WASHINGTON (CNN) - The South Carolina GOP congressman who shouted at President Barack Obama during his Wednesday night speech to Congress insisted Thursday that his outburst was "spontaneous."
Rep. Joe Wilson shocked many when he shouted "You lie!" after the president denied that health-care legislation would provide free health coverage for illegal immigrants.
Wilson told reporters Thursday that the Republican congressional leadership told him Wednesday night that they wanted him to contact the White House and indicate that his comments were "inappropriate."
Shortly after the speech ended, Wilson called the White House and issued a statement apologizing for his "inappropriate and regrettable" comments.
Administration officials, according to Wilson, said they appreciated his call and emphasized the need for "a civil discussion."
"I certainly agree with that," he said.
Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized Wilson for what they called a show of disrespect toward the president.