President Accepts Apology Of South Carolina Congressman

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."

Wilson told reporters Thursday morning he was "very grateful" to have been able to have a talk with the White House. He said officials there voiced an interest in "a civil conversation" on health care and said he agreed with that.

"It was spontaneous," he said. "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."

The reaction to Wilson's outburst was punishing even without 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.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A South Carolina Republican lawmaker shouted "You lie" at President Barack Obama as he addressed Congress on Wednesday, prompting a GOP senator to call for an apology.

In his speech in the House chamber, Obama was telling lawmakers that the Democratic plans for health care overhaul do not cover illegal immigrants.

"The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama said.

"You lie!" Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted from his seat, jabbing a finger in the air.

Following the speech, it was Obama's Republican rival from last year's presidential race for the White House who defended the president.

It was "totally disrespectful," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on CNN of Wilson, a conservative who has opposed Obama's economic remedies. "There is no place for it in that setting, or any other, and he should apologize for it immediately."

Wilson's spokesman Ryan Murphy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Wilson's outburst caused Obama to pause briefly. Behind him House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., could be seen glaring in Wilson's direction, but there was no move by Democratic leaders to censure Wilson. First lady Michelle Obama, in the visitors' gallery, shook her head from side to side disapprovingly.

Neither the House nor the Senate health care overhaul bills would provide coverage for illegal immigrants.

Wilson's wasn't the only interruption during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress.

Earlier, Republicans laughed when Obama acknowledged that there still were significant details to be worked out before a health overhaul can be passed.

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  • by To Obama Snake Oil on Oct 26, 2009 at 11:11 AM
    GET A JOB !
  • by Anonymous on Oct 21, 2009 at 05:13 PM
    NO APOLOGIES. YOU ARE A LIAR obama!!! I would NEVER have apologized. EVER.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 at 08:53 AM
    No apologies needed for expressing what the rest of us think!!! No apologies for expressing the truth and protecting Americans that are too stupid to know any better.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM
    Linda, I know you voted on the guy but you didn't know he really did tell a lie? Are you not keeping polls on how many lies he has told are do you just mix up another pitcher of koolaid? He just spent more money in 6 months than all the past presidents added up. Do you realize what you are even saying? Are you aware, better yet, did you bother to read his book or did you just go along with the media? What a sad post you made showing no knowledge of the man you voted for. Just another party sheep.
  • by Linda Location: Durham, NC on Sep 21, 2009 at 01:16 PM
    Shame, Shame SC Joe Wilson. I am from SC and as caucasian as you can get, and voted for Obama. It is obvious that SC Republicans are trying to fight Obama with every breath he takes. Now that makes me ashamed that I was even born and raised in SC. I feel Obama is trying his very best to put this country back into financial shape. He is sincerely concerned about the USA citizens. Since the medical society are so concerned about their million dollar homes, Mercedes, country clubs, etc., they are trying to fight any kind of healthcare reform. YOU GO OBAMA !!!!!!!! JUST IGNORE THESE HATE MONGERS.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 17, 2009 at 04:59 PM
    Yes, Lynn T, I am registered democrat in NC. I am a dog lover and feed, water and give medical attention to my pets and telling the truth. Please listen as you missed this, I am a "bluedog democrat". I know you got to hate that but fiscal responsibility, morals, religion, no gay marriage and no baby murders. Unlike the liberal progressive yellowdogs, I have morals and responsibilty. Most of us, this is really important, vote the man, not the party. We actually research the candidate to see which idiot we will elect, you know, the lesser of the evils. This past year, socialist marxist communist leaders, well, they didn't make the list. Sorry, I read Obamas book, really sad how corrupt he is. Sort like reading his book and the capitol one commercials, whats in your wallet? Obama is no more than Jimmy Carter and the republicans will take 2012 like Reagan did. Look at his Gallop poll, sad already. Sorry, I am going to go fool myself like most of Carolinians. Got to feed the dog.
  • by Lynn T Location: Greenville on Sep 16, 2009 at 02:33 PM
    Obama Snake Oil, am I to understand that you claim to be a Democrat-as in the party? A person can "claim" to be anything, but that doesn't mean he is. I can "claim" to be an animal lover, but if I don't feed, water, and give medical attention to my pets-I'm a liar. If you don't agree with the Democratic platform-you can call yourself one all day long, but you are only fooling yourself.
  • by heather on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM
    everyone is entitled to their own opinion. this is a free country, or suppose to be.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM
    SC GRITS, the billy bobs you refer to are your co workers, neighbors and even friends. So, do you work directly for ACORN or Moveon.org? We, democrats attended the Tea parties, you were saying?
  • by SC GRITS Location: Greenville on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:36 AM
    "W" was a bonafide idiot!I cringed every time he opened his unintelligible mouth to speak, BUT I respected him as President. He flushed billions. Wilson's planned outburst is yet another show of sour grapes & hatred for President Obama. America has chosen a new leader. Get over it already. By the way, anyone care to explain where the "fiscally conservative" repubs were over the past 8 years while our national debt sky rocketed? Pathetic that repubs seem to suddenly have all the answers to cure America's ills. It's hilarious that most of the billy bobs protesting healthcare reform are those who don't have, can't or can barely afford medical insurance. A vast majority of these people are on medicare/medicaid and don't want to admit that they are receiving "FEDERAL AID"! That would be like a gov't hand out & we all know(wink, wink) that repubs would never apply for/accept any form of welfare, subsidies, stimulus monies, aka "GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS". Hate if you must, but do so RESPECTFULLY.
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