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Obama interrupted by singing woman at fundraiser

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A group called the Fresh Juice Party says it pulled off the stunt
  • The woman expressed support for WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning
  • "We paid our dues, where's our change?" she and others sang
  • The woman was escorted out after completing the song

(CNN) -- A woman wearing a T-shirt supporting WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning interrupted President Barack Obama at a California fundraiser Thursday by breaking into song.

After completing her song, in which others at her table joined as it progressed, the unidentified woman was escorted out by two White House aides as she said: "Free Bradley Manning. I'm leaving. I hope I don't get tortured in jail."

Manning, an Army private first class suspected of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, was transferred to the Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, this week.

The 23-year-old military intelligence analyst from Oklahoma had been held in the brig at Quantico Marine Base south of Washington. Supporters complained he was confined in a one-man cell for 23 hours a day and forced to sleep without clothing. Protesters including "Pentagon Papers" leaker Daniel Ellsberg demonstrated on Manning's behalf last month.

The Pentagon has maintained that Manning was held in accordance with rules governing all maximum-custody detainees at Quantico, for his protection and the safety of others, and that Manning was on "POI" status, for "prevention of injury."

Obama's left coast fund-raising

A group calling itself the Fresh Juice Party said on its website it pulled off the stunt, in which the singing woman was joined by a table full of people who hummed along and held up placards saying "Free Bradley Manning."

They all sang the final line of the song: "We paid our dues. Where's the change?"

The song also referred to the money donated for the event at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, noting participants paid $5,000 to attend and saying: "We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true, Look at the Republicans, what else can we do?"

Obama appeared nonplussed by the interruption, letting the song continue without trying to stop it and saying at the end: "That was a nice song, much better voiced" than he could do it.

"Where was I?" Obama said in continuing his speech. "That didn't break my flow."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama joked about the interruption afterward, quoting the president as saying, "You don't get that every day."

U.S. military officials have told CNN that Manning is the prime suspect in the leak of hundreds of thousands of classified documents that ended up on the WikiLeaks website. He is awaiting a decision on whether he will face a court-martial.

Last month, the Army notified Manning that he faces 22 more charges in connection with the alleged downloading of secret information from computers in Iraq, bringing to 34 the total number of charges in the case. The most serious new charge alleges he aided the enemy by making the information public; that charge is punishable by death.

According to the Fresh Juice Party website, the stunt was its debut as a "satirical action group." It offered money to others who submit videos of themselves singing the song in front of public crowds.

The group's website posted the following lyrics to the song:

"Dear Mr. President, we honor you today, sir

"All of us have given you our tax dollars

"It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign

"I paid my dues, where's my change?

"We'll vote for you in 2012, yes, that's true

"Look at the Republicans - what else can we do?

"Even though we don't know if we'll retain our liberties

"In what you seem content to call a free society

"Yes, it's true that Terry Jones is legally free

"To burn a people's holy book in shameful effigy

"But at another location in this country

"Alone in a 6x12 cell sits Bradley

"23 hours a day is night

"The 5th and 8th Amendments say this kind of thing aint right

"Nobel Peace Prize/ Whistle blowers

"Guantanamo/ Quantico

"Juan Mendez/ Due Process

"Crimson Tide/ Laurence Tribe

"8th Amendment/ Cruel and Unusual

"5th Amendment/ Punishment before a trial

"Terry Jones/ Burnin' that Quran

"Promise of transparency/ Dennis Kucinich

"We paid our dues, where's our change?

"We paid our dues, where's our change?"

 
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