CBS News's From the Road Blog carries a report this afternoon titled, "Obama Speech Interrupted by Hecklers." In Florida today, it's noted,
Three young African-American men stood up holding a sign that read "What About the Black Community, Obama?" as Barack Obama was talking about the economy at a town hall meeting here. Once the crowd realized what the sign, many started booing loudly, which caused Obama to turn around and look at the protesters.
Later, the piece updates with:
During a question and answer session, Obama called on one of the hecklers.
The word "heckle" is defined as "to harass (a public speaker, performer, etc.) with impertinent questions, gibes, or the like; badger." The word conveys an element of disrespect and incivility.
The word "protest," on the other hand, carries little of the acrimony associated with heckle.
So it's interesting to see that in June when John McCain addressed the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and was heckled, CBS News's From the Road blog reported it differently:
Then ten minutes into his speech, McCain was interrupted by the first of four protestors.
“We want a peace candidate,” a woman yelled. As she was escorted out of the large room she continued to yell “He doesn’t represent Arizona! We want a peace candidate!”
“That’s a long trip out,” McCain laughed. The crowd cheered as he said, “The one thing Americans want us to stop doing is yelling at each other. That’s the one thing they want us to stop doing.”
The second and third protestors were escorted out just as quickly as the first, and the fourth protestor only made a larger stir among the press, as he had been seated within the press section.
Obama gets hecklers. McCain gets protesters. I see.