Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney took a conciliatory tone Sunday when asked about an MSNBC panel mocking a family holiday card that showed him holding his adopted black grandchild, saying it is time to move on.
"People make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake and they apologized for it," Romney said Sunday in an interview on Fox News Sunday. "They apologized for it. That's all we can ask for."
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A day earlier, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry made a tearful apology to the former Republican presidential candidate and his family after she and a panel poked fun at a photo of Romney with his wife and 21 grandchildren by zeroing in on his adopted African-American grandson. "Whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive, and showing the photo in that context, of that segment, was poor judgment. So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family," said the anchor at the open of her show, "Melissa Harris-Perry."
Harris-Perry became emotional as she went on to apologize to all "other families formed through transracial adoption," saying, "I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule."
She highlighted her own interracial background, as the daughter of an African-American man and a white Mormon woman. But, she said, families are always "off limits," and the Romneys' grandchildren should never have been a topic of discussion.
"Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off limits, and for that I am sorry," she said.
Harris-Perry first apologized on Twitter and MSNBC's website Tuesday, offering a similar mea culpa "without reservation or qualification."
Last week, Harris-Perry and panelists on her show made jokes at the expense of the Romney family. Perry asked her guests to come up with a caption for the Romney family photo, prompting actress Pia Glenn to sing "one of these things is not like the others" and comedian Dean Obeidallah to remark the picture "sums up the diversity of the Republican Party."
Obeidallah appears frequently on CNN and writes a regular opinion column for CNN.com.
Harris-Perry, for her part, described the baby as "gorgeous" and joked that in 2014 he would marry North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
"Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws," she said.
Romney, the Republican Party's nominee for president in 2012, said his stature makes him a frequent target of attacks, but added that the barbs directed at his family crossed the line.
"People like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming," Romney said. "For children, that's beyond the line. I think they understand that and feel that, as well.
"I think it's a heartfelt apology, and I think for that reason we hold no ill will whatsoever," he said.
I accept Romney's acceptance of her apology.
She should still be fired. She will repeat her actions.
If she's really sorry she said those things then MSNBC should have Mitt Romney come on her show, and bring little Keirnan.
Of course Romney accepted her apology. He's a class act and a gentleman. Harris-Perry, however, offered this tearful apology only to keep her job. Her first "apology" was a tweet – the lazy way to apologize and shows her true intentions. She is only upset because the vast majority of the American people found her remarks crude, nasty, uncalled for and just plain mean. She should still be fired, but MSNBC doesn't have the cojones to do what needs to be done.
I agree with Mitt "47%" Romney, people do make mistakes and forgiveness is welcoming. [-:
Stupid is, stupid does.
The wrong man is in the highest office.
And Wallace did his feeble best to go after MSNBC despite Romney's forgivness. Wallace and FoxNews are simply disgusting!
He' s probably just grateful to be a part of a pop culture reference in any form today.
Had a Republican made any such remark, the Democrats and their puppet news stations MSNBC would have been after that person's job and ridicule them until they stepped down. How about it MSNBC....what are you doing to do about it??? I think she needs to be canned to follow your pattern of selective targeting.
He always rises above. He should have been elected.
Mitt is a class act. Too bad this country is so racLst (i.e 90% of blacks and other minorities voted for Obama) and will never get to see the progress and potential that Mitt would have brought to the country as president...
There is an obvious contrast between MSNBC and Fox exhibited in this encounter. MSNBC hosts always apologize for their indiscretions and Fox doubles down on their vitriol accusations while enlisting the likes of sarah palin, hannity and limbaugh to spout talking points from multiple media venues.
Since the republican party claims to be the Jesus party, why don't they practice what He preaches?
To think we could have had a classy president. It's a real shame.
It is sad that, as it looks now, we will never see just what kind of President Romney could have been. It is sad that the right wing of the republican party prevented Romney from being the person he maybe really was and it is sad that romney let them do it.
I don't think it's a he artful apology. She wants to retain her position. But I applaud Romney for forgiving her and as a Christian I forget her hateful remark as well.
MHP is a classic racist along with her employer.
She has nothing to apologize for. Mormons have a history of adopting other races (Navajos), just to convert them!
This may be a bigger deal if someone knew who she was.
Now Romney can apologize for the companies he destroyed.
Wow, someone in the media and public eye actually doing the right thing and showing humiliy – Romney and every other politician should try to learn from this and understand the concept of mistakes and humility.
Of course Romney would graciously accept her apology – he's a very decent man. And he would never have stooped to her level – aimed at the race of her children to score political points. THAT should scream at the boundaries that the left has set up for themselves. Calling everyone a racist every time someone disagrees with you, attacking viciously and making unfounded accusation has finally come home to roost.
This country is in desperate need of leaders who enter politics to contribute to the greater societal good. We discourage these people from seeking public figure positions when we expose their families to ridicule. David Letterman crossed the line when he remarked, "One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game: During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."
When will the entertainment industry adopt and enforce a policy of "hands off" for the families of public figures?
Good for Mitt, a stand up guy !