Ammiano refuses to apologize for heckling

October 9, 2009 1:02:20 AM PDT
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., walked into a buzz saw of boos and worse, all compliments of major players in the Democratic Party in San Francisco. Top party leaders are calling the rowdy reception inappropriate, but one of the most vocal politicians at that event is making no apologies.

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The governor was a surprise guest of former mayor Willie Brown at a Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco.

In cell phone video of the event Ammiano can be heard yelling "You lie!" and other disparaging remarks while the governor was speaking, including, "Kiss my gay ass." Ammiano tells ABC7 he has no regrets.

"We're not the Stepford party. You know people have strong reactions and human reactions and that's what we did," says Ammiano.

There are no apologies from Ammiano who points out he could have used even harsher words.

The governor happened to be staying at the same hotel where the Democratic Party was having a fundraiser. He popped in to say hello and was introduced by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Brown was not amused at the greeting his friend received.

"I am absolutely flabbergasted that in San Francisco we don't have a level of civility in the world of public service any greater than some of the places we criticize," says Brown.

Democrats had plenty of criticism for South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson when he yelled out "You lie!" at President Barack Obama's congressional address on health care last month. The outburst prompted calls for civility among the parties.

Ammiano also yelled "You lie," but he says the governor provoked the negative response by showing up at a Democratic event. The crowd was full of people who oppose the governor's budget cuts and his stance on gay rights.

"I know what was not appropriate was him coming in thinking that all the pernicious acts that he has done, particularly against people with AIDS and in San Francisco, was going to be OK by him just being there," says Ammiano.

"And he should express that in an appropriate forum, some town hall meeting he may have," says Brown.

The governor is taking it all in stride saying about the event, "Compared to the reaction I got at Hyannis Port when I told the Kennedys I was marrying Maria, it was fantastic."

However, Ammiano isn't laughing. He says he wasn't joking and that he's speaking up for those who are impacted by the governor's decisions.

Brown thinks this will hurt Ammiano's career, pointing out that in politics, you never know who you'll need a favor from next.

LINK: Watch video of the incident

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