Former President Barack Obama taught a heckler to be “polite and civil” at a campaign event in Arizona on Wednesday night, calmly telling the disruptive man to “set up your own rally.”
The two-term president took to the stage in Phoenix to support Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs ahead of next week’s midterm elections.
In two closely watched races, Mr Kelly is fighting to retain his Senate seat in a race against Republican candidate Blake Masters while Ms Hobbs takes on Donald Trump-backed Kari Lake in the race for governor.
At Wednesday’s rally, Mr. Obama was telling the crowd that Republicans want “an economy that is very good for the people at the top, but not always so good for the ordinary people” when he was interrupted by a man who shouted.
“Like you, Obama!” cried the heckler.
The former president looked towards the culprit and initially attempted to continue his speech as the man continued to heckle.
Mr. Obama kept his cool, simply stopping and asking, “Are you going to start screaming?”
The crowd erupted in boos aimed at the heckler as Mr. Obama smiled and threw his hands up, calmly saying, “Don’t start yelling. Go on. Why are you starting to scream?
As the man continued to shout and the boos grew louder from the crowd, Mr Obama urged everyone present to remain calm.
“Wait, everyone,” he said. “Don’t get distracted. Hold on.”
Turning to the heckler, he gave him a lesson in how civil human speech works.
“Hey, young man, just listen for a second,” he told her.
“You have to be polite and civil when people talk, then other people talk and then you have the opportunity to talk.”
Mr. Obama went on to remind him of the hard work people had put into organizing the rally.
“Organise your own rally!” he said.
“A lot of people worked hard for this. Come on man.”
The heckler was escorted out of the crowd, allowing the rally to continue.
The former president used the rude interruption as an example of the state of American politics, where he says people are “distracted” from what is happening.
“Listen for a second, please. That’s what’s happening in our politics these days. We are distracted. You have one person screaming and everyone else screaming,” he said.
“You get a dumb tweet and suddenly everyone is obsessed with the tweet. We can’t fall for that. Gotta stay focused.”
Mr Obama’s cool response comes after he clashed with other hecklers while touring the midterms circuit last week.
At a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday, Obama urged lawmakers to “explicitly reject” dangerous rhetoric in the wake of the violent hammer attack on Paul Pelosi.
When he made the comments, he was interrupted by a shouting rowdy in the crowd.
Mr. Obama pointedly said to the man, “Sir, that’s what I mean… there’s a process that we have in place in our democracy.
“Right now, I’m talking. You will soon have the opportunity to speak.