Former President Barack Obama dealt with a heckler in Michigan on Saturday while stumping for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Obama — speaking in front of a packed house in Detroit — expressed despair at the ongoing radicalization of U.S. politics and warned that “more people are gonna get hurt” if tensions do not deescalate.
Obama was interrupted by a heckler who shouted out during a pause in the former president’s speech. The interrupter, a male, could not be understood from initial video.
“Sir, this is what I’m saying,” Obama said to the heckler, exasperated. “We’ve got a process that we set up in our democracy.”
The former president continued, “Right now, I’m talking, you’ll have a chance to talk sometime later. You wouldn’t do that in a workplace.”
The crowd reacted negatively to the outburst, booing the heckler before chanting “Obama” to drown out the back-and-forth.
Obama, who remains the most popular person in the Democratic Party nearly six years after he left the White House, is trying to perform some last-minute political magic as Democrats desperately try to hold onto their razor-thin congressional majorities in the midterm elections. The former president is headlining rallies in five states holding key Senate and gubernatorial races.
The former two-term president kicked off his efforts in the key southeastern battleground state of Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, the pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, is running for a full six-year term in the Senate.
With Democrats facing historical headwinds — the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers major setbacks in the ensuing midterm elections — and a rough political climate fueled by record inflation, soaring crime and a border crisis and accentuated by President Biden’s rebounding but still underwater approval ratings, Obama’s mission is to try to energize the party’s base.
The former two-term president heads to the purple state of Nevada on Tuesday, and the crucial northeastern battleground of Pennsylvania on Nov. 5.
Four of the states Obama is visiting hold high-stakes Senate elections that will likely determine which party will control the chamber’s majority going forward, and four hold high-profile gubernatorial contests.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.