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Presidential Heckling Quite Rare, Historian Says

BY   September 10, 2009 at 6:08 PM EDT

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., yells at President Obama; Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Open heckling of the president from members of Congress has happened only a few times in recent history according to Smith: Democrats heckled President George W. Bush’s 2005 State of the Union speech and two Democrats walked out of a 1975 Gerald Ford speech in protest.

Smith also cited a media environment that often rewards members for spectacular behavior, and he predicts Smith will become both lionized and demonized by the seperate sides of the political spectrum.

Listen to Smith’s full interview: