September 9th, 2009
10:09 PM ET
4 years ago

GOP congressman heckles Obama during health-care speech

Rep. Wilson the congressional heckler.
Rep. Wilson the congressional heckler.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican House member shouted "you lie" during President Barack Obama's health-care speech to Congress on Wednesday, and members of both parties condemned the heckling.

When Obama denied that proposed health-care legislation would provide free health coverage for illegal immigrants, South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, "You lie!"

Obama paused and looked toward the Republican side of the chamber before
continuing his speech.

After the speech, Republican Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate defeated by Obama last year, called Wilson's outburst "totally disrespectful" and said he should apologize.

McCain said there was "no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately."

Other Republicans also criticized Wilson, along with the expected Democratic condemnation.

"It was crude and disrespectful," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a top Senate Democrat. "I think the person who said it will pay a price."

Updated: 10:00 p.m.


Filed under: Joe Wilson • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. David Ridenour

    why are the republicans so filled with hate
    are they sore losers?
    or just losers

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Alan

    I agree that is was disrespectful, but I also felt like it was disrespectful for the dems to act the way they did toward President Bush. Once again it seems a double standard is in place.

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. MollyAnne

    I'm a Republican but this is totally wrong.

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. Shane

    I think it's very disrespectful for an elected member of congress to heckle the president of the united state while speaking in front of a joint session of congress. I wonder if the president's skin had anything to do with that.

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. Sondra Bern

    Rep Wilson should be Impeached if there is such a thing.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. an independent

    Joe - Shame on you!!!

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. deborah, WV

    Funny how this guy never yelled anything while Bush and Cheney were lying through their teeth about the supposed wmd of Iraq. He just sat quietly while approving billions of dollars for that budget busting war!

    But now we have a president who is actually working for the common citizens of this country and he just can't stand it!!! What a joke on the hardworking citizens of SC. I for one will NEVER be a Republican again!!!

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Sarah

    Real class act that Joe Wilson.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. CNN = Moveon.org

    Clearly Obama has caused more division than President Bush ever did. No one has respect for this President anymore. He has angered people to a point where they can't even stay quiet in a stump speech to congress.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. Nancy W.

    How immature. There's a time and a place. I hope he loses all credibility if he had any to begin with.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Becky

    If the Dems booed and heckled Bush during a speech he was giving to a full chamber like that, they would have been demonized by every media outlet. It was disrespectful. We don't have to agree, but you don't have to be so disrespectful.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. yuri

    It is unfortunate to see a man elected as a repub. rep. behave in a reprehensible manner in the chamber. He sounded like a terrorist to us, w/ seething fury in his eyes, as depicted in the photo.

    The security should have bundled him out, and he should be forced to attend anger managemant classes and see a shrink at the same time or sooner than later, if he wants to stay in public business.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. Deanna Grissom

    This man Wilson is a disgrace to the office he holds. If he is unable to have civil discourse without resorting to the chants of an uneducated child then he has no place in public office. How childish and how unamerican!

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. Positive in NC

    That tacky Republican should be removed from office and never be allowed in the chamber again.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    This man needs to be censured NOW. This scum has no place in politics. He needs to be run out on a rail.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. jts

    At best, he's a bigot. I don't mean to slur all white males from the south, but if someone's going to do what he did tonight, they would have his bio.

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  17. Jaxson

    Republican Joe Wilson is a big, fat, digruntled Republican who thinks he's got a right to heckle....what a jerk!!

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. Lisa

    Joe Wislon is a fool.... Racist....

    September 9, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. Mark Kahle

    Highly disrespectful, and he should not only apologize but step down.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. CraiginKC

    What a clown this Joe Wilson is. He should be ashamed of himself, but my guess is that a guy who would do that is incapable of feeling shame.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  21. West

    He should be ashamed of himself. You don't have to like Obama's policies – you don't even have to like the man. But he IS the president of the United States and deserves our respect. It's the American way.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  22. Janet Yuse

    Congressman Wilson's web site is currently unaccessable! I wonder how that happened? Just goes to show you that those who are elected officials, by their actions, have no right to be making such important decions for this country.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Linda

    What nerve does Joe Wilson have to call the President a "Lier"...What happened to respect of the President weather you agree with him or not. He has shown nothing but disrespect....When former Presidents have said things that people did not agree or did not make any sence, no one ever call the President a "Lier"....What a great way to show kids in America how to show respect for the office of the President.
    I almost bet if the president was either White or a Republican, those words would have never been said.....
    Joe Wilson is one of the most disrespectful people I have ever set my eyes on. I hope his state never vote for him again, he doesnt deserve to be where he's at.....Oh but he's a white republican man, I guess that will never happen....Get over the prejudice, it's 2009.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. Richard

    Wilson should be at a MINIMUM be censured. Thugs like him do not belong in the US House of Representatives. His behaviour tonight, regardless of politics was a disgrace to the Congress and to the United States.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. Oh my!

    Does freedom of speech end with speeches to congress? No apology necessary! McCain should apologize to Joe Wilson for him (McCain) adding his 2 cents! I believe in a town hall not too long ago that he (McCain) was not that enthusiastic about the Obama bill either! McCain seems to change his spots whenever the situation demands. Mr. Wilson represents that Republicans are leaders not followers! Way to go, SC! Joe Wilson is a keeper! We need someone in government who is not intimitated and is not afraid to speak up and out. God Bless South Carolina Republicans and God Bless the Red, White and Blue!

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
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