September 13th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Wilson says no more apologies for outburst against president

South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday that he will not apologize again for his recent outburst during the president's address to Congress.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday that he will not apologize again for his recent outburst during the president's address to Congress.

(CNN) - Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday he will not apologize again for yelling out that President Barack Obama lied during the president's speech to Congress last week.

"I am not going to apologize again," the South Carolina Republican said on "FOX News Sunday" when asked about pending disciplinary steps against him by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Wilson said he already apologized to Obama and that the president accepted it. However, he insisted that Obama "was mis-stating the facts," and that Democratic leaders in the House were "playing politics" by continuing to focus on the issue.

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soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Jm279

    I'm glad that he's not apologizing. Perhaps the time/place of his comment was inappropriate, but his comment was certainly truthful. That socialist was lying on the floor of Congress and got called out on it. Plain and simple. God, I can't wait till the fall of next year – it is going to make 94's contract with America look like a minor flurry in politics. Mark it.

    September 13, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Aaron

    Representative Wilson lied when he shouted out "You lie", when he disgraced the dignity of the House chamber than no president, not Washington in the formation of the Republic, not Lincoln in the run-up to the Civil War, not Roosevelt in the many measures for the New Deal, has ever been subjected to. Republicans seem bent on proving negatives (a logical fallacy which, by the way, runs counter to the founders belief in reason as the guide to effective governance); there is NO mention of "death panels"; the draft bill explicitly keeps illegal immigrants outside of the proposed benefits. So Wilson, in crying out like a petulant child, lied when he said the president was lying.

    Yet, contrary to what the bill SAYS, republicans cry wolf, beating their chests and making slippery slope arguments that have more to do with their most irrational fears than any basis in reality. This is why it's so easy for them to make sickening (and morally relativistic) comparisons between what really is a CENTRIST proposal and Nazi Germany (underscoring both their limited historical knowledge and anti-semitism).

    Wilson should simply apologize without adding to his contrition, without making excuses or rationlizing his "emotional" outburst. His action was a disgraceful first in the long history of our nation, and insults the memory of those who died defending not only the rights they fought for, but the dignity of the government that has preserved those rights all these years.

    September 13, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Grizzly

    Let's set the record straight: Booing and hissing have always been heard from both parties during Presidential speeches to both houses of Congress.

    However, NO Democrat EVER yelled out a personal insult such as "you lie" to a Republican President. Considering all of the lies Bush told about Iraq, I think the Dems showed remarkable restraint.

    September 13, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Hirotomi Takemitsu

    This guy Wilson is just surly and ignorant. So were most of the Republicans during President Obama's speech before Congress last week.

    Any problem either regarding foreign policy (Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan), as well as the deficit, health care, the Recession, unemployment, jobs, we can blame squarley on George W. Bush, and the Republicans like Wilson.

    I hope Wilson is disiplined/censured by Congress for his outburst.
    I know we live in a free society which has freedom of speech and assembly, but I wish the cops could have been called out to prevent the so called "Tea Party" demonstration in Washington DC yesterday by about 30,000 ignorant people who think like Wilson, Palin, Rush and David Limbaugh, etc.

    These people, and elected Republican reps. like Wilson, are tearing down the country....not President Obama.

    Wilson should face stiff penalties/reprimands for his behavior that no Republican tries it again.

    September 13, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Joe Fattal

    I bet if I made the same comment the secret service would have been all over me, and send me straight to jail. And to top that off, he made money out of it. I should have been in politics.

    September 13, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. chris h

    Good for him. He has apoligized enough for his mistake!!! I do recall the Senate Majority Leader saying the same thing to George Bush. Maybe not in the same setting but they are still one in the same. A lack of respect for the President!! I feel there is a double standard when it comes to this biased, liberal media. And for all those who don't get my meaning look how this is being portrayed in the media.

    September 13, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. turned off by them

    I would not vote for this man no way. Republican are becoming too disrespectful of anyone who does not share their views. I've had enough. I will most likely be voting democrat from here on out. I am so turned off by their behavior. I hope they all get voted out.

    September 13, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Mark

    He should run for president!

    September 13, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. M. Ames, Syracuse

    Groaning and murmuring disapproval is one thing (see those who compain about the Dems during Bush's '05 State of the Union). Most presidents in recent history have had to deal with that. Heckling is something entirely different.

    This guy and his supporters are not completely clueless, despite evidence to the contrary. They know that it's about his lack of respect for the office of president, and not about his opinion being different. But still they continue to paint him as some sort of "voice in the wilderness" or some poster boy for free speech, thereby clouding the real issue.

    Rude, fact-optional, low-information voters are the real threat to this democracy, but people like Wilson are counting on them for their money and their votes. Like mushrooms, they want to keep people in the dark and feed them manure.

    September 13, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Brian52

    Why does accepting campaign money suggest that Wilson's apology wasn't sincere? The apology was made in private to Rahm Emanuel. Also, where is the bigotry and racism that you libs seem to have uncovered? Didn't Obama lie when he said:
    1) no lobbyists in his administration
    2) spending bills would be posted for at least 5 days prior to vote

    September 13, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Mike Southern California

    It all started with the Mccain/Palin campaign-RACISTS!!! All that talk of terrorist, and a non american. This Joe Jerk Wilson probably has his KKK bed sheets in his closet. Not Good for the GOP!! I quit!! I'm not black either.

    September 13, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Wilson, I hope you drop dead of a heart attack today, you right wing racist gas bag.

    September 13, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. Michael

    If Wilson was a singer then we should gather all of his CD's, throw them in a pile in the town square and then set them on fire or crush them with a steam roller. Oh wait, that's how the republicans and the wacky right address different points of view.....think Dixie Chicks.

    Just shut up and govern Mr. Wilson! It is clear you and your cronies hate our President, thus hating our country.

    September 13, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos

    Obama is a liar. Or maybe a more diplomatic way to say it, "he was not very accurate." Bottom line: he lied just like any other politician.
    They're all liars and only looking out for themselves and their own benefit. Some are worse than others.

    September 13, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Right-Nor-Wrong

    If this had been a WHITE PRESIDENT and A BLACK REP had said "YOU LIE" They would be asking him to step down in a MINUTE, Once again this goes to show that there are some UN-HAPPY people out there about a BLACK EDUCATED MAN RUNNING the WHITE HOUSE.

    September 13, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Rick

    The apology was for the circumstances, not for the statement. The public outburst was improper; that does not mean that the statement was untrue.

    September 13, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. Bill of Florida

    Ryan,

    Bush wasn't in power in '94. By the way, Representative Wilson's comments clearly demonstrate that he is a hypocrite. He's a liar and a hypocrite. He lied by saying that Obama was lying about the immigrants, and now he's a hypocrite by pretending to be sorry when he wasn't sorry at all. Not only has he taken money for his outburst, but he appears to be withdrawing his apology. If he represents the right wing in this country, I would hate to see what our country would degenerate to if they got into power. We all need to stand up against these people and vote in 2010 and 2012.

    September 13, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Gayla

    Our Congressmen should not be afraid to say what they think, they are the representatives of the people. Although they should express themselves in a more diplomatic manner, Joe Wilson was just being spontaneous.
    Society places too many limitations on our government officials as to what is "politically correct". In certain instances, we need to make our opinions known and not mince words. We always worry about who we are going to offend. "Free Speech" is our right.

    September 13, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Debby

    Hey Ken: Newsflash Harry Reid called President Bush a liar. It doesn't matter where it took place it made national news like this did, and the whole US and world new by the time the media got ahold of it.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Steve in AR

    The bigger story should be whether or not President Obama actually lied.
    You don't see an article posted about that every news cycle.
    This country is truly in a sad state.
    The so called legitimate news media has become like the tabloids, more concerned with sensationalizing events rather than reporting the facts behind them and getting to the truth.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. The Dude

    I love how the right rationalizes his behavior by saying, "Reid and Pelosi did it all of the time." That is yet another lie, and an example of the lack of character of the right. When has something like this ever been done to a Repub President during a joint session? As for media coverage, Wilson is the one who has been going on every news organization (as well as Fox) to milk this thing for his 15 minutes of fame.

    Wilson didn't show the true color of the GOP, we already knew that. He demonstrated the lack of tolerance for color of the GOP.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Bob from Florida

    To all those who have suddenly taken an interest in political decorum and resect or the officeof the President of the United States:

    1. Go back and review how disrespectful congressional demoncrats were during Bush's speeches.
    2. Where were you during the last eight years when the President was subject to vicious and hateful personal attacks that went way beyond political "criticism."

    If you stood up for the office of the President during the last eight years, then you have something credible to say about this. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. MLH

    I don't like Joe Wilson. But he apologized to the President, and it ought to be a done deal. Why should we expect him to pretend he has any more manners than he clearly does.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Chuck

    Hey, James of Houston....

    Reid and Pelosi said that Bush lied because it was true and factual; and, they said so outside the House chamber and not during a joint session of Congress when the President of the United States of American was speaking.

    James, please learn to make that distinction in the future..

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. John Smith

    He is just a focal example of the angry people who take any position and berate it reflexively. The alleged idea is no big government, but the truth is "unless we control that government". The governmental expansion and spending under Bush were not attacked with the virulence that is currently exhibited. Fueling this anger are the corporations which want to maintain profits at the expense of the average citizen. I am sure there are legitimately frightened people being vocal, but who started that fear? This polarization is not likely to dissipate in the near future. The calls for bipartisan cooperation are falling on deaf ears. You can't hear a message while you are screaming.

    September 13, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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