It was a rare showing of bipartisan effort Tuesday as President Obama’s critics from both the left and right united to protest his visit in Phoenix, Arizona. “Hundreds” of protesters from different ends of the political spectrum showed up outside Desert Vista High School, occasionally clashing with each other when criticisms took on a racially charged tinge.
Protesters spoke out on a number of issues: the Keystone pipeline, the attacks on the U.S. Benghazi Embassy, the president’s handling of the housing crisis, and immigration all received attention, as well as more general voices of discontent.
Some protesters apparently couldn’t help themselves, as racial elements were injected into the conversation. Arizona Central reports:
Obama foes at one point sang, Bye Bye Black Sheep, a derogatory reference to the president’s skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, Impeach the Half-White Muslim! […] It just kind of happened naturally, said Michael Pomales of how the opposing sides separated. Pomales, an 18-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident who graduated in the spring from Desert Vista High, said he decided to join the protesters side to spread a little love as the crowds began shouting at each other. Pomales said his response to people yelling for Obama to go back from where he came from is simple: He’s a great man. He cares about what I care about, education, jobs. He’s our president. He’s an American. […] Obama is ruining American values. He is ruining the Constitution. He needs to go back to where he came from because obviously, he is a liar, one protester told Arizona Central. I am not racist. I am part Indian. Obama’s half Black, half White.
The president was in Phoenix to propose an overhaul of the nation’s mortgage finance system and the recovering housing market.