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)
  1. VGal

    The GOP only cares about the INSURANCE COMPANIES. Insurance companies are LYING about the Health Care bill to SCARE seniors. Of course the Insurance companies don't want any legislation to pass -they will lose their RECORD PROFITS. And the GOP are standing firmly behind the insurance companies. GOP are a bunch of FRAUDS.

    September 22, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. Hammerer

    Maybe Obama could go on national TV and explain racism to all of America so everyone can understand, the way he has done with Healthcare. Until Obama's media blitz no one understood healthcare and did not know the real facts now everyone understands and believes. He acn do the same for race relations and for that matter he can solve all of our problems simply by reading from his trusty tel-prompter.

    September 22, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |

    Of course Wilson's ridiculous outburst was calculated!

    My response was to start contributing to the campaign of Rob Miller, Joe "The Heckler" Wilson's 2010 challenger.

    Rob Miller is a former marine and Iraq War veteran, and owns a small business in South Carolina.

    September 22, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Tom in CA

    why isn't the attention where it belongs. The attention BELONGS on whether the President is telling the truth or is lieing to the American public. Sadly it's the latter and his behavior actually is what is feeding any little bit of racism.

    September 22, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. Ameesh

    Mr. Johnson....YOU LIE!

    September 22, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. nola

    I agree that Wilson calculated the whole event – why -a way to get funds for his up coming congressional race and just maybe it was a way to get the teabaggers to make donations to his up coming congressiona race. People lets not be so naive to believe that politicans do not calculated every move he or she makes – in order to stay in Washington. You must remember they are able to retire with a nice retirement check (usually about 50 to 45 percent of their check) and they get to keep their insurance. No politicans is in a hurry to go home

    September 22, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. Dana from Tulsa

    Can't we get off this story? I see no purpose in beating it to death.

    September 22, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. peacecitizen

    The congressman is absolutely right and he describes it very eloquently and to the point. This country will, if this bs isn't stopped, going to hell in a bucket and it'll be republicans who lead it there...hopefully not.

    September 22, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. linda

    I think that Wilson mispoke intentionly and then swept all of his ignorance of decorum into the stunningly astounding pile of ..Gee I was ovecome by the emotion of the moment!
    Does South Carolina really want a represenative who not only intentionly distorts the content of the materials being examined and discussed but is also in a time warp on emotional development. Is "citizen" Wilson qualified to do any critical thinking? It is a sorry time in our history to have a social, intellectual, and emotional, moron holding elected office. Well... George W and Carl Rove nailed South Carolina voters with their standard insider joke, that "the public has an extra chromosome." Im beginning to think that they may have been on to something.

    September 22, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Sally Murphy

    Some of the angry reactions to President Obama may be rooted in racism, but I think the main thing is that THEY LOST. They are mad that they lost. Now they are taking it out in any and every way possible.

    September 22, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Wilson was correct. The President did lie. Race has nothing to do with it, except provide the radical Left a tool to beat any dissenter to the President over the head.

    September 22, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  12. barbara

    Im sorry really I am but for the life of me I can not detect ANY glimpse of racism in the words "you lie". I dont care who says it or who it is said to the words "you lie" do not conjur up any racist thoughts or intent. Those that see racism in these words are racist themselves, want to see racim and want to play the race card for THEIR OWN benefit..

    September 22, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  13. 1GregM

    Democrats and liberals have to have an excuse for their shortcomings. It can never be about the lack of planning or farsightedness they lack, the inability to stand for what their constituents are demanding they produce or the representation they will not give if in any way that impinges of their being reelected. They therefore use racism as a crutch for those shortcomings and find it inexcusable and a total sign of weakness that pervades their party. It starts from the top and slides and winds its way throughout the entire cabinet as well as the liberal members of the legislature.

    September 22, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  14. I'm a Liberal-You got a problem with that?

    I have no idea if Joe Wilson is a racist. I do know he's a rude idiot and I'm sure there are racists who were happy with his behavior.

    September 22, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  15. Moonbeam

    I agree 100%!
    The only emotion Wilson was overcome with is a desire to destroy Obama's presidency. Health care, whatever, who cares, it is just a wedge issue to Republicans!

    September 22, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. pete3great

    anyone from wilson's district can tell you, he is a racist. he's even an active member of a well known hate group!

    September 22, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. Paul H

    Wow this is crazy how these politicians turn the tables. The guy had an out burst, he put his mouth in front of his butt!!! Race isn't even an issue here.
    Yes there is a faction of ignorant Racist hate mongers in America.
    But there is also a movement of Americans that just flat don't agree with Obama, or his left wing base. This has nothing to do with Race, and everything to so with policy.
    Clinton had these same people against him but they couldn't use the race card with him.

    September 22, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Really?

    You must be kidding me. Johnson, go back to your narrow minded, self serving hole and realize that, although wilson chose an inappropriate forum, simply to disagree with an elected official is an American right. Get over yourself and leave your racial prejudices at home, as your actions incite rather than unite. Being from Georgia, you embarrass me.

    September 22, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Are there still some racists in the country? Yes, but I think it's a minority.
    Are there some that opposed President Obama based on principles and not his race? Yes.
    If you oppose President Obama based on principles, then verbalize those principles the next time someone accuse you of 'racism'. Perhaps both of you can sit down and have a productive dialogue and discuss how would you solve the problem and perhaps listened to criticism.
    Then perhaps you can understand the dilemma the President is going under. He can't please everybody even though he wants everybody to be happy.

    September 22, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Well I was opposed to Obama being a Democrat....but I think I'm feeling a little racist now that you mention it. lol....

    Enough with race garbage. It's insulting to everyone's intelligence and makes a mockery of race relations.

    September 22, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. Jan

    The POTUS is allowed to call people liars in front of congress but no one is allowed to call POTUS a liar.

    Get real!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. sue

    How dare he!
    Johnson is a dope.
    What a lame, recycled remark.
    Who paid him to say that?

    September 22, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. Lisa from St Paul

    I wouldn't say you lie Joe was racisist but it was extremely disrepectful. Where the heck was he for the previous 8 years??? I'd say many of the signs at that crazy Sept 12 "high" tea fest were racist but what else would you expect from the party of the KKK and domestic terriorists.

    September 22, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. Johnny DC

    The only racist in this story is Hank Johnson. Moving straight to a racism verdict only proves Johnson's hatred of white people.

    Add your names to that list if you like, posters. So many of you post your agreement with him, only validating the argument, because 100% of you that do such a thing are African-American. Am I a psychic? Or are you just predictably racist yourselves?

    September 22, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Loup Garou 782

    Rep. Hank Johnson is cut from the same cloth as the Rev. Wright, Prof skip Gates, Vernon Jarrett and all others of the race bating wackos.

    September 22, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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