September 22nd, 2009
07:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Georgia congressman: Wilson's outburst 'carefully calculated'

Georgia congressman: Wilson's outburst 'carefully calculated'.

Georgia congressman: Wilson's outburst 'carefully calculated'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Hank Johnson is standing by his comments that Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst at President Obama "instigated more racist sentiment" and could lead to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Monday that he doesn't think that most of Obama's opponents are motivated by racism, but that he believes Wilson's comments "winked at a racist element" and that there is a small but "racially motivated fringe" among those who disapprove of the president and his policies.

"Wilson is a canny politician," Johnson said. "His outburst was a carefully calculated appeal to a particular constituency who question the legitimacy of Barack Obama's presidency. The symbolism of his act, which violated the rules of the House and attacked the dignity of the president's office, emboldened and validated those who believe that President Obama, despite having been lawfully elected, is an illegitimate occupant of the White House."

Johnson said that some feel "resentment that the president of the United States is a black man" and that the "risk of violence is real." He said he believes some of the angry protests during town hall meetings over the summer were also motivated by racism and warned that if that element of some opposition is ignored, it will "fester, grow and come back to haunt us in ways we haven't seen in decades."

"That is, ultimately, what my comments were meant to convey," he said. "The United States has shown a capacity for progress and self-improvement virtually unprecedented in human history. But let us not believe that the bad old days are so far behind us that racially driven violence could not once again rend our social fabric."

Johnson ultimately said he will not apologize for saying last week that Wilson's comments could lead to a revitalization of the Ku Klux Klan.

"I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people," Johnson said on September 15. "That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked."

Filed under: Extra • Joe Wilson • Popular Posts
soundoff (289 Responses)

    Revitalization of the KKK?
    Where has Johnson been?
    Did he miss the McCain/Pally rallies?

    September 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |

    erm, that is McCain/Palin rallies....

    September 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Tom

    The Supreme Court should force South Carolina to remove that Confederate Flag. States rights only go so far. And Joe Wilson is a throwback to an era when Black people were lynched at random.

    September 22, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Dave

    It is interesting to note that the conservative southern states have the worst health insurance coverage by individual and their congress people are against them getting better care. Doesn't these southern people understand that their leaders are selling them down the drain. I guess by keeping the voters uninformed, these racist leaders will keep their states at the poorest level.

    September 22, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Carlos

    Mr. Johnson, you fifteen minutes of fame are up.

    September 22, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. rob

    Question for Rep. Johnson

    Since your follow up comments to your comments last week were thought full and detailed, what do you propose should be done with Rep. Wilson? According to you, he planned this ahead of time in a diabolical scheme to feed racist hatred of President Obama. Maybe he should be investigated...who helped him plan this?, who just liked it when he said it? who just might not like the policies of this administration? Who just might be THINKING the wrong thoughts?????

    The man appologized and the President accepted, END OF STORY.

    You Dems can keep talking because the more you do the more ridiculous you sound.

    Nov. 2010 can"t come fast enough.

    September 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Amazing

    Mr. Johnson needs a psychiatric evaluation. This is crazy, the Democrats just can't seem to accept the fact that we despise Obamas policies that are going to destroy this country. This distraction is not working for them, it is only pissing us off by calling us racist. Obama didn't win without the WHITE vote, and some of those people are protesting now.

    Obama is like Carter, nice guys but lousy leaders and in competition with each other for the worst president ever.

    September 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Ivan

    You hit the nail on the head, with your understanding of what is taking place in the Republican party.

    September 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. donttreadonme

    What a joke. After the treatment of the last President by dems they have no leg to stand on. This fake outrage and cries of racism define their failing strategy.

    September 22, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Dar

    Why are the Dems doing this? It has nothing to do with race, BO either didn't know what he was saying (or was told to say) or he lied through his teeth. Either way it was a LIE. Joe should have waited to say something untill BO was done, but things happen as they do to all of us. He said he was sorry and BO accepted this. Congress has a lot more to worry about than what Joe Wilson said. Get Back To Work Boys and Girls.
    God Bless All

    September 22, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Paulies

    Well said Mr. Johnson, and it is so true. Congressman Wilson knows exacely what he is doing. We are all aware even the President himself, but it's best for him to stay clear of the subject at this time.

    September 22, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Republican not buying it..

    Wilson is a racist. Rep. Hank Johnson is correct here. I'm middle class white man.

    September 22, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Bluebonnet

    Get off it – you coward!! What utter nonsense. The only act of "racism" has been idiots like you and Carter trying your best to make it so. Keep it up and you'll succeed. As far as Wilson's actions go, where was all the outrage for years when the stupid democrats booed, hissed, call Bush a liar, etc.??????? Stop with this nonsense before you cause a race war!

    September 22, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Old Farmboy

    You know, I never thought of it that way.... Now I know why. That is the stupidest pile of horsestuff I ever heard in my life. Geez, I am from Georgia, don't live there now, but Geez... People voted to put this guy in a position to speak for them.

    Here's my two cents worth on this whole racial pile of .... Okay, I won't go there. Anyway, anything said, done, written, and whatever else has racial implications. An example:

    On the news in Washington, DC. A lawsuit is being presented because the HOV lanes racially profile. That's right. Their logic. The poor, and they even threw in the phrase African-American can't afford the new fees. Some of us Scotish American, Irish American, Spanish American, and even some of the American Americans can't afford it either. Personally, I don't care what a persons color is, but what ticks me off is when it's being used as an excuse.

    If any of ya'll read this.... Thank CNN

    September 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Peggy Lucas

    I agree with Congressman Johnson. Joe Wilson knew exactly what he was doing. Wilson has the same arrogance that Ensign, Sanford, Vitters has. When Wilson yelled at the President, he should have been expelled from the Chamber and made to apologize to all American's who was watching the President speak. With Joe Wilson and others in Congress, and with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck on TV, scaring the American people, we are all in trouble. The ignorance of the Republican Party is spreading.

    September 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Tami

    This just sickens me. And the democrats never disagreed with Bush and showed nothing but the utmost respect for him at all times??? I wish both parties would grow up. I'm tired of the old Washington games and finger pointing. Vote them ALL out.

    September 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Elsie

    Of *course* it was calculated - did anyone really believe it wasn't?

    September 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Brian

    How in the heck do the two words, "You lie!" constitute racism? What so now black people never lie and we can't say one of them is lying? I suppose the people who called Bush a liar are racists too?

    September 22, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Cynthia in MI

    Very interesting. I too had wondered about a virtually unknown congressman who suddenly couldn't contain himself and screamed out during a nationally televised joint session. A random act? I doubt it.

    September 22, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. One Nation

    Your writing about what most minorities already know, it is inevitable. However, once the republicans let their untamed hatred out of the bag it will destroy America, as we know it.

    There is a saying "divided and conquer" and if the republicans divided this country some other country will try to conquer.

    September 22, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    In the words of Popeye, that's all I can stand, I can't stands no more!
    If this doesn't break the American voter's back, nothing will.
    These two parties have a monopoly on our government. And neither party has been truthful in decades, neither has a moderate stance anymore. And who is paying for all this nonsense? Us the middle class working taxpayer that’s who! Truly we are the new minority. Is there no voice of reason left?

    September 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Mike in MN

    Hank Johnson is a nut case, apparently one of far to many on the left.
    Most of Americans who heard Wilson shout out 'you lie' don't give a rats behind about any symbolisim Johnson associates with where he did it or glean any signal to racism from it. Most who heard it will tell you it was rude to interrupt Obama's speech in this way, regardless of the setting. Many will tell you none the less they agreeded with the shout out, they agree that Obama is all too often not telling the truth. When you don't tell the truth, you are lying. Racism has nothing to do with it, unless you are a truth challanged left wing nut case.

    September 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Lila

    Whoa, hang on there, Georgia Democrat....don't you have bigger things on your plate right now???

    September 22, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. aneanderthal

    Does Johnson mean canny like liberal politicians who throw out the race card to divert legitimate attention away from themselves, kinda like.......Johnson? What a stupid, ridiculous, race baiting statement, talk about intimidating. This is a congressman saying this? No wonder the libs are in so much trouble, they live in a fantasy land.

    September 22, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Blinker

    Johnson is ridiculous.

    September 22, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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