Speed Reads

shouts and murmurs

Obama spins Arizona heckling incident into lesson on toxic politics: 'We have to stay focused'

Former President Barack Obama was heckled during a Wednesday rally in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was stumping for Democrats Sen. Mark Kelly and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs.

Republicans want "an economy that's very good for folks at the very top, but not always so good for ordinary people," Obama said during the event, per The Washington Post.

But a man interrupted: "Like you, Obama!" 

The former president then calmed down the crowd (which had broken out boos) before asking the "young man" to "just listen for a second. You know you have to be polite and civil when people are talking, then other people are talking and then you get a chance to talk."

"Set up your own rally!" Obama went on. "A lot of people worked hard for this. Come on, man."

As the event continued and the crowd quieted down, Obama spun the heckling incident into a lesson on civility and extremism in politics, the Post notes. "You got one person yelling and suddenly everybody's yelling. You get one tweet that's stupid and suddenly everybody's obsessed with the tweet," he said. "We can't fall for that. We have to stay focused."

The former president was heckled last week, as well, during an appearance in Michigan on behalf of Democratic candidate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.