be taken seriously.
The president also made a little joke about the situation.
"I'm going off-script, as you might expect here," he told the crowd, drawing chuckles.
"The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to," Obama said. "Obviously, I do not agree with much of what she said. And obviously, she wasn't listening to me in much of what I said. But these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong."