Protest over accused WikiLeaker disrupts Obama fund-raiser

A high-end fund-raiser for President Obama in San Francisco was disrupted Thursday by a protest over Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified information to the site WikiLeaks.

A table of 10 attending the $5,000-a-ticket fund-raiser broke into a song in the middle of the president’s remarks, held at a downtown hotel, criticizing the administration’s treatment of Manning.

According to a White House pool report, Obama was speaking to about 200 supporters when a woman stood up at one of the tables of 10 attendees and declared that the group had written a song.

Obama tried to convince the woman to wait, the report said, but the table then broke into a song that referenced Manning, the cost of the fundraiser, and Florida Rev. Terry Jones, who recently burned a copy of the Koran and sparked an outcry in Afghanistan.

"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," they sang.

The group passed around signs that read “Free Bradley Manning.”

The pool reporter, Carol E. Lee of the Wall Street Journal, reported that Obama took the song “in stride” although she also noted that he looked “displeased,” as did House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was also present.

The woman was soon escorted from the ballroom by aides.

“That was a nice song,” Obama said. “Now where was I?”

Pentagon officials recently announced that Manning, who is charged with 34 counts, including aiding the enemy, would be transferred from the Marine brig at Quantico, Va., where he was kept in conditions akin to solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and heavily chained when he was moved, to a medium-security facility in Leavenworth, Kan., where he likely will enjoy more freedom in his daily activities.

Human rights groups have been pressuring the Obama administration on Manning’s treatment. 

Obama is scheduled to proceed to Reno on Thursday for a town-hall event and then to Los Angeles for more fund-raisers.

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