September 10th, 2009
01:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama accepts apology

(CNN) - President Obama said Thursday he accepted Rep. Joe Wilison's apology for the South Carolina Republican's outburst Wednesday night.

"I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes," the president noted during a Cabinet meeting. But it's important to have a debate "without
vitriol. ... Our goals are generally the same whether we're Democrats or Republicans."

Wilson insisted that his outburst was "spontaneous" and agreed with the White House that the health-care debate merits "a civil discussion."

One top Republican, however, also opined that Wilson's outburst reflected the strong passion being generated by the health-care debate.

"We ought to have civil discourse in America, but don't underestimate the amount of emotion that people are feeling," said House Minority Leader John Boehner.


Filed under: Joe Wilson • President Obama
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. rapotat

    Mr. Boehner, emotional outbursts are for children and should be disciplined as such.

    Perhaps if Boehner and those of his statue weren't completely lacking in leadership, this behavior would not be so widespread.

    Instead, Boehner has himself has spread lies, deceit, and emotional tantrums . . . doubtful the Jerry Springer anger plays well in mainstream America.

    It's the mainstream voters who's support will be necessary to the GOP in regaining the White House . . . so far they haven't taken the bait.

    September 10, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Tom Kaye

    I can understand the "antics" at town hall meetings, but a representative of the US acting like that in the setting he was in is disturbing. If he can't contol his anger he should not be representing anyone and should seek anger management.

    He set a horrible example for Americans. The last thing we need is that type of anger snowballing into the unthinkable!

    September 10, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Debbie

    Of course The President accepted Wilson's apology. Democrats have displayed a much more mature and respectful tone during this Health care debate. I remember when President Bush addressed the Joint Session of Congress after lying to the American people about the Iraq war and not one Democrat shouted out "you lie". And there was A Lot of passion behind critics of that war so that's no excuse! Tens of thousands of people died including American soldiers and innocent Iraqi's so it doesn't get any worse than that with strong emotions on an issue. Still, you didn't see that kind of disrespect from Democrats. Grow up Republicans!!

    September 10, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Lisa P

    "We ought to have civil discourse in America, but don't underestimate the amount of emotion that people are feeling," said House Minority Leader John Boehner.

    Most of it against Republican do-nothing obstructionists. Better watch out, John, the electorate has it's eye on you. Corporate and special interest donations can only get you so far.

    September 10, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. David White

    The President could walk on water, and Republicans would slam him for frightening the fish.

    This president has faced greater challenges than anyone since FDR, and, for the most part, has faced them all with dignity, grace and resolve.

    But his biggest challenge.....one not talked about nearly enough......is the racist atmosphere, not only in Washington, but the country as a whole. Boiled down to the lowest common denominator: a significant segment of the population at large (as well as the neo-cons in DC) simply resent the notion that a black man can multi-task so ably, and handle the daunting tasks he has faced in such a short time with such ability.

    If a BLACK MAN can do this, what's next? A WOMAN president? Perhaps a BLACK WOMAN president??

    Oh, Lordy!

    September 10, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Vincent R.

    This president is exceptional. History prduces sometimes – rarely – such a person, gifted, with a sense for unifying a nation. We just envy you your president !
    VR, Paris, France

    September 10, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. MattZ

    "Our goals are generally the same whether we're Democrats or Republicans."
    I guess, but you'd never know it with the way the debate has raged for the past, I don't know, ever.

    Maybe Obama really wants to rise above it. I'm not sure. I just know it's hard to play ball when one side keeps trying to hit you with the bat.
    MZ

    September 10, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. CJ

    John Boehner is an idiot too...... Bought and paid for.....

    September 10, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Shirley In California

    I understand the president accepting the apology and moving on. However, it sets a bad example because it makes him look weak. If (w)ilson gets away with this – others will try it. The whole world knows wilson is ignorant and this was not "spontaneous" as he suggest. He should have been made an example. I for one am sick of these outbursts. If one of our kids shouted at us like that – they would be severely punished. Take a stand Mr. President – set an example now.

    September 10, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Farrell in Houston

    Please Mr. President, stay away from Joe Wilson, he's dangerous.

    September 10, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Doug, New Jersey

    Still waiting for the multiple Democrats to apologize to Bush for saying the exact same thing during his 2005 State of the Union speech.

    Oh, that's right. Republicans are decent people who admit their mistakes, have humility, and actually care about other people, Democrats are the exact opposite.

    September 10, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Peter

    I don't know what to think of this....Obama did the right thing by forgiving Rep. Willison...However, I think that this proves the theory the riots are being fueled by the Republicans...Just put your resignation next to Sanford's and Palin's, Mr. Willison...

    September 10, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Hollie Constien

    Joe Wilson's actions are an embarrassment to us all, and he should make an apology publicly, that is actually sincere, to the President and to all citizens of the country, particularly to the citizens of SC which he is supposed to represent. I would personally like to see him step down, as he is obviously not mature or professional enough to be a Congressman.

    September 10, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Chandler

    He means the emotion that lying congressmen feel when their deception to their constituents is exposed. People like Mr. Wilson are literally LYING to their citizens in order to push an agenda. The American people deserve to know the truth, and apparently Mr. Wilson couldn't handle that.

    September 10, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Barack = A statesman

    Wilson = A child

    September 10, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. rtomaino

    Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst was outrageous. Totally disrecpectful and inappropriate behavior from a U.S. congressman. Where are his southern manners?

    September 10, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Marissa

    I dont forgive Mr. Wilson. He is as low as the rest of the politicians in South Carolina

    September 10, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Sammy

    AFTER reading the President's speech, I could NOT find a single thing that is wrong with what is being attempted...

    This could make GOP too crappy IF they JUST keep shouting like a party of Joes and Boehners with a NO but do not ensure that nothing wrong gets in here ..... I am losing most of my faith now in this party and leadership – by all means, if nothing improves and they still come up with leaders like Palin, it would be extinct in another 4 years (sorry)!!

    September 10, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    "We ought to have civil discourse in America, but don't underestimate the amount of emotion that people are feeling," said House Minority Leader John Boehner.

    ______________________________________________________

    Aren't conservatives, such as Ann Coulter, always harping on liberals arguing with emotions? So it's okay to do so on this issue? Is it only okay for angry conservatives? What are the rules here?

    September 10, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Palin 2012 - 2014 1/2

    Leave it to the 'BONER'.....

    September 10, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Operation Crush Rush

    I would call him out to a duel.

    September 10, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Carnell

    Congressman Joe Wilson (R)-South Carolina Not Only Disrespected The President Of The United States Of America. He Showed No Respect Of A Persons Right To An Opposing Point Of View Compared To His Own. I Guarentee You If The Roles Were Reversed, President Obama Would Be Villafied.

    September 10, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. dan acosta

    Re3pubs are the worse kind of hypocrites

    September 10, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Peoples Voice

    Of course he did. The president was taught manners and how to be the bigger man.

    September 10, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. St Louie

    Of course he accepted his apology. He's a decent man. I wish the republican leadership would use some of that passion to make things better for the American people. I've voted on both sides of the isle in my lifetime. I've tried to be open and listen to both sides and vote based on how things will affect me personally. I'm tired of people who simply spew partisan political commentary w/o researching and finding out what the truth really is and how it will affect them. How can anyone disagree with what the President proposes to do on healthcare?

    September 10, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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