Obama accepts lawmaker's apology for outburst

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 8:18 AM
Last updated 3:00 PM
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MORE: See President Obama's response to Rep. Joe Wilson's apology for the outburst.

MORE: See Rep. Joe Wilson's apology for the outburst.

MORE: See Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at the speech.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama accepted a South Carolina Republican's apology for shouting, "You lie!" during his speech to Congress, and House Democratic leaders showed no interest in sanctions against Rep. Joe Wilson.

Obama said Thursday that Wilson apologized "quickly and without equivocation" and the congressman told reporters the shout-out was "spontaneous."

"We all make mistakes," Obama told reporters, a day after Wilson stunned the president and his colleagues with his outburst.

Infuriated Democrats briefly considered sanctioning the four-term congressman, but decided early to look beyond it.

"It's time for us to talk about health care, not Mr. Wilson," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Though stunned and visibly furious at the interruption, Pelosi said she opted not to gavel down Wilson on the spot. Obama, she said, was right to pitch right back into his speech and not "give it any more attention than it deserved."

"It was spontaneous," Wilson said Thursday. "It was when he (Obama) stated, as he did, about not (health care insurance) not covering illegal aliens ... We need to discuss the issues and I'm happy to do that."

Wilson told reporters he called the White House at the urging of senior Republicans and was grateful to have talked with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Wilson said he agreed with the White House' interest in pursuing "a civil conversation" on health care.

The reaction to Wilson's outburst, nevertheless, was punishing - even without the specter of official House action.

His Web site crashed, he took a beating on Twitter as Republicans and Democrats alike condemned his behavior.

Wilson bolted the chamber as soon as Obama was finished speaking. Shortly thereafter, he issued an apology and called the White House to deliver one to the president personally. But he ended up on the line with Rahm Emanuel, Obama's fiery chief of staff, instead.

"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me," he said in a statement. "While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."

The morning talk shows were mere hours away.

"I was embarrassed for the chamber and a Congress I love," Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America." ''It demeaned the institution."

"I know that Congressman Wilson has issued an apology and made his thoughts known to the White House, which was the appropriate thing to do," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. said.

Invoked the House's guest chaplain as the floor session opened Thursday: "Gracious God, we meet in a challenging moment of your history. We cannot control all that may endanger us, but we can choose our behavior and the example we set as leaders," said The Very Rev. George L.W. Werner, dean emeritus of Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

Back on Wilson's home turf, the uproar turned into a boon for Democrat Rob Miller, his opponent in next year's midterm elections.

In the first 24 hours after Wilson's outburst, Miller's campaign coffers swelled by $200,000, according to Jessica Santillo of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The contribution, she said, came in from 5,000 individual contributions.

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aftbrn
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aftbrn 09/10/09 - 08:31 am
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Even though Wilson's manners

Even though Wilson's manners are in question. It's about time the president was called out. This slacker has done nothing but line the pockets of his friends at our expense and why would we think that this wasn't another opportunity to do so. This president has done nothing but take vacation after vacation while us the working population have struggled just to make ends meet. Something really stinks in the Whitehouse, it's about time someone called him out for what he is.

trucksareforgirlz
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trucksareforgirlz 09/10/09 - 08:34 am
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Rep. Wilson was way out of

Rep. Wilson was way out of line with how he expressed his comments during the President's speech. While I agree with Wilson's comments, his actions during the speech were disrespectful. However, CNN should mind their manners as well. Their so-called reporters continue to be extremely disrespectful of those who properly express their opinions. Instead of the real issues with health care being on the forefront, Rep Wilson's actions will now be the focus of the news. Wilson and Sanford should both be removed from office. They are a disgrace to those they represent in SC and a detriment to their government positions.

WhippingPost
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WhippingPost 09/10/09 - 08:49 am
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The office of President

The office of President deserves respect, especially when addressing the joint congress. Also, the joint congress deserves respect, as does the American public. The president should try to control his lying while on television. Congressman Wilson was out of line and an insincere public apology is in order.

mad_max
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mad_max 09/10/09 - 09:05 am
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Wilson's comment was no more

Wilson's comment was no more disrespectful than the Democrats during Bush's State of the Union speeches and I applaud his courage. He was the only one in the room who spoke the truth last night. You never heard anyone complaining when the Democrats heckled Bush during the State of the Union and Wilson's comment was pretty mild by comparison. Obama does lie. Illegal aliens will be covered. We WILL be taxed to pay for all of this (we who work). Seniors WILL receive LESS CARE because Obama is going to ROB MEDICARE TO PAY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS AND THOSE WHO NEVER PAID INTO THE SYSTEM. Obama DOES LIE. Hooray for Joe WIlson for calling him on it.

talktome
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talktome 09/10/09 - 09:06 am
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The nerve of you aftrburn

The nerve of you aftrburn calling the president a slacker, and the thought of you for one time thinking he vacations all the time is absolutely absurb. I take from the tone of your message you are a republican and nothing is wrong with that. Bush sat on his behind and played war games for eight years after he stole a place in the white house and now everything is the current presidents fault. You mentioned vacations cheney vacationed, shot friends, and stayed in the hospital for eight years and now he has one of the loudest voices against the president. I just gave you two of the biggest slackers in white house history so go use your tax payer dollars and research why the economy is the way it is, it started years before Obama ever truly won his election.

reddog
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reddog 09/10/09 - 09:20 am
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All you angry folks need to

All you angry folks need to form an army and take back the nation you built. No need for name calling or anything else; we are not getting anywhere with all the theatrics. Let South Carolina be the first to secede and you all get you grey jackets and muskets and do whatever is necessary--since you are the only contributing humans on the planet. I agree whole heartedly with you plight.

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 09:25 am
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As if Paul Broun with his

As if Paul Broun with his talk of President Obama creating a National Police force intent on taking our guns and civil liberties away isn't idiotic enough, I see that the CSRA is aptly represented by another idiot on the other side of the River who can control himself no better in public than a group of unmedicated autistics on a field trip.

b1
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b1 09/10/09 - 09:26 am
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It's only out of line when

It's only out of line when something like this happens to a democrate! if this were Bush, this guy would be a hero!

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 09/10/09 - 09:26 am
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Obama stated firmly at the

Obama stated firmly at the end of his speech that those who disagree with him would be "called out". Well, THAT is what Joe Wilson did. HE called out Obama on HIS continued lie after lie after lie.....Way to go Joe!

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 09/10/09 - 09:29 am
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Hey talktome, you are right.

Hey talktome, you are right. The bad economy began TWO years before your messiah took office. The economy headed into the toilet right after Pelosi and Reid took control of congress in 2006. Thank you for pointing out the TRUTH about who is responsible for the horrible economy!

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 09:32 am
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B1, It's spelled "democrat"

B1,
It's spelled "democrat" genius. If you had made it past the 6th grade, you would likely get this correct. I'm sure your opinion is most probably based on editorial cartoons rather than a measured weighing of the facts.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 09/10/09 - 09:34 am
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It's seemed to me that Mr.

It's seemed to me that Mr. Wilson was expressing a truth..something the other speaker was not....I'm sure his apology was heartfelt and sincere (yeah right)...he got his point across in front of the world....good job sir!

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 09:42 am
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I have, in hand, a copy of HR

I have, in hand, a copy of HR 3200 (that would be the Health Care bill before Congress at the moment). I challenge any of you Einsteins that are posting here in Joe Wilson's defense to reply back to me and tell me what page and section in this bill provides for free health care for illegal aliens (above and beyond what is currently provided to them in emergency room services). I bet none of you can do it.

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 09:43 am
0
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I'm waiting.......

I'm waiting.......

convertedsoutherner
2
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convertedsoutherner 09/10/09 - 09:51 am
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The dims can insult call the

The dims can insult call the American citizens names; prezbho can lie and threaten citizens; can appoint crooks, liars, cheats, communists and socialists to his admin and his fawning followers say nothing. But just let a conservative tell the truth about prezbho and libs get hysterical. libs continue to be blind and gullible and continue to ignore the truth. You just can't make this stuff up and it keeps getting better every day.

alleycat
62
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alleycat 09/10/09 - 09:52 am
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He said what many others were

He said what many others were thinking ..... He didn't throw something at him he just made his opinion known. Which is the opinion of many others. Obama deserves NO more respect than Bush got. He deserves way less. Pray People that all his lies will be exposed and others will open their eyes and see!

Big_vike
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Big_vike 09/10/09 - 09:56 am
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Keep waiting Ben, you have a

Keep waiting Ben, you have a copy of ONE of the Health Care Bills in front of you, and it isn't in its final form, and as history has shown, it doesn't matter whats in the bill, add on's always follow. Obama is a Serial Liar, he will say whatever it takes to get his Liberal agenda passed. I love how he makes a vague proclamation "reform health care" makes Congress the fall guys (Pelosi deserves it) and now has to backpeddle when confronted by angry americans who do not want to pay for deadbeats healthcare, like we paid for their mortgages they couldn't afford, and the cars they couldn't afford that we the taxpayers just subsidized in the form of 4500 rebates. I can't wait for the first "I couldn't really afford this car, and now its been repossessed" story. Chicago politics, you gotta love it, rush it through before anyone has a chance to read it because they don't know whats good for them.

convertedsoutherner
2
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convertedsoutherner 09/10/09 - 09:57 am
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Pay attention to the words

Pay attention to the words prezbho uses. You might remember that the dims want to make all illegals - legal. How long do you think it will take them to pass a law (to make them legal) after this prezbhocare is passed?

alleycat
62
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alleycat 09/10/09 - 10:00 am
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convertedsoutherner wonder

convertedsoutherner wonder why people are so willing to risk their childrens future after hearing all the lies. Just because they despise white people and think they have pulled one over on them...LOL If only they would have waited there would have been a sincire honest black person running for president everyone could have been proud of. A President that loves his country ,

sgachief
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sgachief 09/10/09 - 10:04 am
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Way to go Rep. Wilson, keep

Way to go Rep. Wilson, keep up the good work. The lefty loosey dems. and the righty tighty repubs. that think you were wrong are ignorant sheep. SnObama has never ever told the truth and never will. His agenda is to destroy, not build.

augustalawyer
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augustalawyer 09/10/09 - 10:09 am
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What everyone needs to

What everyone needs to understand is how the process will work. There will be nothing in the health reform bills that will allow for illegal aliens to be covered for medical treatment. However, there will be nothing that will disallow such either. And, just as the law requires local taxpayers to pay for the education of the children of illegal aliens because the court has stated that education is a fundamental human right, so too will the courts rule that government funded health care is a fundamental human right. Those in charge already know this will happen. So is knowing the consequence of your actions, that illegals will be covered, and stating that there is nothing that will allow such in the bill, a lie? Well, I suppose it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 10:09 am
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Big vike, If what you said

Big vike,
If what you said was true (and it isn't) about there being more than 1 bill before the House right now (http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090714/aahca.pdf) , then HOW can you intelligently ascertain that the final form will contains items that you so find objectionable? Are you capable of knowing the future? Do you take the short bus or the flying saucer to work?

sconservative
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sconservative 09/10/09 - 10:14 am
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Hitler's propaganda minister

Hitler's propaganda minister told him that "If you tell a lie long enough and loud enough, then people will start to believe it." I think that Joe Wilson has heard this lie enough times that his emotions got the best of him. His apology is enough, but Obama and his cronies should quit lying!

Direct
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Direct 09/10/09 - 10:14 am
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You people still can't got

You people still can't got over the fact that a Black Man is
President of the United States. WAKE UP!!!

Ben There
56
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Ben There 09/10/09 - 10:16 am
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augustalawyer - thursday,

augustalawyer - thursday, court day, and here you are?
much like an attorney you admit the truth in your second sentence and blend it with some platitudes and pass it off as fact. amazing.

Rose
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Rose 09/10/09 - 10:18 am
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Wilson was disrespectful to

Wilson was disrespectful to the President, to Congress, and to the American people.The President was addressing Congress and the American people. It was not a rally where others speak their mind.

RogueKnight
201
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RogueKnight 09/10/09 - 10:21 am
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Wherever you stand

Wherever you stand politically, Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst was uncalled for. A joint session of congress is NOT a town hall meeting. If you're a US senator or US representative, you sit quietly and listen while the President gives his speech, whether you like him or not, and whether you agree with his policies or not. I thought it was shameful, and I'm no Obama lover.

justthefacts
17992
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justthefacts 09/10/09 - 10:21 am
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Hey Ben, perhaps you can

Hey Ben, perhaps you can explain how 47 million uninsured became 30 million last night.

Big_vike
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Big_vike 09/10/09 - 10:22 am
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Ben, Did I attack you

Ben, Did I attack you personally? So why do you feel the need to attack me? How can YOU ascertain what the final form of any bill currently in front of congress will contain? You can't! just like none of us can't, it will end up as another sorry attempt to do something, and end up doing nothing, and wasting alot of money in the process. I for one feel no Moral Imperative to provide health care coverage for anyone beside myself and family, and have done so. Personal responsibility would go along way towards fixing our nations problems, if you can't afford a house, DON'T BUY A HOUSE, if you can't afford to raise a family on what you make, DON'T HAVE A FAMILY, if you have to buy a 52" plasma on credit, YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT!, AND YOU DON'T NEED IT! Imagine what money we could save if some parents had just said NO! and raised their children to live within their means, and if your on public assistance, you work for ME! there is plenty of grass that needs mown in this town, everyone can do something to earn their free ride.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 09/10/09 - 10:25 am
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Rogue, agreed, but do you

Rogue, agreed, but do you think that it is forum for the President to call his opponents liars? Especially when he claims we need to end the rancor in Congress??

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