No time for debate
Protesters surprise House majority leader Eric Cantor at Rice lecture
Rice University President David Leebron opened the event with a brief introduction welcoming Cantor and touted the university's "value of community and respect."
"It is an outrage to welcome Eric Cantor," the group yelled as security officials escorted them from Baker Hall.
As the applause died down and Cantor took to the podium, someone in the rear of the audience shouted "mic check," garnering a noisy response from nearly 15 protesters.
"It is an outrage to welcome Eric Cantor," the group yelled as security officials escorted them from Baker Hall. They shouted protests against Cantor's support of Wall Street and his opposition to rights for immigrants and the gay community.
Rice authorities detained and later released all involved in the public disruption, according to posts on Occupy Houston's Twitter page. It's not completely clear which individuals or organizations initiated the Cantor protest.
At least one protester outside the hall was a recognized Occupy Houston participant and the protesters used standard Occupy techniques, including the "mic check" opening. Occupy Houston also tweeted about the protest. But several Rice students contacted CultureMap saying that university students are the ones responsible for planning and carrying out the Cantor disruption and that students were the ones who actually disrupted Cantor's speech inside Baker.
While the crowd remained stunned by the interruption, several audience members cheered the Rice police and shouted angry quips as the protesters were ushered out of the building. "Those were clearly not Rice students," someone shouted out from the audience while Leebron was on stage.
All attendees were asked to show Rice IDs or media credentials before entering the hall.
"Only in America," the House leader smiled, appearing unfazed, and perhaps even unsurprised. In October, Cantor canceled a speech at the University of Pennsylvania in light of a planned “Occupy Eric Cantor” event organized by protesters in Philadelphia.
Using Steve Jobs as a prime example, Cantor also vowed to support business "trailblazers" who risk failure to pursue their visions.
Cantor centered his talk around his grandmother's early struggles as an immigrant from Eastern Europe, stressing the importance of "hard work, faith, family and opportunity." Using Steve Jobs as a prime example, he also vowed to support business "trailblazers" who risk failure to pursue their visions.
"We should be rewarding their success," he said, speaking against regulation and higher taxes for the wealthy. "We've got to double-down on the American Dream."
Watch C-SPAN's video of Eric Cantor's talk and the protest interruption.