January 5th, 2014
10:21 AM ET
12 months ago

Romney accepts MSNBC host's apology

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."


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.


Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (618 Responses)
  1. S. B. Stein

    Has anyone from the other side apologized for other comments that the right has made? I can't recall that any has been made.

    January 5, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. tc4012

    He is a better man than that piece of trash...

    January 5, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  3. Name troy

    she fell into the talking head trap and got big headed .. she got the "big head" host sydrome . plus she has a big forehead and it got in the way of being a good host.

    January 5, 2014 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. NSL

    Romney is sure a lot more forgiving than me, and more of a decent human than Melissa Harris-Perry. What she said, and the way she said it was outrageous, and I don't believe her apology is genuine, in the sense, I think she did it solely to keep her job, not because she actually regrets what she said because she was wrong to say it. Her tearful apology seems to be a complete sham to me. That said, I still don't like Romney as a politician, leader, or anything else.

    January 5, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. TX

    Mr. Romney won many people over by being so gracious and forgiving. Well done Mitt.

    January 5, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  6. Dan

    That was a pathetic apology.

    January 5, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. get real

    Romney you lost – please go away already.

    January 5, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  8. Cammie

    The Romney(s) should apologize for naming their adopted child Kieran which means "black" and dressing the little boy in PINK along with the Romney GIRLS. Why would they humiliate a a male child by not dressing him blue along with the other white grandsons dressed in blue???

    January 5, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Did she also apologize for being a racist who seems to think the races shouldn't mix unless she approves of it.She is like all looney liberals and doesn't think any person of color should be allowed to mix with conservatives.They my start to think for themselves.

    January 5, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. Leroy Jenkem

    Fire this lady now

    January 5, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. Bob

    I'm glad no one went after her with Sylvester the cat jokes. That definitely would have crossed the line. What a dolt.

    January 5, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. VL

    I don't understand how we can tolerate racial remarks by some true racists on the liberal side. So what she apologized. She is a pure racist in my opinion.

    January 5, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. My Left Foot

    What's wrong with you people? Harris-Perry is a dodo at worse for letting her panel go off and a hypocrite at best for using her own heritage to defend her behavior. Romney has accepted her apology. So the 2 main parties have ended the riff. Why are you people shooting flames? The country would be better off and less inflammatory if they learn to let bygones be bygones, learn, and move on.

    January 5, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  14. jeese jaxsun

    she has a speech problem that she has a lisp or stutter hard to listen to melissa can her

    January 5, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  15. Eli

    My family and I are neighbors of the Romney family in La Jolla. And although we didn't agree with all of the positions the governor held when he ran for president, I can say without hesitation that he, Mrs. Romney, his sons, daughters-in-law and grand kids are some of the finest people my family and I have ever met. Total class.

    January 5, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  16. Na

    Should not republicans cease and desist as a party, then the world shall progress at last?

    January 5, 2014 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  17. steve hammill

    I thought the apology was heartfelt even though, IMO, it was not entirely honest. Nevertheless, the apology took courage.

    Romney was a gentleman.

    January 5, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. ronjayaz

    This story is totally an American embarrassment. Did Mitt really think he'd sway the rest of the 94% by adopting a black child?.

    January 5, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. rhonda

    Harris-Perry and the entire msnbc gang should be taking off the air for the hatred forn the American people. Any time you fight for entitlements and not self sufficiency thats keeping the poor people poor.What happened to hard work and entrepreneurs?

    January 5, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  20. Rogue351

    Romney has discriminated against so many people via his religion, wealth and politically over the years and has more than likely not apologized to one of them. People went to jail over Romney's actions while running the olympics and he skated away scott free. He has shipped how many jobs over seas and put how many people out of work ? Far far more than he has ever helped. One very lucky african american baby that obviously stands out in the huge crowd of supposedly latino Romney's is comments on and that, that makes Romney a saint ? I don't think so. How many times have the Tea Party as well as the Republican party attacked the Obama family and that is suddenly over looked ? Romney and his family can take the comments until which point they stop discriminating against people via religion, start investing ALL of the family fortune on bringing each and every job America has lost so that he could make a buck and makes a sworn promise he nor any member of his family will ever run for president again. It is time the 1% stops taking and starts giving back. The adoption of an African American child is a start but with Romney's track record of deceit I cant help but wonder if it was not done for political purposes only.

    January 5, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  21. section8hypo

    Well well welll......this should show all those who believe in the liberal agenda how fake the people pushing it are....then again, they voted for Obama twice so I'll not hold my breath

    January 5, 2014 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  22. leftywriteagain

    He would have been a terrible POTUS, however he still is rich.

    January 5, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  23. Carlz E Francois

    I admire Romney and his family.
    He is a good man with a good heart. I think everybody deserves respect. Who tells you that white people are better than black people or black people are better than white people? What I see and know we are on the same boat. Life brinks us the same results such as sufferings and death. Most of the people who think they are better than others are idiots and stupid. Our colors cannot stop us suffering and dying. Be little bit wise people and see life with your two big eyes.

    January 5, 2014 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  24. jordan

    I really like Harris and was shocked when I heard about this. The powers that be at MSNBC need to stop interjecting this garbage and putting the hosts in embarrassing situations. Harris "should have" shut it down but this type of thing goes on, on every channel. Let's put something up on the screen a blurb or photo and then let three comedians or D league celebs start making put downs and inappropriate cracks for a few laughs. It is formula and it is garbage. Viewers need to tune out. I am proud of Harris for her part in apologizing and hope she will lobby for a stop to these "bits" with the host not having a clue what is about to happen. Try being appropriate and stop all the personal attacks on political enemies and their families.

    January 6, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  25. GaryO

    Melissa Harris-Perry went way to far. Why was she not fired?

    I don't car for Romney's politics, but it was extremely unprofessional and unforgivable on the part of Melissa Harris-Perry do what she did.

    Romney may forgive her, but why should anybody else?

    The downward spiral in the quality of so-called News Networks is just disgusting.

    Sure, one would expect FOX talking heads to throw out aspersions, and lies, and innuendo, and ridicule tiny toddlers, but why should we expect that of MSNBC?

    MSNBC should fire Melissa Harris-Perry, and make it extremely clear that kind of crap is no longer tolerated there.

    January 6, 2014 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
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