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First lady Michelle Obama confronts heckler at fundraising event

Published: Wednesday, June 5 2013 10:15 a.m. MDT

First lady Michelle Obama gestures as she speaks during a visit to Savoy Elementary School in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2013. Obama fired back at a heckler on Tuesday night.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

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First lady Michelle Obama confronted a heckler on Tuesday night and threatened to leave the fundraising event if the woman didn't stop interrupting her speech.

CBS News and The Associated Press report that a female started shouting about gay rights at the event hosted by the Democratic National Committee, held at a home in northwest Washington.

"One of the things I don't do well is this," the first lady said in response to the shouting. According to a pool report from a reporter who attended, Obama then left the lectern, moved toward the protester and said the person could either "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving."

The New York Times reports that Obama was 12 minutes into her 20-minute speech when a woman "at the front of a crowd of about 200 people began shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The crowd yelled for Obama to stay. The heckler was then escorted out of the event.

The Times reports that GetEqual co-director Heather Cronk identified the heckler as one of its activists, Ellen Sturtz.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Sturtz said she was surprised by the first lady's response to her yelling.

"She came right down in my face," Sturtz told The Post. "I was taken aback."

The Times also reports as Sturtz was escorted out, she shouted some more, at one point describing herself as a "lesbian looking for federal equality before I die."

Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on June 5, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on Oct. 8, 2013 to link to original source material.

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