September 12th, 2009
04:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Source: Joe Wilson racking up the dollars after 'you lie' comment

Wilson directly asked in a Web video for campaign cash to fend off attacks from political opponents and said he's standing by his opposition to Democratic efforts at health care reform.
Wilson directly asked in a Web video for campaign cash to fend off attacks from political opponents and said he's standing by his opposition to Democratic efforts at health care reform.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson - the South Carolina Republican who heckled President Obama during his speech to a joint session of Congress - has raised more than $1 million, a campaign aide confirmed to CNN Saturday.

News of that cash haul comes after Wilson directly asked in a Web video for campaign cash to fend off attacks from political opponents and said he's standing by his opposition to Democratic efforts at health care reform.

Wilson has come under fire for shouting "you lie" to Obama during the Wednesday night address to Congress on health care reform. The lawmaker soon apologized for his behavior, viewed by Republicans and Democrats as an ill-mannered breach of political decorum.

The remark energized Wilson's opponents and supporters, who have been opening their wallets and sending donations to Wilson and Rob Miller, his Democratic opponent in next year's congressional race.

Miller - who has reported raking in more than $1 million as a result of the outburst - ran against Wilson last year, losing by 8 percentage points. It was Wilson's smallest margin of victory in his five elections to Congress.

In an e-mail to supporters Friday night, Miller said he had raised the money in small contributions in less than 48 hours - a total that dwarfs the $67,000 he has taken in during the entire first half of the year.

Wilson shouted "you lie" after Obama laid out what he said were "bogus claims" about health care reform "spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost."

"The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

"There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama said.

That's when Wilson uttered his now-infamous remark, sparking boos and Obama's retort: "It's not true."

In a YouTube video released on Thursday, Wilson said "on these issues, I will not be muzzled, I will speak up and speak loudly against this risky plan."

He said "supporters of the government takeover of health care and the liberals who want to give health care to illegals are using my opposition as an excuse to distract from the critical questions being raised about this poorly conceived plan."

–CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: Joe Wilson • Rob Miller
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. hankers

    $1m VS $.7m? I guess that means that the Dems will win the election with 65% of the vote. One can consider this as a proxy poll regarding support for the HC initiative. It is contrary to what the GOP says regarding popular support which is different than LOUD support..

    September 12, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. katiec

    How anyone can support the bias, racist, disrespectful actions of Wilson is beyond me.
    This is the kind of people you want your politicians to be??

    September 12, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Aaron P

    The reublican party has proved since President Obama started his historic run that they can't take the fact that a black man is the nations leader. From the lunatics carrying nooses and painting Obama as Hitler to the removal of there kids from school for a Presidential addressthat enforces the importance of staying in school and getting good grades, to one of their leaders callin the President a liar on the floor of the house only to offer a FAKE apology and profiting from it. Everytime I watch the evening news and they show a Republican event, I feel as though I am watching a George Wallace seperatists campaign in the 60's. As far as I am concerned the whole party has given in to the ideals and beliefs of the KLAN!

    September 12, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I think the tea parties/'town hall meetings doesn't have anything to do with Obama's policies. It has to do with his race. People forget that he is half white.

    September 12, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Denise Colorado

    CNN Why weren't you reporting this yesterday when Rep Wilson's face was plastered all over your home page! Your captions and headlines yesterday painted a picture that Rep Wilson was winning the campaign fund raising and that simply wasn't true. Can you report both sides instead of attempting to skew this story for the republican party and make it appear as if they are accurate.

    September 12, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. www.robmillerforcongress.com

    Donate to Rob Miller (D-SC) and send a message to the Republican Party that you will not tolerate the lies and rabble rousing of reckless Republicans anymore! In addition to helping remove Joe "The Heckler" Wilson (R-SC) from the US Congress in 2010, you should also know that Rob Miller is a former Marine (honorably discharged in 2008), Iraq war veteran, and small business owner. Donate today to Rob Miller (D-SC) for Congress!

    September 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    South Carolina Voters FED UP w/ Rep. Joe "The Heckler" Wilson's Shameful Behavior!

    "In a matter of seconds Joe Wilson [R-SC] turned himself from a safe incumbent into one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country for 2010," Dean Debnam, Public Policy Polling's president, said. Wilson now has the backing of 43% of voters in his congressional district; Miller is supported by 44%. Rob Miller, Wilson the Weasel's Democratic challenger, is a former Marine, Iraq war veteran, and small business owner.

    September 12, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Dave

    An outburst one time by 1 Congressman gets so much attention. Why no outcry for all the years President Bush was booed by many Democrats while addressing Congress.

    September 12, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Joe, look out!!!
    The death panels are coming!!!!
    They are coming for your, mine, Pawlenty's, and all the other Republican's political careers!!!!

    September 12, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Brian MacDougall

    This story would be a LOT more interesting if it included the number of donors.

    September 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. bella

    Well, Joe Wilson better get his "affairs" in order! His political career, IN REALITY, has been completely compromised. He'll be sitting on the side lines after next year's election!! While sitting it out, he might as well go visit Joe the Plumber, Sara Palin, and Mark Sanford! All certainly are capable of TELLING ONE LIE RIGHT AFTER THE OTHER!

    September 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. chuck

    Those citizens who contribute to Wilson are encouraging a childish adult. I would imagine that those contributions are coming from other childish adults. Do you really want decorum in the capital erased? Have you seen the Jerry Springer antics of some governments who walk up and slap the person speaking if they disagree? Most Democrats I know were incredibly disappointed with the Iraqi who threw a shoe at President Bush. As much as we despised this small man, he was still our president and with all of the American lives given to free the country of Iraq, this shoe might as well have been thrown at all of us because he was our elected representative no matter that I didn't vote for him. I am so proud of President Obama for accepting this fake apology and getting on with the business at hand. Even though I did not vote for Obama either, he is my president and I am moved to disgust at the petty, elementary behavior of my fellow Americans for contributing to this playground bully. Wilson should not have accepted one dime of contributions for the next 6 weeks if he had any ethics at all left in his tiny brain.

    September 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. dj brown

    not again!!!!!!! the arrogant red neck wimp of a rep benefiting from a treasonable felony offence? What has become of our beloved country. can the republicans tell what patriotism is now all about.

    September 12, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Beth

    Best of luck to Rob Miller. I really hope he wins!!

    September 12, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. jules sand-perkins

    Not all Democrats and liberals are unable to think, but many of them who contribute comments here appear to be.
    It is irrational to believe that opposition to Obama is based on racism: those who are opposing his actions probably would not be opposing the actions of Colin Powell, had he been the first African-American elected as president, as I had long hoped he would be.
    Conservativism is not based on racism.

    September 12, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. redddog

    With that kind of unneccessary outburst by Wilson, I'm sure he, as a Rebuplican really bit his tongue trying not to add outloud the N word behind calling President Obama a liar.

    September 12, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. BJC

    Joe, you were right! The whole Democrat White House is a bunch of liars. Obama must have held classes on thugs liars and it looks like all the congress and senate took the classes.

    September 12, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Wes

    Almost $2 million for back and forth name calling and hot air. And that's just for one congressional district! How many medical bills could have been paid with that kind of money? Or after school programs saved? Or parks built?

    This is why Americans are disenchanted with politics.

    September 12, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Scott

    The numbers are also a tad misleading. By CNN's own story, Wilson has raised just $200,000 since his outburst which means he already had $500,00 on hand. Miller has raised $1,000,000 SINCE the outburst. This went from a lean R district to a lean D district overnight because of Wilson disrespect.

    September 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. wackymaggie

    It is a sad day indeed, when a fellow government official disrespects the President, the Congress and the American People. It is downright scary when this same fool has people that actually support him and his racist platform. Do the Rethugs realize that no matter what they do or say Pres. Obama IS our President, and just because he is black does not give them the right to act like David Duke. How pathetic the rethugs have become, so afraid their future wont look like their past. The 77% of the country that is not insane needs to leave these cave dwellers behind, cause we aint lookin back.

    September 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. drod

    Why doesn't cnn headline this as the "democratic opponent raises way more than the gop loudmouth"? Cause they seem to have a right wing ideology. So the headline gives the impression that being a loudmouth bigot will get you paid.

    September 12, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Chris

    Just when I thought the Right Wing couldn't sink any lower after the Obama "education and hard work"/"socialist indoctrination" fiasco. The children watching the school speech showed more maturity and dignity than the Republicans did attending a joint session of congress. This isn't about Conservative or Liberal, its about basic civiility and respect. Even my 4 year old nephew knows better than to act like that.

    To think that many on the Right think the classless actions of this boor are somehow noble and heroic! The Republican party has sunk to the level of a Jerry Springer show. I'm sure Wilson was more shocked and surprised that his fellow Conservatives didn't join him in his heckling of the President of the United States. To issue an obviously hollow apology then turn around and start seeking donations shows what a vulgar lout he is.

    I think all those Conservatives areas of the country that refused to show the President's back to school speech should instead feature a speech with Congressman Wilson. He can tell children that if they don't like something then the best thing to do is scream and yell at their parents and teachers. That seems like a value that all conservatives are getting behind.

    September 12, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    The tea party protested are just as likely to assassinate a republican as a democrat. Just wait and see.

    September 12, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. chad

    go wilson- obama is a liar- and i am sick of dems playing the race card- the dems booed at bush in his 2005 speech!! wherewas t he out-rage then????? dems are losers!

    September 12, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. The new GOP party of NO, racism, and hate is emerging

    republiklans are just doling out their money to a hate monger and a bigot who was caught on national tv with his pants down yelling expletive!!!

    True to his character, since he and Mark Sanford are buddies from the same "family values" state!!!!

    September 12, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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