WASHINGTON – Ten supporters of accused whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning paid at least $5,000 to attend a fundraiser with President Barack Obama Thursday and interrupted his speech with a song protesting soldier's treatment.
Obama was speaking at a San Francisco hotel to a room of about 200 donors -- some of whom paid as much as $35,800 to attend the event -- "when a woman in a white suit stood up and said, Mr. President we wrote you a song," according to a White House pool report.
The president tried to convince her to wait, but she and her table ignored him, all ten of them breaking out into a song that protested Manning's detention in a "6x12 cell" for "23 hours a day." They sang, "We paid our dues, where's our change?"
As they began singing, a flustered Obama looked over at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who introduced him, and she reportedly looked equally dumbfounded by what was happening. The woman in the white suit then removed her jacket to show that she was wearing a t-shirt that read "Free Bradley Manning" and had an image of him.
The ten singers passed around sheets of paper that read "Free Bradley Manning" or had photos of the soldier accused of passing U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks.
"That was a nice song," Obama said after it was over, appearing displeased. "Now where was I?"
"Now there's an example of creativity," he later quipped.
The issue erupted onto the national stage last month when former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley resigned after calling the Pentagon's treatment of Manning "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
Watch them sing the song, the lyrics of which were transcribed by pooler Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal:
Dear Mr. President we honor you today sir
Each of us brought you $5,000
It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign
I paid my dues, where's our change?
We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true
Look at the Republicans - what else can we do
Even though we don't know if we'll retain our liberties
In what you seem content to call a free society
Yes it's true that Terry Jones is legally free
To burn a people's holy book in shameful effigy
But at another location in this country
Alone in a 6x12 cell sits Bradley
23 hours a day is night
The 5th and 8th Amendments say this kind of thing ain't right
We paid our dues, where's our change?
[Via Huffington Post]