September 9th, 2009
10:53 PM ET
5 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. akm, CA

    who vote for these people?

    September 9, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. j

    problem is joe wilson is right. currently the fed gov under the medicaid reimbursement plans to states pays 50% of the cost of medicaid health care and other benefits. unfortunately the states don't check immigration status ever in determining benefits. so the states award a benefir so as not to bankrupt their own hospitals and the feds pay 50%. required citizenship is the only thing that will stop this hemmorhaging of health care dollars to illegals. in our community the illegals import their sick and infirm parents who cannot get healthcare in mexico and within 48hrs are in the emergency demanding high priced health care(dialysis, cancer care and heart surgery) and they get it!! obama knows this, he's playing loose with the facts again. health care reform cannot progress without immigration reform simply due to costs. check out our local er records! its telling!

    September 9, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  3. General Peay

    This just shows how disrespectful the GOP has become, never have I seen a representative be so disrespectful towards any President.

    September 9, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  4. steve fielder

    I truly pity the constituents in Joe Wilson's district; to be represented by such an ignorant, boorish man. I'm glad he apologized for his actions, but he should have had more class and self-control and not made a fool of himself in the first place. If he wished to voice opposition to one of the Presidents' policies, he should have made his case in the press. There is a 200-year-long sense of civility and decorum in the halls of Congress and those present are expected to behave like Ladies and Gentlemen. Old-fashioned? Perhaps, but necessary. Otherwise, our public discourse might end up looking like some drunken barroom argument; something you'd expect to see in the British Parliament!

    September 9, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  5. Bridget

    How does one disagree with the TRUTH, Rep. Wilson? Good grief.

    September 9, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. John Barnacastle

    My wife and I live in Alabama. Thank God for South Carolina.

    September 9, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  7. CG

    Good of him to apologize , but doubt seriously it came from the heart!
    Another slap on the South and on his state.

    September 9, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. Treat Others as You Would Like to be Treated

    Joe Wilson is a rude ignorant jerk and an embarrassment to all of South Carolina. He is a career political hack corrupted by lobbyists and has no business serving in the House. No one should disrespect the President like he did, shouting and interrupting as if he were part of an angry mob. Wilson is the one who lies because illegal immigrants are specifically excluded. Wilson has shamed himself and his state and should take responsibility for his disrespectful, outrageous outburst and resign.

    September 9, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  9. Claudia C

    I emailed the GOP Chairman to express my disgust with the way the Republicans in congress conducted themselves tonight. It wasn't just this mannerless creep, there were Republicans texting throughout the speech and waving papers at President Obama.

    A white president NEVER would have been treated with such rudeness and disrespect.

    I am just horrified by the behavior of these so-called "statesmen".

    September 9, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. General Peay

    Wilson apologized, but he fails to admit that he(Wilson) was wrong and that Obama was right as the proposal clearly states illegal immigrants will nt be covered. Read the bill first Rep Wilson because now you look like a total fool and have dsgrace the State of South Carolina.

    September 9, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. Cheri Abraham

    Those that interrupted our president's speech by disrespectful heckling should face some sort of punishment. The republicans are obviously out of hand. I hope that Congress has the fortitude to follow through.

    September 9, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  12. Lisa J in AZ

    Unfortunate and regrettable behavior from someone whom more is expected. There was nothing to do but apologize if he has any hope for re-election. Wise political move but probably not one he wanted to make. Unbelievably disrespectful. Poor South Carolina! Is this what you have to deal with it time and time again?

    September 9, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. Ruth

    Apparently the gentleman from the great state of South Carolina is no gentleman at all.He is an embarrassment to his state and country.To call the President of our nation a liar in a joint session on national television
    is tantamount to treason. Off with his head....hope his insurance will cover that.

    September 9, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. eolufemi

    Hopefully, he resigns. SC has been drug through the mud and embarrassed too much in recent months by their leadership. He is just reinforcing stereotypes about south carolinians being uncouth and ignorant.

    September 9, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  15. SmallBizIllinois

    Absolutely deplorable but not unpredictable. I don't care how much you disagree or dissent. The setting calls for decorum and this nitwit showed very plainly that he and many like him have no class at all. I disagree with the President on many many things- but Joe Wilson's behavior are completely and totally out of line and fully indefensible on any level. This is not NASCAR- it's an address by the President to the Congress of the United States. John Anderson ran for President in 1976 and he said something that has always stuck with me. "The strength of a great nation is shown through its restraint". Congressman Wilson should learn a little restraint and certainly some manners. Shameful- absolutely shameful

    September 9, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  16. normajean

    Mr Wilson,having made a fool of himself in front of the entire country, quickly apologized for his untimely outburst during the presidents speech,calling him a liar, however neglected to add that HE was the liar.Somehow, though, we the people have had a season of attempting to sift through the lies to find the truth from the Republicans and we are now just about cynical enough not to believe anything they say.

    September 9, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. bella

    Thank you, Mr. Wilson, for personally contacting President Obama and apologizing for your disrespectful and rude remark. We all have been placed in situations when we speak before we think! And, knowing President Obama as I do, I'm sure he accepted your apology!

    September 9, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  18. Jim in Indiana

    Does anyone remember when republicans used to act like adults. I do but I'm really old. Maybe when the next generation of republicans grow they will act like grown ups. Don't expect the Limbaugh generation to ever change.

    September 9, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  19. T Mckinley

    Joe Wilson should do more than just apologize. Joe Wilson should RESIGN!

    September 9, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  20. J

    Rahm Emanuel is way more professional than Joe Wilson
    We can disagree without being disagreeable that what "Adults" do which unfortuantely, that wasn't how Joe Wilson behave.

    September 9, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. wdr

    When is Obama going to apologize to all the people he called liars in his speech?

    September 9, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. independent

    Why would anyone be surprised by this outburst. A Republican from South Caroline – that should say it all. I don't care who is a Republican anymore after this year – none of them will have my vote at any level of government.

    September 9, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. david cairoli

    The President's call for civility amid honest discussion of important issues is the least we should expect from our Congress. Rep Joe Wilsons disgraceful behavior and the Republicans sitting on their hands are not what the American public deserves on such an important issue as health care. The faceless/nameless special interest ads post the speeech on national TV also demonstate that many with only political motives and special interest groups are trying to highjack this historic and important discussion.
    Shame on Rep. Wilson. The Republicans are showing why we voted them out of control of the government.

    September 9, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  24. JOPY

    joe wilson R-hyena, shame on your mother who brought you up this way.

    September 9, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. Nikki Oldaker

    Was that the first time ever a congressperson called a President a liar during an address to Congress? Just my opinion – but when tempers are this heated over a Health bill – it's time for both parties to sit down – run the numbers and be realistic about what people can afford. the economy is down, millions without jobs, people barely able to get by with inflation, the banks refusing to extend credit even after Congress gave them billions – how are people going to afford another man-dated monthly expense? If they stop feeding little Johhny – to pay the health insurance – then yes – it will be a neccessary to bring him to the hospital...This will not hurt the insurance companies because it will fill their coffers when "everyone" has to pay up. But it will hurt the banks when people don't pay their mortgages...sure they'll have great insurance -which they'll need for sure with no roof over their heads and cheap hot dogs in their bellies,

    September 9, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
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