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. Matt

    Wilson is a disgrace to his constituents, the state of South Carolina and to the Congress. He should be ashamed of himself.

    September 9, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. Scott

    Good old South Carolina. Hey, how is your governor?

    September 9, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. Charles Veidt

    What an embarrassment for the GOP. Such a childish, immature outburst during a speech to a joint session of Congress. Is this what the GOP offers to America?

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. MD

    This is disgraceful. This idiot owes the President a VERY PUBLIC apology, NOW... When has any member of congress yelled out at THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES during a public address...

    More proof that people think they can say anything to and about President Obama. I give everybody 3 guess as to why that is, and the first 2 don't count...

    This needs to STOP RIGHT NOW...

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. Loyal American

    Joe Wilson is an embarrassment to his party, congress and to all Americans...

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. Wisco

    It strikes me that if Wilson had done the same during a bush speech, he would've been dragged out in handcuffs.

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. Tim Coyle

    Rep. Joe Wilson is an un-American, low class piece of garbage and the Republican party is clearly attempting to destroy civil discourse in this great country. They are a shameful group of sore losers who have obviously lost sight of how a DEMOCRACY should function for the greater good of the nation. He should be censured.

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  8. Sheila

    What happened to common courtesy? This man does not have the character to represent the American people if he can call the President of the United States a lier during a Joint Session of Congress. He can respectfully disagree with the President. He obviously doesn't feel he can debate on the merits if he stoops to such tactics.

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. Notfooled

    A Huge part of Racism is lack of respect for someone of a different race!

    This is clear that this PUNK is a blatant racist that needs to be stopped!!

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Curt

    Totally disrespectful! He should have been ejected from the assembly by Secret Service.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Sally

    I hope Joe Wilson gets treatment for his Tourette's Syndrome using his insurance.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. claude lindor

    To God be the glory who knew the end even before the beginning that in those difficult times like this a leader will emerge to regain prestige and respect to every single Americain now all over the planet earth thanks to president Barack Obama.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. mitchie

    Joe Wilson was very rude. you have no respect and is showing no good example to the younger generation.. This is your president you have shown the world how uneducated you are. respect yourself and control your tongue. we have have come along way from where you are. GROW UP.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. proud conservative

    You go Joe!!!!

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  15. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    It was disrespectful. But sometimes you have to call a Spade a Spade.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. J

    Yet another reason to be an embarrassed South Carolinian. What's worse, they'll take pride in it. For those that do, they are disrespectful idiots.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. Mark

    Stay classy GOP

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Taylor Jackson

    The audacity of Rep. Wilson to inturrupt the State of the Union Speech!
    How disrespectful to the Presidency. Not only has Wilson crowned himself as the "congressional heckler", yet shown that the republican party is filled with anger and fear of change with the hope that it can aid this country for the better. As stated by President Obama, "Time for bickering is over", therein Wilson has shown that he is not ready to stop bickering and work things out with logic, in a peaceful manner, with overall common sense.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  19. Chris

    Yet more proof that Class is priceless! You can take the boy out of the wild but you can't take the wild out of the boy. Joe, this is not some barnyard hoe-down...it's Congress for pete's sakes

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. John Olszowka

    A classless ignorant display of disrespect. I would expect such behavior from a child not a politician. South Carolianians should be embarrased to have such a representative.

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. J.A. Kawarsky

    Hopefully his constituents will be wise enough to recall him.

    September 9, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. Bob

    I suppose that the Republicans think it's good politics to shout insults at the President. Not only was Wilson childish and rude, but that level of disrespect aimed at a speaking President provides a model for those who would have us fail at democracy. The lesson: It's OK to disrespect the President, the Office of President, the Congress of the United States, the citizens viewing the speech, and the processes of democratic governance. Or, it's a Republican version of bi-partisan collaboration.

    September 9, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. Denis

    Shame on you. Rep. Wilson should be kicked out of the party. If the Republican Party does not do what is right and that is remove him as a member, then that party will never ever see my vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 9, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  24. Gamal

    What an IDIOT! Typical Republican for sure.

    September 9, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  25. Omar

    The fact that no one in Congress ever disrespected Bush (2nd) whilst in the middle of an Address to Congress despite their disagreement, shows restraint and respect for the Office of the Presidency. It was only when Bush went to Iraq where a shoe was tossed at him. We in the States found that to be a serious offense. To yell "You Lie" whilst the President is speaking is just as offensive as having a shoe tossed at your face! Joe Wilson needs to be REMOVED from office!

    September 9, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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