August 14th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Protester shares stage with President Obama

BOONE, Iowa (CNN) –President Barack Obama addressed an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2,000 supporters in Boone, Iowa, Monday, but even among the most diehard of fans it wasn't hard to find a critic.

Krishna Prabhu, a recent college graduate from Ames, Iowa, stood just over the president's left shoulder throughout his remarks at the Herman Park pavilion. A few minutes after Obama took the stage, Prabhu quietly unfolded a regular piece of white printer paper with the words "FUND PEPFAR" printed on it in big black letters. He held it silently for about five minutes in full view of the audience and all the television cameras aimed at the president's remarks, and then just as quietly, he refolded the paper and put it away.

PEPFAR – or the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief – was started by President George W. Bush in 2003 and is widely viewed as one of the great successes of his administration. The program was renewed by Congress in 2008 with a $48 billion commitment for fiscal years 2009 to 2013.

But some critics argue that after taking into account inflation in Africa and increased global demand for treatment, funding has effectively flat lined or even decreased under Obama. Prabhu is one of those critics.

"My message was, look if you're going to promise an AIDS-free generation you've got to at least maintain funding because there are millions of people who still need treatment," Prabhu told CNN after the event. "The U.S. is one of the most generous donors and so a cut like that especially in an economic crisis can be devastating in terms of human health."

Prabhu is an otherwise vocal supporter of the president. He caucused for Obama as a young college student in 2008 and has volunteered for his campaign in Iowa since graduating from Harvard last spring. Set to begin medical school in the fall, Prabhu became passionate about global health after taking a service trip to Uganda and seeing entire communities ravaged by AIDS.

His quiet protest at Monday's event was meant as a harmless way to get the "wonks" in the Obama Administration to pay more attention to the importance of funding PEPFAR, Prabhu said, but not to harm the president's chances in this key swing state.

"There's no question that between the two sides I choose President Obama, but it is hard to kind of nuance a message and hold the president accountable for his promises," Prabhu said. "He came into office promising huge increases in AIDS funding, about $50 billion over five years and it's just been met with flatlining and now actual cuts. So in terms of fulfilling a promise and maintaining funding that a lot of vulnerable people are depending on he hasn't done his job."

Monday's demonstration was "kind of tame" for Prabhu, who said he has protested much more vocally at political rallies in the past. But as a supporter of the president, he didn't want to cause too big of a scene.

"[The campaign] kind of told me to take it down," Prabhu said, referring to his sign. "And I did because I didn't want to cause a ruckus. At the end of the day, [Obama's] vulnerable in Iowa and you don't want to mess anything up."

Topics: Iowa • President Obama • Protesters

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Steveo

    ""There's no question that between the two sides I choose President Obama"
    "Prabhu is an otherwise vocal supporter of the president. He caucused for Obama as a young college student in 2008 and has volunteered for his campaign in Iowa since graduating from Harvard last spring"
    This is what you're calling a protester? He is a supporter who differs on ONE ISSUE! He did not shout anyone down like the lefy at te Romney rally this past week end! THAT was a protester!!

    August 14, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • John

      This is CNN...

      August 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • Howard

        Obama is a con man ... the mainstream media are his shills ... and, the American people are his marks.

        August 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  2. Lionel

    Did you see how the Romney security guards dragged out a protester. At least Obama has the decency to let a protester stand beside him and have his message heard.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    August 14, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Steveo


      August 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • HomeSweetHome

        Go look at it again. First there was a woman grabbing the arm of each of the ladies one with a hat and the other with a red top, then Ryan called in security.

        Wow, Reps really do not pay attention. No wonder they vote against their own best interest every time.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • HomeSweetHome

        As for the Guy. He was well behaved, but like anyone that does not agree with Romney his Base wants to silence them. You know like voter suppression and the like.

        Except they forget the American People have been here before and they will prevail.

        Romney and Ryan both need to go figure out what they will do with their time starting on November 7.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
      • Steveo


        You turn your TV down? Is that why you didn't hear that protester trying to shout Romney down? Exactly what do you think the Obama people would have done if the other guy started shouting Obama down? I am sure you know! Your just too busy shaking those pom poms!

        August 15, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Lizzie

      Did you see the protester PUNCH a volunteer.

      August 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • Kool-Aid Police

        It was a paid Obama thug.

        August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • HomeSweetHome

        Nope only the Reps pay their Thugs. Remember what Scott Walker said from Wisconsin? No I guess you do not.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Kool-Aid Police

      Wake up from the kool-aid coma Lionel.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • BlkPwr817

        If you're scared, say you're scared...LOL

        August 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        You and droll kool-aid comment. Guess when you have reversed brain engineering going on there is nothing to be done about it.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • daveyoung

      Did you see how Obama`s nose grew 3/8 of an inch during his speech ?

      August 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  3. Tom

    It's funny how all these protesters are to the left of the candidates. Obama is more conservative than mainstream thinking, and Romney is on another planet all together.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • daveyoung

      Go light another joint Tom, and lie down for a while.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  4. Andy in Minneapolis

    MAYBE IF I TYPE IN ALL CAPS PEOPLE WILL THINK I'M SHOUTING AND TAKE ME VERY VERY SERIOUSLY. Hey, nucklehead, people protest in all sorts of ways, this one is known as 'passive' or 'silent' protesting. Don't be jealous, if you wanted to make headlines an outspoken republican should have shown up and been disruptive. Kudos for this guy getting a message accros while being respectful. Go ISU Cyclones!

    August 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Steveo

      If you don't have a chat with December 2012 about his caps use, don't say anythin about it now!
      nuckle head? I guess that is better than being a knucklehead. Anyway, we do agree that this guy was respectful unlike the left at the Rromney rally! See, we can agree on sometihng!

      August 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • HomeSweetHome

        Here is the problem. Romney will not go and talk to groups that do not look like him.

        So the People have to take the questions to him.

        Someone one forgot to remind Romney that he is running to be the POTUS for "All the People" not just the 2%.

        Also not "All the People" tune into F O X.

        Remember America we had a POTUS from 2000 – 2008 that did not care about All the People and you remember where that got us.

        It is time Romney understand this is not a Corporate Board Room. He has to talk to all the People.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • Caramon

        Homesweethome. Maybe Romney should go talk to a group like, gee, maybe the NAACP?

        August 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • HomeSweetHome

        Romney did not go to the NAACP to talk with the people. He went there to show the Rep Base he was one of them.

        Problem is all he did was alienate another group of people.

        His Base still does not trust him and he made very sure he lost the minority and women's vote.

        And to add salt to the wound, the T/P "made" him take on Ryan as his VP. Ryan is more of a liability then a help.

        Any wise Business man knows Ryan as to much baggage. Go's to show you Romney knows the only way to win this is to STEAL it.

        Obama/Biden 2012, Let's move Forward

        August 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Steveo


        Romney did not go to the NAACP to talk with the people. He went there to show the Rep Base he was one of them.
        Now your the Amazing Randy, mind reader? IF Romney wanted to show the GOP he was one of them, he would have attended a GOP rally instead of an NAACP event! Sorry, but this mind reading thing is not working for you!

        August 15, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  5. Lizzie

    If the Obama campaign would have know, he would NEVER made it on stage.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • BlkPwr817

      You don't know that. We see you've learned how to lie pretty well like the Romney/Ryan ticket.
      But since you're not the POTUS or part of his magnificent campaign, we'll NEVER know what they would've done.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • silly liberals

        What lies?
        You mean lying to COngress about Fast and Furious, the illegal taxpayer funded gifts to his donor base t fail companies at our expense?
        Maybe the lies about transparency, cutting debt, making the WH visitor log available to people could see who comes and goes at the "people's house".
        As long as Obama looks like you and keeps handing you a welfare check, you are ignorant and bliss and you can keep on your "bedroom slippers".

        August 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Judy

    lizzie 's last name is borden . Wack wack. The president ususlly lets people protest with out strong arming them out of the area. Thats the difference between candidates. He really does believe in free speach. Forward. 2012

    August 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • John

      You libs are insane. Do you think the SS would let a non-supporter get this close to BO? He made folls out of you libs again.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • bb

      Oh my judy, lonny and cindy l. I know it sucks when back a loser, they have classes for the issues u all have they are called anger management.. FACE IT OBLUNDER AINT GETTIN IT DONE. this isnt about repub or dems its about an inept joke in the oval office who needs to be replaced end of story

      August 20, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • bb

      Sure, free speech??? what about fast and furious, no ones aloud to talk about that. How about at press meeting telling people to quite while hes lying (look it up) These bozo pres of yours is trying to take all our rights away, how can u not see that??? unless short bus???

      August 20, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  7. KeepFearAlive

    How funny that Mitt romney required MULTIPLE years of Tax Returns from Each and EVERY POTENTIAL VEEP, because it was important to Fully vet someone who would be as close as a heartbeat away from the presidetn, Yet they feel the American people Don;t deserve a Fully Vetted Presidential contender because someone from the obama administration might pick it apart... I think they call that ' If can;t take the heat, get the Hell out of the Kitchen." Fact is, romney Provided TWENTY THREE YEARS to John McCain ... who , after seeing those tax returns, decided on Someone else ... now , no american is supposed to even have the audacity to ask for a few years back on romneys tax returns, settling instead for, the current and 'future ' T ax returns that have been ALL PRETTIED up for our carefule scrutinous eyes.. Mittens is a Hopeless Shape shifter with absolutely No Core, No Personality and possibly devoid a soul .. and EVERY REPUBLICAN already knows it ... which is why they will only reluctantly vote for him ... becuase in their minds, it's better than the black man ...

    August 14, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • John

      How funny is it tht Obama applied to college as a forgein student and he refuses to release his transripts.
      I use to think Obama was a good man who was over his head. After almost 4 years of seeing what he is doing – he is not a good man, he is a con man who knows exactly what he is doing. He is doing and saying anything possible, including mostly telling lies.
      How telling is it when the supposed leader of a country talks about the people he is suppose to be leading and calls them the "enemy" or "the other side" People like me elected this con man now he refers to me as "the other side". The real clown is in the WH openly working against people like me, working Americans.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        Harry Reid has credible information from a credible source inside Bain, that Mitt has NOT PAID TAXES IN TEN YEARS!!! If Harry is lying where is Mitt's lawsuit against him? Mitt is NERVOUS.

        August 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • Steveo

        Cynthia L

        Harry Reid has credible information from a credible source inside Bain, that Mitt has NOT PAID TAXES IN TEN YEARS!!! If Harry is lying where is Mitt's lawsuit against him? Mitt is NERVOUS.

        If Romney sued, the FIRST thing the left would chant is he has thin skin! You know that too!!

        August 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • silly liberals

        Cynthia, the village called and they miss their idiot and want you to return ASAP.

        Wonder why Obama sealed the Fast and Furious files.

        August 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  8. RomneyCares Less

    Shows Us your TAXES M.R.!

    August 14, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Kool-Aid Police

      It wouldn't matter if he showed you every return in his life, you're a loyal lefty and will vote for Obama anyway. Who are you trying to fool?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • BlkPwr817

        Clowns like you who would probably suffer under the laws that Romney/Ryan will try to pass. Don't hide the way you really feel like Mitt hiding his taxes. We all know your

        August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • John

        What scares me is 4 more years of a person in the WH that looks like the last 4 years. You should know;
        8+% unemployment is normal under Obama – that is very bad.
        Limiting drilling for oil in this country while at the same time funing PetroBra to drillin Brazil wih American money is stupid and very bad for the future of this country. This country is floundering right now and it all has to do with the lack of leadership at the top – and blind followers like you who support the con man.

        August 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • John

      He has shown us his taxes.
      Last week he said he was willing to release another year of taxes if BO released all his college records, including the one where he applied as a forgien student. Are you surprised that BO ignored this? I am not. It took BO 3 years into his tenure before he released his BC. You libs are classic. Just like the Medicare argument. Obama is cutting BILLIONS from Medicare with Obamacare, but he tells you dumb libs the repubs want to "end Medicare as we know it". What we know is if nothing is done Medicare will go broke. That is why the REPUBS NEED TO FIX IT...

      August 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • KeepFearAlive

        JOHN.. you're suck a fantastic liar... first you say that you voted for barack obama and then you proceed to drag out every crappy parade float of a fox news talking point when we ALL know you never voted for BO because you're a republican thru and thru and can never make your own decisions because you need to be told what to think.... there;s not a president Alive that had to show their college grades, ( or their Birth certificate ) .. but only in the circus world of Donald trump and YOU would you come up with such an Assinine request from a SITTING PRESISDENT .... you are a real ASS who needs a long walk in some heavy traffic .. oh and you're a bad liar too ...

        August 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • november2012

        they had president George Bushes transcripts...and his medical records and his dui arrest records, and his military records and really clinton did seal his medical records probably because of drug use and VD... And, there has never been a president where his citizenship was a question...for the record...EVER...dumb@s$

        August 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • silly liberals

      Liberals are more concerned about what someone does with their own money and not what Obama has done with taxpayer money. You are a good little follower and I am sure you will be rewarded with another welfare check.

      Do you even wonder or care that there will be no charges in the illegal activities at MF Global? I know it may hurt your brain cell, but do a little research, but since it only supports that this admin is corrupt, you will not bother. Just follow what your masters tell you.

      August 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • bb

      Show us yours curious what welfare is a year now???

      August 20, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  9. degazmatic

    this is how you protest!. you get that rethuglicans.... not with guns calling for the death of someone...but then again
    Inside the Mind of the
    Republican voter:

    Broken Economy= can be fixed in a day.
    Millions of tax payer dollars to the rich =responsible.
    Food for the poor =irresponsible
    Fixing the economy= Not as important as making the president look bad.
    Better healthcare= Of course, but only for the rich.
    CNN= Liberal Media
    Reuters=Liberal Media
    NY Times= Liberal Media
    FOX= Good Journalism
    CBC=Liberal Media
    BBC=Liberal Media
    MSNBC=Liberal Media
    Seperation of Church and State=Christian Haters
    Equal Rights for Women=Bible says no
    G.W. Bush=Don't Remember.
    Science=Liberal Satanic Lies
    Bush's Mess=Obamas Fault
    Protect Workers=Socialist
    Not Republican=Libturd
    Not my flavor of Christianity=Cult

    seems legit

    August 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      Dressage = Tax deduction for family fun

      August 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • november2012

        I guess ghetto hogs like you can't afford a horse can you.... they made their money and this disturbs your ilk, ever wonder why?

        August 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        I've owned five horses. Never asked for anyone else to pay taxes for them.

        August 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • november2012

      free stuff= marxist ideologue...and poverty results.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        Brian Bender of the BOSTON GLOBE reported today that Congressman Paul Ryan bashed the Presidents Stimulus in 2009 as wrong-headed, BUT TURNED AROUND and sent 4 LETTERS ASKING FOR $20 MILLION in Stimulus funds for a Wisconsin District saying it would create 7,600 NEW JOBS. Then later said the Stimulus didn't help but the District that received it SAID THAT IT DID.

        August 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • d

      Wow that's a lot of hate.
      Don't go shooting people at temples now.

      August 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
      • degazmatic

        hahahaha... dont worry.i'm anti gun and anti war. the only war i believe are worth fighting are wars on poverty, hunger and ignorance... and we have enough resources to win 2 out of 3. the last one sadly depends on the person. you cant force someone to learn unfortunately. Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 01:40:41 +0000 To:

        August 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • silly liberals

      Is a labotomy required to be a liberal?

      August 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • degazmatic

        hahahahahaha....... so what now? are you going to accuse me of being a terrorist sympathizer? a jesus hater? a commie socialist? you don't even know me yet you claim that i'm a liberal.... well if your the opposite of a liberal then i take that as a compliment. while your at it.. why don't you continue blaming obama for the drought or claim that he gutted medicare... all the while bishop willard is running on a platform to CUT wages... but anything is better than a kenyan usurper.... bet you didn't know willard is half mexican... but i guess mexicans rank higher than africans... as long as they don't steal our jobs!!!(that we don't want to do anyway)Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 21:14:17 +0000 To:

        August 17, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  10. daveyoung

    He forgot to hold up the correct sign. It said "Obama Lies Like a Rug"

    August 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • HomeSweetHome

      I guess Reps should know about lieing since they do it with out even skipping a beat.

      Right Romney!

      August 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  11. daveyoung

    The Yokemaster tries to sell more Yokes in Iowa...."it`s fun" he said – "here, let me put this yoke on your neck".

    August 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Peggy Munro

    He seems like a polite, respectful and sensible gentleman. He is most likely an independent or perhaps even a Liberal.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  13. november2012

    interesting....most people have no idea about the work Mr and Mrs George Bush have done in Africa before, during, and after their presidency. Ask slick willie clinton how much money hen has made selling his presidency...the speeches and board directorships and etc... the rags to riches manipulation of the sucker left wing voter.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      The Koch Brother Billionaires – Americans for Prosperity- is estimated to be spending a whooping 200 MILLION $$ on the Presidental campaign. Paul Ryan is happy to show up to their rallies and has been in closed door meetings with them on issues that involve Energy as reported today by another Congressman.
      Tonight Paul Ryan is at a fund raiser given by BILLIONAIRE Sheldon Adelson BLOCKING THE PRESS FOR THE EVENT.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
      • bb

        cindi, please read more than what msnbc tells u to reid (yes thats a pun), if oblunder wins, kiss america good bye
        Face it he is inept, not cause hes a dumbocrap, he is hust inept

        August 20, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  14. Aprophet

    November please come as fast as you can. So we can send R&R on a for R&R.

    August 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  15. James DeVries

    Since the outcome of the presidential election is a foregone conclusion, the vituperative nature of so many of the comments belies the idea that this campaign has not grabbed people's attention. Apparently, though, it hasn't grabbed many people's frontal lobes. Also, the spelling is fairly atrocious.

    The interest shown is astonishing though. The Republican party will place Romney in nomination and then select him on the first ballot as a compensation prize. They know he's in the same impossible position that Bob Dole was in 1996 (you remember, he said tobacco wasn't so bad and fell off the stage), or John McCain in 2008. W. Mitt Romney's bound to lose, Ryan or no Ryan. The Republicans don't want him as President, and they don't Ryan as Vice President. They know the duo haven't got a chance against Obama and the avuncular Biden. That's why they're choosing them. So they can say, "Well, we gave you a chance."

    I'm a former Iowan, grew up there. Know what I'm looking at.

    August 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • James DeVries

      There I am, criticising folks' spelling, and leave out "want" between "don't" and "Ryan" in my fourth from last sentence. Poetic justice!

      August 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
      • bb

        Dude, what is wrong with you??? ans=ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!

        August 20, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  16. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aids is a terriable disase. But the U.S. cannot baby sit the world. Hell we can't even fund every liberal program here. We have given Foreign Aid out the gumpstump over the decades. But what thanks do we get from our own beggers. None All they want is more and more and more. We are broke trying to fund big Liberal Programs.

    August 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Cynthia L.

      Aids Funding for Africa was big for Bush. They love him for that. He was just over there not too long ago to help build a Women's Clinic to be used in the fight against cervical cancer. Funny, him being a Texan and not saying anything to the folks in his own state about saving women's clinics there.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  17. d

    This is why CNN's ratings are the lowest in 20 years.

    August 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  18. ed [calif.]

    I watch and listen to TV, please don't forget the american value we all know and their speeches are so violent, their vocabulary are shameful to hear, it's irratting to our ears...etc, they need to tune down. the world are looking and hearing such violent in american way of lifes. American people need to put them in notice...shameful...we know better and can do better? how about it? we need to watch our american attitude. The Church need to pray for such hate voices.

    August 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  19. Cryos

    Another fluff piece for Obama how cute.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  20. iowaboy

    Obama has already accused Romney of killing a guy's wife, being a felon, being a tax cheat, being a money launderer, closing factories just to abuse families, being a draft dodger, torturing a dog, and assaulting a fellow student. The Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama's America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.. The left is using any event as a distraction as it pursues the Saul Alinsky tactics of community organizing. Obama's game plan is to divide the community into the Haves and the Have Nots, make the Have Nots believe they are unjustly treated by the Haves, build resentment against the American social and economic system, use church congregations to mobilize street agitators, and lobby government for higher taxes and big-spending welfare programs in order to confiscate the wealth and power of the Haves and turn it over to the Have Nots.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:01 am |