CREDIT: Creative Commons
ST. CHARLES, Missouri — Conferencegoers attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday laughed and cheered at the suggestion that President Obama was on his way to hell.
The outburst came during former National Rifle Association President David Keene’s speech at a regional version of the influential conference just outside of St. Louis. After Keene said he didn’t know where Obama would go after leaving office, an audience member in the conference’s main hall shouted “Hell!”:
KEENE: If we remember what it is we’re about, what it is we want to accomplish, and if we organize around those principles and stand for them, people will stand with us. They will make those calls. They will pound the pavement. They will demand of those who they elect to public office and whose salaries they pay through their taxes that they represent them, and not some mayor from New York, or some president from Chicago who’s on his way to Lord knows where when he leaves office.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hell! [Laughter from audience]
Keene had no apparent reaction to the comment.
CPAC, a longtime bastion of far-right conservatives, has seen controversial audience outbursts before. This March, a panel on race relations at the national CPAC gathering near Washington D.C. descended into chaos after a white audience member defended slavery and scolded blacks for not appreciating the “food and shelter” they received during bondage.
Inopportune audience interjections at conservative events aren’t limited to CPAC. GOP debate crowds yelled out during a 2012 election debate to let uninsured people in the emergency room die rather than cover their expenses. They also cheered when it was announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has overseen 234 executions during his time in office. What Republican audiences have found fit to boo, however, was a gay soldier who wanted to know why he shouldn’t be allowed to serve his country and love his partner.