January 5th, 2014
10:21 AM ET
7 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. pec

    Despite all the critiques Romney is at heart a good person. Had he remained true to himself instead of trying to appease a disconnected voting bloc and a bunch of Wall Street money-men he would have had a better chance in the presidential election. Though he may not be able to connect with everyday people by putting himself in their shoes, he understands the difference between right and wrong. He just put himself in bed with the wrong crowd. I have no doubt of the class of his core beliefs. No one else in either party seems to be able to accept an apology and move on. That shows more class than demonstrated elsewhere.

    January 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. jonbme

    Pretty sure if most other hosts would have done this they would be fired immediately. Which one of these hosts don't look like the others, hmm?

    January 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. aj

    Politically I never like Romney, but personally to me he's a great guy to be able to forgive like that.

    January 5, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Brad

    Harris-Perry is taking responsibility for her comments, but she is also being thrown under the bus by MSNBC. They are just much at fault for providing the forum for such comments to be made. They asked their anchors to create "captions" for a picture that was just begging for such an incident. The network should not have placed that temptation on their anchors, who probably thought they were doing exactly what was being asked of them.

    January 5, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. martin

    it's a credit to both of them. she said some idiotic things but is contrite, which is a lot more than a lot of media would do. And he is being gracious as well. No harm no foul.

    January 5, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. perennial2

    It is the smug and arrogant meanness of many on the far left, like Harris-Perry and most of the talking heads on MSNBC, that served over the past decade to move me from (D) to (I). The staunch far left does not seem to realize they are just as ideologically driven and propaganda clueless as the loony far right (R). Both fringes are tiresome and useless to the processes necessary for good governance and public information.

    January 5, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. JohnRJohnson

    The notion that Mitt Romney is the Angeli Jolie of the Republican Party is hilarious. Anybody who isn't skeptical about the Romney's motives for adopting a black infant is stupendously naive.

    January 5, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Jeff

    I wonder if Obama called Romney to make sure he was ok....

    January 5, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Tony

    IN response to king:
    "when one of fox's right winged host declare santa clause and jesus was white, fox news passed it off as being humorous. "
    There is a big difference here that the left just can't comprehend. Mr Romney's grandchild is a real life child, where as Santa Claus is fictional. Santa can be whoever and what every you want him to be. Well, that is if you still believe in him and are six years old!

    January 5, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. I R Amazed

    What does anyone think he's going to do?
    Be a complete "Richard" and throw down?
    He has nothing to be gained by keeping this alive, especially with someone who is actually from a mixed race family herself.

    January 5, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Peace

    MSNBC needs to learn. Fox News is playing you around. They know who your staff to target and they keep an eye on them everyday which goes by until they get them. They are the first ones once they get someone starting shouting: there is fire, there is fire at MSNBC until you will kick off all your staff Fox News don't like. Just go to the website now, you won't find anything about this woman apologising as they know their mention is now accomplished.

    January 5, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    When did we ever see the apologies from the Bush campaign in 2000 when they skewered McCain in the South Carolina primary when they put forth that "Did you know McCain has a Black baby" in reference to his adopted daughter? Funny how hypocrisy works, isn't it? And the McCain incident was within their own party!!!

    January 5, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. David

    There was No need to apologize PERIOD

    January 5, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Big_D

    I find it sad that the FCC will fine for profanity but once FOX declared themselves "news entertainment" and reports fake news they do nothing. Cursing is bad but lying to old people is acceptable?

    January 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. lorri

    Next, one of his family will come out gay. This is so obviously staged. As for the child being better off, think again. When exchange students have to sleep on the floor, I doubt it.

    January 5, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. bob

    I never liked that woman. But reading about her own family backround in the article it's no wonder she is confused

    January 5, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Tumek

    How different this country would have been had people voted in Romney. He's run successful companies and as governor, was an outstanding manager and worked exceptionally well with members of the democrat party. He's always been a classy, caring person...and above all, he's a person of unquestioned integrity and honesty who can trusted. Instead....

    January 5, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Joseph Smith

    It's fine. The Book of Moron itself is filled with racist statements on the inferior status of black people. Morons should not be offended by Harris-Perry's remarks.

    January 5, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. J R Brown

    If she truly held the belief that interracial families shouldn't be ridiculed, she wouldn't have done it in the first place. While the apology may be "emotional"...it's hollow. She's probably "emotional" about keeping her job...not about being offensive.

    January 5, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Bri Goodye

    Paula Deen cried and apologized-did she get the same reprieve?

    January 5, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. ZQ

    Romney seems like an alright guy in person as long as he isn't your CEO or government representative. Anyways if this is the only news worth printing that is probably a good thing - no news is good news. Viva la slow news week!

    January 5, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Freedom Ain't Free

    The kid does look like the Republican party: A sea of white faces with an occasional token black person used as a prop.

    The Romneys are sure to use the child as a prop for future political runs.

    January 5, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. ironman59

    Quite frankly he wasn't owed an apology. Where is his apology to all the people he put on the unemployment line? Where is his apology for trashing ACA while having his own state level ACA & praising Israel for their national healthcare? Simple fact is that the few if any convictions he may have had he sold his soul to the far right of the gop to get nominated. He deserves no apology. As the gop is found of saying to the rest of the country with people like duck boy "free speech".

    January 5, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Cindy

    My sister is the mother of a bi-racial family via adoptions. I too initially took considerable offense to the mocking.

    What I do respect and admire is seeing someone FINALLY TAKING FULL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions, what has become a novel and extremely rare characteristic in this country.

    January 5, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. BEN

    He accepted, now he should just go away.

    January 5, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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