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. davidbcoe

    Apparently respect for the Office of the President only applies to white Republicans. Joe Wilson is a thug. Here's hoping the voters in his district have the good sense to send him packing in next year's midterm elections.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  2. linda

    This man is an embarrassment to the United States. He obviously does not understand democracy, decency or civility. Like in sports, he should be banned for a period of time from Congress.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. sue

    Sen. Durbin,
    I think Joe will be just fine!

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. Lisa

    As a former marine who served uder several presidents , Republicans and democrats. I Never made my thoughts clear about any, and Never disrespected any President whom I served under so tonight hearing the the disrespect during a national address was appalling to me.
    What is being made of our country?

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. Mary

    The country needs to get back its moral compass and start treating
    each with respect.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. Mona

    Shame on the representative from South Carolina!!! How utterly disrespectful and un-American! What lesson he is teaching the next generation by yelling at the President of the United States of America. Have we come to this that we can't respect our leader - whether we agree with his policies, ideologies, and beliefs. It is an egregious outrage. He should apologize immediately!!

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Absolutely ridiculous behavior, the likes of which I've never seen before.

    September 9, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. luvinman29

    South Carolina will probably overtake Louisiana as the "sespool" of the south after tonight. WOW!!!!!

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

    What else can you expect from a fear monger? His nonprofessional shouting and ignorance are a clear view of his party leadership. When are they going to get it? Many Americans like myself are watching and listening.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    a complete douche this guy just lost his job another one bites the dust nice would republicans keep up the good work

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Liz

    Senator McCain is correct, that is completly disrespectful. There were many times former President Bush made false allegations, and lies in front of the Congress, and the American people. Never did a Congress Person scream "Liar!" That was the worst example of disrespect I have ever seen.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. Nav

    Rep. Wilson,

    Millions of Americans watching their Commander-in-Chief speak to them tonight were abruptly interrupted by your rude and disrespectful comment when you called our President a liar. May I remind you sir, you work for us. We pay your salary. By disrespecting our President, you disrespected me and the American people who have elected our President. Above all, you disrespected the body of government who you are a member of and serve. I have serious reservations that you have any bit of respect for this great institution but if you do, you owe me, the President, and every American an apology- immediately! In the words of Senator McCain, “"totally disrespectful - [there's] no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately." Yes Sir, that is your party’s Presidential nominee calling you out! Shame on you for bringing shame to SC!

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. Keith Richmond

    I would like to see Joe Wilson come up with a better plan for health care. I bet you he couldn't. I am just happy that President Obama is actually trying to better the United States of America and it's citizens.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  14. Matt

    Truly disgusting. This man Wilson is no leader, but an embarrassment to himself and his constituency.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. Jegg G

    Wilson is an idiot and is living proof of the results of electing rednecks to public office.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. CC Jones

    I see why SC doesn't get any of my money...I don't even want to visit this backwood hillbilly town. No respect..what do you expect from a State that has a philandering Governor....and now a disrespectful Senator...GA, MS, LA, AL....same fate. If I lived in his State I would be knocking on doors right now to remove the likes of him out of government. AND If SC isn't embarassed for him....I'm EMBARASSED FOR HIM AND THEM! IGNORANT! I bet he would be the first person to scream about RIGHTS.
    Actually it's funny that he is8 years too late to the party...His remarks would have been quite beneficial for the Bush Administration when they went exploring for WMDs. Get real..Get him out of office NOW!

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. elsa

    Sometimes too much freedom of speech is disrespectfu.It is ashame to see a rep. to behave like somebody with no manners. It is America

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. Tammy

    New Poll:

    66% Approval.

    21% Aginni.
    (and we know who THEY are). tee hee

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. Brian

    Just when I thought I knew the names of most of the more tactless, bigotted Republicans, along comes this clown. I'm embarrassed for the good people of S. Carolina

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Don

    Shame on you congressman. Shame on you! Apologize and go sit in the corner.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  21. Raymond Burgoon-Clark

    South Carolina ... typical.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  22. Mac

    Joe Wilson was just the most egregious of the Republicans... Far too many of them were just sitting on their hands during the address. The Republican party is giving a whole new meaning to mean-spirited.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  23. malclave

    I agree with Rep. Wilson's sentiment, but I believe he was totally out of line in his conduct.

    As far as Durbin's comment? That's the same guy who said on the Senate floor that US Marines were like Nazis, and Durbin didn't pay any price, so his opinion is meaningless to me.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Amy, Kazoo

    In 8 years of George W Bush, as much as he was loathed as leader of our nation for his choices, democrats NEVER heckled him during a speech. There was still a level of professionalism that was upheld. You don't have to agree or like the President, but the fact remains they are still the President of the United States. Perhaps Wilson thought he was at a comedy club and Chris Rock was up there.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  25. John, Boston, MA

    Why should this guy be punished? Freedom of speech. Why is it any different from Dems booing Bush during his speechs? Obama is lying, illegal imigrants already get free health care in the US. I applaud Joe Wilson and I'm not even a Republican, I'm one of those guys wishing I could get my vote back from last year. Nothing but LIES!

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
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