This is a pretty interesting video from the Chronicle’s Politics Blog, taken outside Michelle Obama’s fundraiser at the Claremont Hotel on Tuesday. It shows Naomi Pitcairn, one of the organizers of the singing protesters who serenaded President Obama at an April fundraiser at San Francisco’s St. Regis Hotel, chanting “Free Bradley Manning.” (See video of that here.) Only she’s interrupted by the arrival of the First Lady’s motorcade, accompanied by an outburst of approval from the crowd. The Chron then interviews Danine Manette, who becomes quite emotional when describing her feelings about Mrs. Obama.

Danine Manette,: She’s just made it so wonderful for us. The African American mother, woman, American. She just makes me feel so empowered. She empowers my children, she empowers my family. She’s all about women, she’s all about family, she’s all about career, she’s all about country. I love everything about her.

Naomi Pitcairn: Do you love the war?

Danine Manette: I love Michelle Obama!… (Over Naomi’s singing) I saw her! She waved at me!

Racial dichotomies aside (Naomi is white, Danine African-American), one might view the encounter as emblematic of two types of responses to the Obama phenomenon: One disappointed, embittered, and — at least self-descriptively — realistic; the other purely emotional and deeply responsive to a symbolism that still resonates two-and-a-half years after Obama’s election.

The Chronicle, you may know, got into a spat with the Obama administration over its recording of the original protest, getting tossed from its press pool. (The White House says that’s not true, exactly.)

Since we once posted an entire interview I conducted with one of the protesters, Elizabeth Stephens, not only will I be barred from the press pool, I’m assuming, but I probably won’t even be able to get in to the White House tour.

Video: Two Responses to Michelle Obama at Fundraiser 15 June,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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