September 9th, 2009
10:53 PM ET
9 years ago

Wilson calls White House to apologize

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports that Republican Rep. Joe Wilson called the White House Wednesday night to apologize for his outburst during President Obama's speech, and spoke with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

UPDATE: CNN's Ed Henry reports that a senior administration official says that in the phone call, Emanuel accepted the apology on behalf of the president and told the congressman: "We can disagree without being disagreeable. That was the point of the President's speech."

Filed under: Joe Wilson
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Ann

    Apparently, Wilson tweeted he was going to do it... If that is true, who is the liar?

    September 10, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  2. Craig D

    Mr. Wilson, your outburst is a reflection of the lack of civility we see among our political leaders. What do we say to our children when our leaders show such disdain for the President of the United States of America? Can we ever agree to disagree and still remain fellow citizens?

    September 10, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |

    We shouldn’t have to wait long to see how seriously the Republican opposition takes Obama’s threats. In fact, Rep. Joe Wilson’s completely inappropriate comments (shouting “you lie” during the speech) demonstrates how far the decorum in the opposition has fallen. Although Republicans were quick to publicly denounce Wilson’s heckling, it was nonetheless their brethren and provides a very visual and objective rationale for Obama’s strong rhetorical tone. Perhaps enough is enough…and it’s time for serious proposals and discussion from both sides of the aisle.

    September 10, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  4. Tracy-Oakley

    Rahm: "We can disagree without being disagreeable. That was the point of the President's speech." Yes that's what ADULTS do, but unfortunately there aren't any in the Republican party.

    September 10, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  5. Kick the bums out

    He does lie.

    September 10, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  6. frances s.

    Rep. Wilson is an embarresment to the United States of America. What an outrage! There are no words to express my feeling about what Mr. Wilson has done. I don't think he is worthy of is position, apology or not. Now we don't have to wonder why there are so many people out of control at these town hall meeting and else where, if it is allowed at the level of office in which Mr. Wilson holds. Shame,Shame and sad. What next???? NO president deserves such disrespect.

    September 10, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  7. Jim

    Is it just me, or is Congress and the Senate becoming less and less civilized? This dis-respect towards the President is the latest in these indications. And no, I don't think the Republicans are the only ones at fault. The Democrats have also escalated their tactics to be rude and offensive. I just hope that the men and women who represent us learn from this and begin to have a more concilliatory tone.

    September 10, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  8. Barbara,TX

    Joe Wilson's hackling was disrespectful, rude, and heartless toward our and his President of the United States. How can a person with his lack of dignity and respect on office at any level especially Senate level. On my job that is insubornate, and subject to lose of your job...Well the people need to speak out . This person need to be released of his services...Racism is live and very strong in South Carolina. EVEN WHEN YOU BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. no respect is given ..Joe Wilson is a very sad and ungodly person. VOTE HIM OUT.

    September 10, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. Anonymous

    When the previous President told a lie, you applaud, when the current President told the truth, you couldn't Go figure.

    September 10, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Kris in CA

    Obama was a tragic figure tonight. Tired,hollow insincere, fradulent. It was hard to follow what he said it was so absurd. The implementation of such a plan is not feasible. Paying, monitoring and servicing such a program is not possible on such a huge scale with no funding source. It is absurd. No one in his right mind believes what he said tonight. No one.

    September 10, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. billp

    Should Wilson be defeated for re-election next year, he'll get a cushy job with the RNC or some conservative think tank for taking the fall on this.

    The GOP Congressional leadership regularly boasts about their party discipline. It's highly unlikely that this was an unauthorized outburst.

    More likely, behind closed doors Wilson jumped be the one to heckle the President when they were looking for a volunteer. If it wasn't received well, then he would say he was acting alone and take the full heat.

    The purpose has been served; red meat has been thrown to the base, and Wilson will be rewarded.

    September 10, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Jim Swyler

    This kind of disrespectful gutter tactic is what confirms that our political system is still influenced by 20th century thinkers (read political hacks) and 20th century thinking

    September 10, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  13. alan

    this guy just blew up any ground the republicans had to stand on. by that petty outburst, all who watched realized how absolutly childish the politics of obstructionism are.

    September 10, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  14. Sara

    Here's yet another appalling show of disrespect for our Commander in Chief from across the aisle. Perhaps Mr. Wilson should go on retreat with Governor Sanford while they get their "emotions" under control.

    September 10, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  15. dynamicjohn

    wilson could be disrespectful, but I think that there is more to it than that. First, he is a racist – there is no doubt. Second he has the best insurance money can buy and, finally, he Just dosnt care because his family will never live on this planet to walk in the shoes of the underprivileged.
    Keep it going obama, for it is the best legislation from "above"

    September 10, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  16. Brian Stemmler

    While I applaud the swift reaction by both parties to this disrespectful outburst, I'm concerned that this signifies the start of the what I call "Jerry Springerfication" of politics. Both parties should be very wary of this slippery slope...respect of ones colleagues in the political arena is just as sacred as I believe the Constitution. Disrespecting your fellow politicians is in my view the same as disrespecting the founding principles of the United States.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. Gamal

    Too late for that're DONE!

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. Shawn

    Mr. Wilson, I don't think you did anything wrong at all. You said what you thought in a way that couldn't be ignored. It was completely non-violent. It was pithy. It was direct. Your constituents were screaming it at the tv set..and you relayed the message. Thank YOU!!

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. Nathaniel


    The jerk should be censured for the deplorable act of calling the President a liar before a joint session of congress. Attacking any member directly or indirectly is a violation of the House rules and a violation of the rules to attack the President directly. If he does not get punished – regardless of an apology – then it will open the door for even worse behavior in the future.

    Members of the House are supposed to be honorable ladies and gentlemen and argue the issues. NEVER are there to be personal attacks on individuals as that behavior in a debate reflects a lack of ideas. CENSURE CENSURE CENSURE and teach the MCs that they cannot behave as if the Congress were one of their town meetings.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Johnny DC

    At least one man in the room was telling the truth.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. Kathy Kuletz

    Joe Wilson simply perpetuates the bankrupt Republican response to all of the problems left to us by eight years of republican miss-rule. That is – no response worth repeating. They have no constructive suggestions- they can only scream invectives because they have no useful input. They left this country in a shambles, and they will howl for Obama to fail until people come to their senses and stop listening to their whining. Joe Wilson should go get a job he is worthy of.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  22. Blue

    It is time for Rep. Wilson to go. If he can't control his emotions, the people of his district deserves better.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  23. suzyku

    Wilson is not only a liar but also a jerk! He embarrassed himself in front of the whole country and just proved that he has no place representing anyone except for the worst this country has to offer, he should know after all he's one of the worst!

    September 10, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. Ndubueze Chuku

    This Congressman, Joe Wilson is a disgrace to South carolina. Barely a few months after Governor Mark Sanford rubbed mud on the faces of south carolinians, this idiot of a man has gone a step further, coating it with faeces. Let's be CIVIL.

    September 10, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  25. Pragmatic

    Wilson, one of the faces of the republican hate-squad, shows that bipartisanship is truly dead and gone. I can not imagine any Democrat crass enough to ever behave so badly in the halls of Congress. Wilson can not even be civil.

    September 10, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
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